By Paulina Pengelley
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas State advances to the semifinal round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament with a 66-49 win over Texas Thursday night.
The Wildcats can accredit the win their defensive efforts in the second half, forcing 15 Texas turnovers and holding their leading scorer in guard Myck Kabongo to two points.
“The first game I think he had 24 points and he pretty much killed us,” said Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez. “You let other players make plays, you’re going to have a higher chance of winning the ball game.”
The Longhorns came out strong the first three minutes of the game, taking a 7-1 lead, as the Wildcats struggled to get the ball in the basket. But an 11-0 run by the Kansas State put them up by six seven minutes into the game. But Texas didn’t falter going into halftime only down by six.
The second half was the turning point for the Wildcats. Forcing eight turnovers the second half and shooting 40 percent from field, the Longhorns saw their tournament run slip away when Kansas State took a 19 point lead, their biggest of the game, with two and a half minutes left to play.
Texas shot just 34 percent from the field, connecting on just 17 of their 50 shot attempts. Julien Lewis led the way for the Longhorns with 13 points, while Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder tallied 24 points and seven rebounds.
“Angel found me a couple of times on the break and on the wing,” said McGruder. “So I just have to thank my teammates for finding me tonight.”
The Wildcats will play the winner of tonight’s Baylor vs. Oklahoma State match-up on Friday at 9 p.m. in the Sprint Center.