K-State Outlasts Southern Miss. 70-64 in NCAA Tourney Opener

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PITTSBURGH, Penn. — The Kansas State Wildcats survived the first round of the NCAA tournament after beating the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 70-64 in Pittsburgh, Pa on Thursday.

No. 8-seeded K-State (22-10, 10-8 Big 12) jumped out to an early 8-1 advantage, before Southern Miss tied the game at 10 with 10:44 to go in the 1st half. The 9th seeded Golden Eagles took their first lead after a pair of free throws by Neil Watson with 4:12 left in the 1st half.

The Wildcats led 30-27 at halftime, but the Golden Eagles (25-9, 11-5 Conference USA) fought back to take a 45-40 lead after a Darnell Dodson three pointer with 13:15 to play in the 2nd half. K-State then went on an 18-6 run and never trailed again.

K-State was led by junior guard Rodney McGruder with 30 points off the bench. Junior forward Jordan Henriquez netted 15 points and 9 rebounds.

For the Golden Eagles, senior guard Darnell Dodson added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Kansas City, Kansas native, sophomore guard Neil Watson, finished with 16 points.

The Wildcats have advanced to the second round and will play the winner of (1) Syracuse and (16) UNC-Asheville on Saturday.

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