LUBBOCK, Texas — Led by Rodney McGruder and a balanced scoring attack, the 13th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders 68-59 at United Spirit Arena on Tuesday night.
Kansas State (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) maintained the edge in a first half that had two total lead changes. After Texas Tech went up 5-2, the Wildcats responded with a 24-8 run. Angel Rodriguez hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Cats a 26-13 lead with 8:07 to play in the first half.
Texas Tech (9-11, 2-7 Big 12) answered with a 15-5 run, and cut the deficit to 31-28 with 2:33 to play in the half. A pair of back-to-back jumpers by Will Spradling helped give K-State a 37-29 lead at the break.
The Red Raiders battled back early in the second half, as a layup by Josh Gray narrowed the gap to 42-38 with 16:39 to play. K-State answered with an 11-2 run, and took a 53-40 on McGruder’s jumper at the 11:16 mark. They maintained control for the rest of the game, and never let Tech get within five points.
McGruder led the charge for the Cats, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. Thomas Gibson came off the bench to post a double double with 12 points and five rebounds. Rodriguez had 11 points, and Martavious Irving added 10 points and four rebounds off the bench.
K-State dominated Texas Tech on the boards, outrebounding the Red Raiders 35-19. The Cats shot 43% from the field, and 38% from 3-point range. Texas Tech shot 44% from the field, and 25% from beyond the arc. Jordan Tolbert led the Red Raiders with 19 points and five rebounds.
Both teams shot poorly from the free throw line. The Cats hit 14 of 21 to finish 67% from the line, while the Raiders went 12-16 to finish 75%. Texas Tech lost despite winning the turnover battle, with four TO’s to K-State’s nine.
K-State will try to avenge an early conference road loss on Saturday afternoon, as they welcome the Iowa State Cyclones to Bramlage Coliseum.