Feb. 2, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. - Sophomore Angel Rodriguez knocked down a pair of free throws with 5.6 seconds left and senior Sam Grooms' 3-pointer missed at the buzzer, as No. 18/21 Kansas State held on for a 52-50 win over Oklahoma on Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center.
With the win, K-State (17-4, 6-2 Big 12) kept pace in the Big 12 standings, as the Wildcats now sit alone in second place, one game behind first-place Kansas (19-2, 7-1 Big 12) and one game ahead of Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who are all in third place with 5-3 league records. It also allowed the Wildcats to sweep the season series from the Sooners for the first time since 1993 and even its all-time record against one of its all-time great players and former head coach Lon Kruger at 4-4.
Down 50-42 with just under three minutes to play, the Sooners made a furious rally to give themselves a chance at the end. Keyed by the play of reserve Sam Grooms, the squad scored eight straight points to tie the game at 50-all with just 13 seconds left in the contest. Grooms scored five points in the stretch, including his first 3-pointer of the season with 55 seconds remaining and the lay-up to tie the game.
With seconds ticking away, Rodriguez drove the lane and was fouled, nearly making the basket, with just 5.6 seconds left on the clock. A 77.8 percent free throw shooter this season, he calmly hit both shots from the charity stripe to set up the final frantic seconds. Oklahoma was not able to push the ball cleanly up the floor, as Grooms' desperation 3-pointer barely hit the rim at the buzzer.
K-State held its 16th opponent (in 21 games) to 65 points or less, including its ninth to 55 points or less, while holding its eighth opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. Oklahoma, which was held to its second-fewest points of the season, shot 38.8 percent (19-of-49), including just 21.4 percent (3-of-14) from 3-point range. Normally one of the league's best free throw shooting teams, the Sooners shot just 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from the line.
The Wildcats, which won for just the second time this season when scoring less than 60 points, connected on 37.5 percent (21-of-56) from the field, including 31.3 (5-of-16) from long range, but did knock down 5-of-7 free throws. The Sooners held a 38-34 edge on the glass, marking just the second time in six games that the Wildcats were able win while being out-rebounded.
Junior Will Spradling paced two K-State players in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-8 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, while senior Martavious Irving added 10 points. Fellow seniors Jordan Henriquez and Rodney McGruder chipped in eight and seven points, respectively, while McGruder was leader in rebounds with nine. Junior Shane Southwell posted game-highs in both assists (four) and steals (three). In all, eight players had at least one field goal.
Osby was the lone Sooner in double figures, as he posted a game-high 13 points on 5-of-12 field goals to go with a team-high seven rebounds. M'Baye,Grooms and Cameron Clark all scored seven points.
K-State closed the first half on a 7-2 run, including the final four points, to take a 28-23 lead at halftime. The Wildcats led 11-6 after a 3-pointer by Spradling at the 14:42 mark before the Sooners made a run to first tie it then take a lead at 17-16 after a M'Baye free throw just three minutes later.
After the sixth tie of the half at 21-all, Irving ignited the run with his second 3-pointer followed by a lay-up by junior Omari Lawrence and a jumper by Rodriguez. Irving led the way with eight points at halftime, as the Wildcats had to deal with foul trouble by both McGruder and Spradling.
K-State held Oklahoma without a field goal for a 10:40 stretch from the last 6:26 of the first half to the 15:46 mark of the second half. During that stretch, the Sooners went 0-of-11 from the field with five turnovers.
Kansas State concludes it two-game road trip on Tuesday, as the Wildcats travel to Lubbock, Texas to face the Red Raiders (9-10, 2-6 Big 12) on the Big 12 Network at 7 p.m. CT.