SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico
- Freshman Rodney McGruder
led five players in double figures with a career-high 20 points, as the Wildcats opened play in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off with an 80-70 win over Boston University (0-3) at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico on Thursday night.
With the win, K-State improves to 3-0 on the season for the seventh consecutive season. The team also earned its first win on a neutral site since the Wildcats defeated USC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 20, 2008, a string of four straight losses. Boston University remains winless on the season after dropping its third straight under first-year head coach Patrick Chambers.
McGruder connected on 5-of-6 field goals in the game, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with five rebounds in a season-high 22 minutes. He has scored in double figures in all three games this season, while hitting on 9-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Jacob Pullen was second in scoring with 14 points to go with five assists and three steals, while junior forward Curtis Kelly added a near double-double with 12 points and a season-high nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Jamar Samuels had 11 points in 29 minutes of action, while freshman Jordan Henriquez-Roberts was again solid with a season-high 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Terriers, who were plagued by foul problems all night, were led by junior guard John Holland and senior guard Tyler Morris. Morris scored 21 points on 6-of-11 field goals, including three treys, while Holland added 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
The two teams fought through 11 ties and eight lead changes in the first half. The Terriers used a 6-0 run over a two and half minute period to take a 34-29 lead with 3:09 to play. However, the Wildcats would end the half on a 10-1 run highlighted by a big 3-point field goal from Denis Clemente and a pair of free throws from McGruder. Pullen led all scorers in the first half with 10 points.
K-State never trailed in the second half, holding as much as a 13-point lead on three occasions. McGruder's fourth and final 3-pointer gave the Wildcats a 60-47 lead with 9:53 remaining. However, the Terriers wouldn't go away, closing the gap to 60-55 on Carlos Strong's second free throw with 6:06 remaining. K-State would push the lead back out to 13 on McGruder's lay-up with 2:43 to play to end the threat and cap a 10-2 run. The Wildcats would hit on 10 of 11 free throws to end the game.
K-State advances to the semifinals of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off on Friday to face Ole Miss (3-0) at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico with tip set for 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU. The Rebels knocked off Indiana, 89-71, in the third quarterfinal game on Thursday.