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K-State Falls to No. 4/4 Michigan in NIT Finals

GO WILDCATS Senior Rodney McGruder scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half against Michigan.
Senior Rodney McGruder scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half against Michigan.

Nov. 23, 2012

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. - No. 4 Michigan broke open a tight game with eight straight point to start the second half, as the Wolverines captured the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship on Friday with a 71-57 win over Kansas State at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats (5-1) has now lost 14 straight games to the No. 4 team in the country.

Junior guard Tim Hardaway, Jr., was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after posting a game-high 23 points on 10-of-15 field goals for Michigan (4-0).  Fellow Wolverine Trey Burke, who was also selected to all-tournament team, tallied 10 points and a game-high four assists.  Freshman forward Glenn Robinson III collected a game-high 12 rebounds to go with nine points.

Sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games at Madison Square Garden.

The remarkably efficient Michigan offense was the story of the contest, as the Wolverines connected on 51.8 percent of its field goals, including 54.5 percent in the second half.  K-State, still adjusting to first-year head coach Bruce Weber's motion offense, shot just 36.7 percent from the field, including 22.2 percent from 3-point range.  The Wildcats were out-rebounded 42-30.

Michigan jumped out to a 6-0 lead and slowly built a double-digit lead at 21-11 with 8:20 remaining in the first half.  Behind a 9-1 run, K-State battled back to close the gap to just one possession at 22-20 on a jumper by senior Jordan Henriquez at the 5:29 mark.  The game remained close, including 27-24 with just 48 seconds remaining, before Mitch McGary's putback gave the Wolverines a 29-24 lead at the break.  The Wildcats were just 8-of-28 (28.6 percent) from the field in the first half. 

The Wolverines used a 14-3 run to start the second half, including eight straight points to blow open a tight contest.  The lead stayed at double digits the rest of the way, including as high as 21 midway through the second half.  Senior Rodney McGruder, who struggled in the first half with just two points on 0-of-4 field goals, caught fire after halftime, scoring 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 17 minutes.

McGruder was one of two Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-14 field goals, to go with a team-best seven rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes.  Rodriguez chipped in 10 points and a team-high six assists in 26 minutes, while Henriquez  added eight points, three rebounds and three blocked shots.  Adrian Diaz and D.J. Johnson had seven points off the bench.

K-State will take the next week off of games before returning to the court on Sunday, December 2 against USC Upstate at 1 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum.  Tickets can be purchased for as little as $15.