Wildcats Win Home Finale, 79-68

Rodney McGruder

March 5, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan.- Kansas State's winningest senior class added one more Tuesday night, as the Wildcats earned a decisive 79-68 victory over TCU. Angel Rodriguez recorded his second career double-double with a team-high 21 points and tied a career-high of 10 assists.

It was a balanced attack that left the Wildcats (25-5, 14-3 Big 12) one game away from a Big 12 Conference championship. Rodriguez was joined in double digit scoring by Rodney McGruder (13), Shane Southwell (15), Martavious Irving (15) and Thomas Gipson (11). It was the second time this season the Wildcats have had five players reach double digits.

The Wildcats pounced on the Horned Frogs (10-20, 1-16 Big 12) early, quickly jumping out to a 17-5 lead in the opening eight minutes of the first half. K-State was impressive early, smothering TCU's offense and forcing eight turnovers. McGruder had a pair of dunks, highlighted by a thunderous one-handed slam after a Rodriguez steal. The Wildcats kept TCU at bay and went into the break holding a 42-27 lead.

That lead was created thanks to K-State shooting 63 percent in the first stanza on 17-of-27 shooting. Those 17 made baskets also were joined by 17 assists, a rarity in the game and a testament to the efficiency of K-State's offense early in the contest.

That 15-point lead did not last long, as the Horned Frogs came out firing to start the second half, using a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 44-39. Gipson answered back with five straight points to get the Wildcats back on track. TCU would get as close as four points, but the Wildcats used a combination of defense and 3-point shooting to push the lead back to 15 and seal the game for good.

With their 14th win in Big 12 play, the Wildcats tie the most ever in conference play dating back to the first season of the Big Eight Conference. In 1958-59, the Wildcats went a perfect 14-0 in league action.

K-State finishes the regular season on the road this Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., for a Big 12 showdown with Oklahoma State. The Big 12 regular season title will be on the line as the Wildcats enter the game tied with Kansas atop the conference standings and one game ahead of Oklahoma State. The game can be seen live at 12:30 p.m. on the Big 12 Network.