Rodriguez, Spradling Lead Wildcats Past Cardinals

Nino Williams

Nov. 12, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Angel Rodriguez had a career night to help lead the Kansas State Wildcats to a 79-55 victory against Lamar in first-round action of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off.  

Rodriguez scored a career best 19 points beating his previous best of 17 points against Southern Illinois from last season. He was affective from long range hitting on 4-of-6 shooting beyond the arc. Will Spradling also had a strong night from distance as he notched four 3-pointers to tie his career high, going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

In the first half, K-State charged to an early 15-0 lead, as Rodney McGruder captured nine points, Rodriguez tallied eight and Thomas Gipson pulled down five rebounds. The Wildcats were strong defensively, converting 24 points off of 19 turnovers to hold the Cardinals to 15 points in the first half. McGruder hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the half to give the Wildcats a 43-15 lead.

The Cardinals came out strong in the second half going 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and hitting 15-of-26 from the field, but the Wildcats were able to keep pace in the second half never allowing for the gap to reach less than 20 points. Rodriguez hit 3-of-4 from behind the arc to lead the Wildcats in the second half.

The Wildcats were strong on the boards out-rebounding the Cardinals 40-37. K-State grabbed 21 offensive rebounds to outscore Lamar 18-9 off second-chance points. D.J. Johnson and Jordan Henriquez led the team in rebounding with eight a piece. Johnson has now led the K-State in rebounds in his first two games as a Wildcat.  

K-State is back in action Tuesday night at 9 p.m., as the Wildcats take on the winner of the North Texas-Alabama-Huntsville game in the second round of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. That game will be televised on ESPN2. The winner of tomorrow night's regional championship game will head to Madison Square Garden for the final two rounds in New York City.

The losers of Monday's games will play a consolation game at 6 p.m. Tuesday prior to the K-State game.