K-State Falls to 14/14 Gonzaga, 68-52, at Battle in Seattle

Sophomore Angel Rodriguez was the only Wildcat in double figures (14) in a loss to No. 14/14 Gonzaga at KeyArena on Saturday.

Dec. 15, 2012

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SEATTLE, Wash. – No. 14/14 Gonzaga broke open a close game with a 9-0 run to start the second half, as the Bulldogs won the State Farm Battle in Seattle with a 68-52 win over Kansas State on Saturday night at KeyArena.

Gonzaga (10-1), which bounced back from its first loss of the season against Illinois on Dec. 8, outscored K-State, 41-26, in the second half after leading just 27-26 at halftime.  The Wildcats (7-2) shot just 27.3 percent after halftime, including just 16.7 percent from 3-point range. 

After the two teams traded baskets in the first 10 minutes, K-State took its largest lead at 15-10 with 10:28 remaining before halftime.  However, Gonzaga used a 15-4 run over the next four minutes to first tie the game at 17-all then take a 25-19 with 4:05 left.  The Wildcats were able to score seven of the last nine minutes, including a rare 4-point play by sophomore Angel Rodriguez, to cut the deficit to 27-26 at halftime.

Gonzaga seized the momentum right after halftime with nine consecutive points, which included six points from junior Kelly Olynyk.  The Wildcats would close to within 36-31 on a pair of free throws by sophomore Adrian Diaz, but they could get no closer as the Bulldog lead ballooned to as many 21 points. 

Three Gonzaga players scored in double figures led by junior Kelly Olynyk’s game-high 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting, while sophomore Gary Bell, Jr. and senior Elias Harris added 11 and 10 points, respectively.  Harris added a game-high seven rebounds.  The Bulldogs, which entered the game with a nation’s best field goal percentage at 52.7 percent, connected on 47.1 percent from the field.  They were able to convert 18 Wildcat turnovers into 23 points and allowed just nine points off their 14 turnovers, while they dominated the paint by a 38-12 margin. 

The 52 points were the fewest by the Wildcats in nearly a year since scoring just 49 against Kansas on Jan. 4, 2012.  The 33.3 field goal percentage was the lowest since shooting 31.3 percent against No. 2/2 Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Rodriguez was the lone Wildcat in double figures with 14 points to go with a team-high three assists and two steals in 30 minutes of action.  Junior Will Spradling added eight points in a team-best 34 minutes of action, while junior Shane Southwell added seven points, two assists and two steals from the bench.

K-State will make a quick turnaround to host Texas Southern (1-8) at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday at 7 p.m.  It will be the Wildcats’ first home game in 16 days and the first of two games during the week.  Tickets can be purchased for as little as $15.  The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Midwest and nationally on FOX College Sports (FCS).