Wildcats Down No. 8 Gators, 67-61

Rodney McGruder

Dec. 22, 2012

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It was a big night for K-State fans at the Sprint Center on Saturday night as they witnessed something the Wildcats had not done since 1981. Junior Will Spradling had a season-best 17 points, as he helped lead the Wildcats to a 67-61 victory No.8 Florida. The victory marked K-State's first nonconference win over a Top 10 team in the regular season since defeating No. 8 Minnesota on Dec. 21, 1981.

Rodney McGruder also ended the night in double digit scoring, finishing with 13 as he hit key free throws down the stretch. Jordan Henriquez had a strong night off the bench to give the Wildcats an emotional charge with nine points, six rebounds and five blocks.

The opening half was a seesaw battle, with both teams going back-and-forth. K-State (9-2) jumped out to a quick 7-3 lead after Spradling knocked down his first 3-pointer of the night. Florida (8-2) would quickly answer with seven straight to take a 10-7 advantage. With the Gators holding a two-point lead, Angel Rodriguez answered with a big 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 20-19 lead with 7:29 left in the period. K-State would build on its lead and go into halftime holding a 33-23 lead.

The second half saw the Gators change the momentum, quickly cutting the Wildcats lead to one with 16:15 remaining. Rodriguez once again answered the Gators' scoring with another 3-point shot to give K-State a
39-35 lead. Florida would go on to tie the game at 41 apiece after back-to-back 3-pointers, but a Martavious Irving's trey gave the Wildcats the lead for good. K-State controlled possession on its way to the win, and Henriquez provided a defensive presence underneath with four of his blocks coming in the second half. Patric Young led Florida with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

K-State's depth was the difference maker, as the Wildcat reserves outscored their Florida counterparts, 21-7. The Wildcats also outrebounded Florida 36-27, including 25 on the defensive end that limited the Gators to only 10 second chance points.

The Wildcats return to action on Dec.29, as they host UMKC in Manhattan. The game can be seen live on Fox Sports Kansas City, with a tipoff time of 6 p.m.

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