K-State Drops Heartbreaker to Tijuca, 74-72

Rodney McGruder scored a team-high 16 points vs. Tijuca Club on Monday night.

Aug. 13, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Tijuca Club hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 45 seconds left, as the 22-and-under club team held on to defeat Kansas State, 74-72, in a physically-contested game on Monday night.

The two teams combined to shoot 78 free throws in the game, including 47 by the home team.  The officials also whistled the teams for four technical fouls, including two on head coach Bruce Weber, which caused his ejection early in the fourth quarter. 

“It was tough, hard-fought loss tonight,” said Weber.  “It was a foul-plagued game with lots of technicals and double-fouls.  I have been on many international trips and you never know what type of officials you are going to get in these games and FIBA rules are pretty different.  They let us play pretty physical in our first three games and tonight we had five guys foul out, but give our kids credit for coming back.  Both Rodney (McGruder) and Will (Spradling) made some big shots down the stretch and we took a lead late in the fourth for the first time since the first half.  We have to learn to keep our composure, and I didn’t go a good job of that tonight, and I need to do better to help our kids.  We will rebound and continue to get better.”
With the game tied at 8-all in the first quarter, Tijuca took advantage of a K-State technical to score 10 of the next 14 points to take its largest lead at 18-12.  However, the Wildcats battled back to within one on three occasions, including 22-21 at the end of the quarter, with help from sophomore Angel Rodriguez’s seven points. 

K-State started the second half on a roll with a 7-0 run to take its largest lead at 28-22.  However, Tijuca slowly chipped away at the deficit to first tie it at 33-all then build a 41-38 lead with three consecutive field goals.  The Wildcats closed to the gap to 42-41 at the half on a McGruder basket and Nino Williams free throw.  McGruder led all scorers in the second quarter with seven points, including a long 3-pointer. 

The lead went back and forth in the third quarter with neither team holding more than a two-point lead before Tijuca scored four of the quarter’s last six points to take a 59-55 lead.  Tijuca scored nine of the first 12 points of the fourth quarter -- all from the free throw line -- to grab a 66-60 edge.  The ejection of Weber sparked the Wildcats, as they scored seven straight points to take a 69-68 lead with 3:32 to go in the game.  After a basket by Tijuca, Spradling connected on his second 3-pointer to give the squad a 72-70 advantage with 1:35 to play.  However, Tijuca was able to seize the lead for the final time with a 3-pointer with 45 seconds to play and a free throw.  McGruder stole the ball with seconds left but his shot fell short.

K-State shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the field, including 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from 3-point range, to go with 35 rebounds, 16 assists, six steals and six blocks.  The team again was efficient with 16 assists to 23 made field goals.  The Wildcats also connected on 74.2 percent (23-of-31) from the free throw line.

McGruder led four players in double figures with 16 points, along with three assists and two rebounds.  Spradling added 12, while sophomore Adrian Diaz chipped in 11 points to seven rebounds and four blocks.  Rodriguez also had double figures with 10 to go with six assists, three steals and three rebounds.  Freshman D.J. Johnson, who had to play more minutes due to foul problems, led all players with nine rebounds.

K-State will take the day off from basketball on Tuesday to do more sight-seeing and hold a basketball clinic in the ONG Solar Meninos de luz area of Rio de Janeiro.  The traveling party will tour historic Sugar Loaf Mountain on Wednesday morning prior to its last game of the trip.  For updates on the team’s trip to Brazil, please follow kstatesports and kstate_gameday on Twitter. 

Read the daily blog from players and coaches about their 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at http://www.kstatesports.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/brazil.html