With the win, the Wildcats (27-7) move on to play seventh-seeded BYU, a 99-92 winner over Florida in double-overtime, on Saturday in NCAA Second Round action. Game time will be determined later Thursday evening. The win for K-State was its 10th all-time in NCAA First Round action and first since up-ending USC in 2008.
Denis Clemente led the way for Kansas State with 17 points, while Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen each notched 15. Dominique Sutton also pitched in 12 for the Wildcats, who shot 51 percent from the floor in the win. K-State's defense held North Texas to 30 percent shooting for the game and forced 16 Mean Green turnovers.
Holding a 16-point advantage at the half, K-State extended its lead to 21 in the first four minutes of the second half on a Clemente fast break layup. A McGruder three with 12:50 left matched the largest lead of the contest up to that point at 59-38 before a Wally Judge bucket pushed the margin to 62-38. The Wildcats held their largest lead of the game at 26 midway through the second half.
North Texas would get to within 14 at 69-55 before a Kelly turnaround made it 71-55 and jump-started a 6-0 K-State scoring run to close out the win.
Tristan Thompson led North Texas (24-9) with 28 points.
The Cats scored the game's first five points but the Mean Green answered and took their first lead at 8-7 with 15:26 left. With 11:21 remaining in the first half, the Wildcats held on to a 14-8 lead after two Kelly put-backs.
Following a turnover and a foul, two Sutton free throws gave K-State its first double-digit lead of the game at 24-14. Pullen's driving layup then pushed the lead to 26-14 with 6:40 left in the half, forcing North Texas into a timeout. K-State took a 30-16 lead on a Clemente to Sutton fast break layup before Pullen's three with 3:50 left upped the margin to 35-18.
Clemente hit consecutive three's to make it 41-25 at the half as the backcourt duo of Pullen and Clemente each had 11 first-half points. K-State held North Texas to just five field goals in the first half (20 percent) but the Mean Green were 13-of-18 from the free throw line.
Be sure to follow the Cats at cbssports.com as the network is producing a daily behind-the-scenes feature during the team's NCAA Championship run.