Wildcat Bench Surges Past Longhorns

When Kansas State's All-Big 12 wing Rodney McGruder picked up his second foul in the game's first 1:54, it appeared to be the dream start on the road Texas was looking for. But that dream start turned into a nightmare finish as the Wildcats destroyed the visiting Longhorns 83-57

The Wildcats did more than just make do in McGruder's absence. Despite missing a player who takes nearly 29 percent of the Wildcats' shots when he's in the game per KenPom, Kansas State hummed right along, taking a whopping 38-19 advantage into the halftime break.

The game had the look of a close contest early, with the Wildcats leading 13-9 nearly eight minutes in. That was as close as Texas came. The Wildcats went on an 18-4 run over the next eight or so minutes, turning a four-point contest into an 18-point lead. That advantage swelled to as many as 21 points in the first half, with the Longhorns struggling to find any semblance of offense. Texas made just six field goals (including no three-pointers) on 23 first-half attempts, while committing 10 turnovers in the stanza.

The lead was 20 points early before Texas started to show some fight. The Longhorns went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 13 with 17:42 left before the Wildcats pushed it back to 20. The Longhorns went on another 7-0 lead to cut it to 13 again with 12:03 left.

That's when Kansas State went on its second big run, a 14-2 burst — with buckets from four different players — that put the game out of reach.

The Longhorns shot 56.5 percent in the second half, but actually lost ground because the Wildcats shot 56.7 percent.

With McGruder scoring just seven points in 15 minutes, the Wildcats turned to their bench, with the extras outscoring Texas's bench 45-17. The Wildcats' top two scorers, Thomas Gipson (17) and Omari Lawrence (12) both came off the pine, though Gipson is a regular starter. He was replaced in the starting lineup by 7-footer Jordan Henriquez, though Gipson played 21 minutes to Henriquez's 14. But the star of the game might have been mighty mite point guard Angel Rodriguez, who scored 11 points (albeit on 3-for-12 shooting) and dished out eight assists to one turnover.

Sheldon McClellan also shot 3-for-12 and led the Longhorns with 15 points. Jaylen Bond came off the bench to chip in 12 points and eight boards, his best effort of the season. Five of those rebounds were on the offensive end.

Kansas State improved to 16-4 on the season, including a 5-2 mark in the Big 12, snapping a two-game losing streak. The Longhorns fell to 9-11 and 1-6. Texas will host Big 12 cellar dweller TCU at 7 p.m. on Saturday before traveling to take on West Virginia on Monday.

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