Honolulu, HI – Angel Rodriguez posted a game-high 16 points, leading the Kansas State Wildcats to a 78-70 victory over the Texas-El Paso Miners in the Diamond Head Classic semifinals at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Will Spradling and Jamar Samuels joined Rodriguez in double figures for Kansas State (9-1) with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Samuels completed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds for the Wildcats, who have won four straight games since their lone loss to West Virginia on December 8th.
UTEP (5-6) got a balanced scoring effort, with five players notching double digits, led by Jacques Streeter’s 15 points. Julian Washburn finished with 13 points, Cedrick Land added 12 and Michael Perez and John Bohannon chipped in with 10 points apiece.
The Miners shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the first half but took just 14 shots from the field and trailed 45-32 at the break. Kansas State converted 15-of-32 field-goal attempts in the first half. Both teams were active from the free-throw line over the first 20 minutes, as UTEP went 14-of-20 from the charity stripe, while KSU was 12-of-14. The Wildcats were able to hold the Miners at bay by shooting 44.4 percent in the second half, compared to UTEP’s 41.4 percent.
KSU dominated play on the boards, outrebounding UTEP, 39-21, including grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. The KSU bench was also instrumental in the win, outscoring UTEP’s reserves 42-13.
The Wildcats will take on either Long Beach State or Auburn for the tournament title on Sunday.
– Sports Network –