Columbia, MO- For a second time this season,KansasStateended an unbeaten string for Missouri.
Rodney McGruder scored 24 points, asKansasStatetoppled third-ranked Missouri, 78-68, stopping the Tigers’ quest for a perfect home record this season.
“I was just very aggressive today. I was getting good looks and making my shots,” McGruder said. “We just stepped it up big on defense. That’s all that really happened. They made runs, but we just had to retaliate every time.”
On Jan. 7, K-State put together a solid performance in a 75-59 win, handingMissouriits first loss after a 14-game unbeaten streak to start the season.
Thomas Gipson added 13 points and Jamar Samuels had 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (19-8, 8-7 Big 12), who gained a second straight road win against a top-10 team for the first time in school history.
Tuesday’s battle was the final contest of three consecutive games against current top 10 foes. The Wildcats stunned then No. 9 Baylor, 57-56, on Saturday. Kansas State lost to Kansas on Feb. 13., but on Tuesday the Wildcats beat Mizzou for just the third time in their last 27 trips to Columbia.
Michael Dixon scored 21 and Marcus Denmon had 19 forMissouri(25-3, 12-3), which had a seven-game winning streak broken. They came into Tuesday with a 15-0 mark at home.
“Kansas State did some things well on the defensive end,” Denmon said. “I mean they made shots early that when you play good defense you don’t expect them to make. As far as scoring points on them, I think 68 points is enough to win a game, we just have to guard.”
Ricardo Ratliffe had nine points and 14 rebounds for Missouri, which had a frustrating first half by shooting 34.5 percent. A 10-2 spurt by the Wildcats moved them to a 33-22 lead. Will Spradling started the run with a three-ball and Samuels finished it with another shot from beyond the arc with four minutes left.
Kim English, who had nine points, five less than his season average, picked up a technical foul with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half after arguing a call that he climbed over the back of McGruder in an attempt for a rebound.
K-State held a 40-30 lead at the intermission and widened the gap to 61-45 with 12:32 left following a McGrudger layup, but the Tigers rallied with an ensuing 15-2 spurt, ended by English’s three from the top of the arc.
McGruder had an answer, though, burying a long-distance shot for a six-point advantage.
Mizzou didn’t get closer than four the rest of the way, the last time at 70-66 with 2:21 left on a pair ofDixonfoul shots. Jordan Henriquez came right back with a dunk to stem the tide.
The Wildcats, who finished 53.8 percent from the field, made 14-of-24 shots in the second half.
“That was the game plan, that’s how they win,” English said of K-State’s physical play. “That’s their mantra. They’re a physical team. We didn’t punch back early, and when you do that, when you play good teams, it’s an uphill battle all the way.”
– Sports Network –