Rodney McGruder scored a career-best 28 points and Kansas State went on a big first-half run to beat Long Beach State 77-60 on Sunday and win the Diamond Head Classic.
McGruder finished 10 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He also went 6 of 7 from the line.
Will Spradling added 17 points for the Wildcats (10-1), and Jamar Samuels had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Larry Anderson and Casper Ware each scored 17 points for the 49ers (7-6).
Kansas State finished 26 of 52 from the field, while Long Beach State went 21 of 57. From the line, the Wildcats were 20 of 26 and the 49ers just 12 of 21.
The Wildcats went on a 29-13 run for a 38-22 lead with 2:27 left in the first half. McGruder had eight points, including two 3-pointers, during the surge.
In the first half, the Wildcats shot 17 of 33, forced 10 turnovers and outscored the 49ers 22-10 in the paint. McGruder finished the half with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting. He missed nearly 5 minutes after being injured while taking a charge.
Spradling’s 3-pointer gave Kansas State its biggest lead at 49-31 with 15:43 remaining. Long Beach State got as close as 62-52 with 6:41 to play.
McGruder was averaging 10.8 points entering the game, just fourth best on the team. His previous career high of 24 points had come against UMKC on Dec. 23, 2010.
The Wildcats also beat Southern Illinois and UTEP in the tournament. Their only loss this season came Dec. 8 against West Virginia.
– Associated Press –