Hoping to extend their season after downing TCU last night, Texas didn’t seem capable of missing early on in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns started 8 for 11, hitting over 70 percent of their shots with 7:30 left to play in the first half. On the other side, the Wildcats were hitting less than 40 percent of their shots. Yet K-State was leading 21-18. The principal reason? K-State had only one turnover to Texas’s five, and owned a 9-3 advantage in points off of turnovers.
Not only did Texas cool off, but K-State was able to resist fouls with the Longhorns picked up several of their own. Early in half, Texas has six to K-State’s three, though both teams now have seven. Additionally, the Wildcats have been much more successful from three, hitting six of nine, opting to keep the ball outside as Texas maintained a 2-3 zone. Texas, however, only managed to connect on two of eight three point shots.
Despite lingering injuries, Will Spradling and Jordan Henriquez both received starts tonight. Spradling hasn’t been healthy since suffering a brusied sternum against Texas in February, and was very visibly winded during his 19 minutes of action against Oklahoma State. Henriquez was also limited due to a back injury that has been recurring this year. Spradling has three points to go along with a steal and an assist so far tonight, while Henriquez has hit two of four free throws for two points and one rebound.
K-State could certainly boast a bigger lead if its free throws would fall. The team has only hit six of 12, and missed two one-and-one opportunities. Rodney McGruder leads the Wildcats with 12 points, while Angel Rodriguez has eight despite seeing some significant bench time with two fouls. McGruder has been nursing both a hurt hand and hip due to undisclosed injuries during this game. He is favoring half of his body when away from the ball, which will be a situation to watch during the second half of this very physical game.