Kansas State struggled to score the 15:50 into the first half, being held to only 15 points while Oklahoma State held a 17-15 lead. And then a 12-2 run over two minutes created a small break in the damn as Bruce Weber’s squad developed a 24-19 lead. The half ended with the score 28-23, and neither coach happy as both teams struggled to find the net over the first 20 minutes.
Oklahoma State has not managed to hit its free throws, a statement that has not been made many times this year. In fact, the team shot over 90 percent over the final two minutes during the Wildcats’ loss in Stillwater. Yet the Cowboys are only 2-6 so far, while Kansas State has connected on 6-7. Yet both teams have struggled mightily to make shots as Oklahoma State has hit 32.1 percent from the field to 33.3 for K-State.
Jordan Henriquez has been strong in a game that obviously has him in pain. Henriquez has been battling back injuries recently and can be seen on a stationary bike when not in the game, attempting to keep lose. However, the senior started the game and already has six rebounds and three blocks in the game. Additionally, Henriquez has contributed four points on the night.
Kansas State has done one of its best jobs avoiding fouls all season, and only has six after 20 minutes of play. In a familiar sight, Thomas Gipson leads the team with two fouls. On the scoring side, Rodney McGruder leads the Wildcats with seven points – well behind his average of 25 points against OSU this year. Angel Rodriguez and Martavious Irving both have six, but the number of shots required to get there has been frustrating. Shane Southwell has struggled on the offense end as much as anyone, but is one of the best defenders on the court tonight. He has four rebounds, one steal, and a block while helping to contain the Cowboys’ interior game.
Freshman of the Year Marcus Smart has been as stellar as ever, and leads his team with 12. Only three other players on the team have contributed points, and no one more than four. The winner of this game will play Kansas in the tournament championship. KU defeated Iowa State 88-73 earlier tonight.