Hot shooting leads No. 13 Kansas State in 81-69 win over Texas

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

AUSTIN, Tex. -- Kansas State shot 48 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line to ignite the 13th-ranked Wildcats in an 81-69 victory over Texas on Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
Kansas State (22-5, 11-3 Big 12) had its second-best 3-point shooting night of the season, making 9 of 18. The Wildcats also sunk 20 of their 22 free throw attempts.
"I think our spacing, our movement -- ball and body -- put them in a bind, and we were able to get good looks," head coach Bruce Weber said.
The win gives the Wildcats the regular season sweep over Texas -- they trounced the Kabongo-less Longhorns, 83-57, Jan. 30 in Manhattan, Kan. -- and keeps them within a game of the Kansas Jayhawks in the race for the Big 12 title.
Texas point guard Myck Kabongo played with little rust in his fourth game back after serving a 23-game suspension for accepting impermissible benefits and then misleading UT compliance officials. He scored a career-high 24 points.
"Kabongo makes a big difference, makes them much more aggressive," Weber said. "But you control what you can control."
Kabongo received very little help, especially down low. The Longhorns (12-15, 4-10) were out-rebounded 25-15 in the first half and 32-26 overall. Jonathan Holmes didn't score, starting power forward Connor Lammert's only made shot was a three-pointer and reserves Prince Ibeh and Jaylen Bond combined for one made field goal.
"Our post guys kept our offense from flowing tonight," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We got hurt on the boards. [Kansas State's] an experienced team and they're hard enough to deal with without giving them what we were."
Kansas State's Rodney McGruder scored 18 points while sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez chipped in 14 points and six assists.
But it was the bevy of 3-pointers that did the Longhorns in. Junior guard Shane Southwell connected on 3-of-5 attempts and Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez hit two 3-pointers apiece.
"Shane was really big-time today," Weber said. "He spreads the defense."
It was a display of unusual leniency from the Longhorns, who came into the game ranking first nationally in three-point percentage defense (.267) and third in field goal percentage (.365). On the flip side, Texas shot 25 percent from deep, on par with its season average Ñ 28, No. 338 out of 345 D-I teams.
A first half of runs and spurts had Kansas State leading, 40-32. The Wildcats started the game on a 13-4 run, before the Longhorns closed the gap to make it 17-14. Thanks to several and-one plays -- three times the Wildcats scored despite drawing the foul -- Kansas State was able to pad its lead.
Both sides singled out the final sequence of the first half as the key moment of the game. Texas, down by three points, fouled Rodriguez, who made both free throws. Then Kabongo turned the ball over in the backcourt and Southwell capped hit a running three-pointer at the buzzer.
"You know, it's the kind of play that shifts the momentum of the game, and then changes the momentum," Texas' Ioannis Papapetrou said. "It was two big plays ... it just gave them the momentum at that moment."
Despite the loss of guard Julien Lewis (right eye) at intermission, Texas' scoring efficiency increased in the second half. Leading scorer Sheldon McClellan, in Barnes' doghouse much of the season because of defensive lapses, scored 11 of his 15 points after the break and Kabongo doubled his scoring output. In Texas' win over TCU on Tuesday, McClellan played one minute.
"It's not nothing that really motivates me," McClellan, a sophomore, said. "I just move on to the next game and do what I can to help the team win."
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Kansas State got better, too, shooting 60 percent in the second half while draining five of their nine three-pointers.
"We're trying to win a championship," Rodriguez said. "We've got to play at a high level and we have so far. We've still got a couple games but if we keep doing what we do, we should be alright."
NOTES: Bruce Weber's 22-5 record is the second-best start by a first-year KSU head coach in program history. ... No. 13 Kansas State has been ranked in the AP Top 25 poll nine straight weeks. The Wildcats have been ranked in the AP poll at least one week in each of the last four seasons and are 251-94 (.727) as a ranked team. ... Texas, on the other hand, is 30-17 (.638) against AP Top 25 teams at the Erwin Center under coach Rick Barnes. ... Kansas State holds a 15-10 advantage in the series against Texas and has won six of the last eight meetings ... Texas was without freshman center Cameron Ridley, who is dealing with an eye injury.

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