AUSTIN -- Kansas State shot 48 percent from floor and 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line to ignite an 81-69 victory over Texas on Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Wildcats (22-5, 11-3 Big 12) had their second-best 3-point shooting night of the season. They also sunk 20 of their 22 free throw attempts.
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, scoring a career-high 24 points.
Kabongo, however, received very little help, especially down low. The Longhorns (12-15, 4-10) were out-rebounded 25-15 in the first half (they'd later close the margin to 32-26) and without a post presence: 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.
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, including a runner as the buzzer sounded at the end of the first half. Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez hit two 3-pointers apiece.
A first half of runs and spurts had No. 13 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. Southwell capped off the half with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Longhorns attempted 22 free throws, but converted only 50 percent. Another alarming stat was the rebound discrepancy: Kansas State 25, Texas 15. Without freshman center Cameron Ridley (right eye) the Longhorns are struggling to keep up on the glass.
After scoring 10 points in each of the last two games, KSU's McGruder had 11 in the first half alone. The senior guard averages about 15 points per game.
NOTES: Bruce Weber's 21-5 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 250-94 (.727) as a ranked team. ... Texas, on the other hand, is 30-16 (.666) against AP Top 25 teams at the Erwin Center under coach Rick Barnes. ... Kansas State holds a 14-10 advantage in the series against Texas and has won five of the last seven meetings. ... Through Feb. 17, Texas ranks third nationally in field goal percentage defense (.365) and first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.267). ... Kansas State is 22nd nationally with 16 team assists per game.