McGruder leads Kansas State to victory over TCU

Michael Eldridge, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Kansas State remained perfect in Big 12 play Wednesday night by cruising to a 67-54 win over Texas Christian University at Daniel-Mayer Coliseum.
The Wildcats' Rodney McGruder put in a game-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and was 3-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line. His fourth game of 20 points or more this season helped Kansas State improve to 3-0 in the Big 12 and 14-2 overall. TCU fell to 0-4 in conference play and 9-8 overall despite 18 points from Adrick McKinney.
"They kept fighting it and fighting it," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "We talked about was being solid and being ready to play. I thought we had a real solid stretch of defense led by Martavious (Irving) and Rodney got us going by making shots."
TCU found offense from Adrick McKinney, who scored a season-high 18 points for the Frogs in the loss. TCU's woes came from shooting though as the Horned Frogs shot just 37.5 percent from the field and were 3-10 shooting from the 3-point line. However, where the Frogs lacked was capitalizing on turnovers. Kansas State outscored TCU 20-6 in points off turnovers and TCU failed to convert on five in-the-paint plays in transition.
"That's a very experienced and very well coached team," TCU coach Trent Johnson said. "I thought we played probably as good as we could for the first few minutes. But like most teams that are very skilled, they make you pay. The positives were that we had go back in the game fighting and trying to compete."
TCU opened up the game with an 8-2 run on back-to-back 3-pointers by Kyan Anderson and Charles Hill Jr. The Wildcats would respond quickly by scoring eight consecutive points and 14 of the game's next 18 points to propel themselves into the lead. Adrian Diaz hit four of five field-goal attempts during the run, and McGruder knocked down two 3-pointers.
"After the slow start that you kind of expect from being on the road this game is just as important as any," Weber said. "We came out a bit lethargic but our seniors did a great job in giving us the energy that we needed."
Despite opening the half with hot shooting, the Frogs had trouble finding the bucket after that to provide an answer to the Kansas State run. TCU missed four inside shots, including two layups in transition and fell to 40 percent shooting from the field.
The Horned Frogs could not find an answer for McGruder late in the half. McGruder scored a game-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first half and led Kansas State into a 38-25 halftime lead.
Kansas State led by 13 points at halftime and opened up the second half with a hot hand from beyond the arc. The Wildcats hit three consecutive 3-pointers to lead by as many as 19 points just five minutes into the half. Combined with the offense, the Wildcats extended its defense and forced the Horned Frogs into tough shots and two consecutive turnovers converted into points at the other end.
Texas Christian then went to the line to attempt to get back into the game. The Horned failed to hit a field goal for a five-minute period but went to the line for six straight points from the charity stripe.
The Wildcats would take advantage of the poor shooting throughout the second half to pull away. McGruder would lead another run, this time a 6-0 run, and Martavious Irving would hit the fourth 3-pointer of the half to increase the lead to 20.
Dropping to 34.8 percent shooting in the second half, TCU could not find an answer on offense. The Frogs hit just 5-of-18 shots in the half to seal its fourth consecutive Big 12 loss.
"It started with pressure and we thought we could wear them down," Weber said of his second-half defense. "When they did make baskets, we got out of position. In the second half, we were a lot more solid and we may have broke their spirits."
Both teams return to action in Big 12 play on Saturday with Kansas State hosting Oklahoma, one of three remaining unbeaten teams in the conference while TCU hosts Iowa State.

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