Man, just when I thought I had an upset-bid correctly predicted. Thanks, Travis Releford.
With Ben McLemore out for most of the first half, Releford ran the offense but his defense on McGruder was instrumental in the Jayhawks not allowing the Wildcats to capitalize on McLemore’s absence.
Without McLemore and without Withey making much of an impact in the first half, Angel Rodriguez had 12 points while penetrating the lane to get to the free-throw line and also played lockdown defense on McLemore, drawing two charges.
Rodriguez had four rebounds, five assists but the scoring just wasn’t there.
Withey and McLemore recovered in the second half to each score nine points to finish with 11 but the second half was more about what K-State didn’t do than what the Jayhawks did do.
That penetration that the Wildcats got in the first half wasn’t a point of emphasis in the second. Kansas is at its weakest when opponents attack the lane and go at Releford, McLemore and Elijah Johnson but Kansas State was just 6 of 7 from the free-throw line for the game.
The win was there for the taking for the Wildcats. Kevin Young missed four layups when K-State doesn’t have a tremdous post presence and Rodriguez had it going on with the penetration game but the offensive disconnect in the second half ruined the Wildcats.
McGruder finished with 13 points — 11 in the second half — but he was 4 of 7 from deep and only got to the free-throw line for a pair of shots. That kind of one-dimensional play won’t get K-State anywhere.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter:@mgillmei. Like his Facebook page here for updates on Big 12/A-1o men’s basketball.