Despite hitting just two of their 13 shots from three-point range all game, the Kansas State Wildcats held strong down the stretch to pull out a 78-69 win over Texas Southern on Tuesday night in Manhattan.
The Wildcats benefited from a huge bounce-back effort from senior guard Rodney McGruder, who poured in a season-high 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting. Though McGruder's touch from the outside still remains erratic and he did not finish with a three-pointer for the second straight game, the 6'4 scoring guard quickly erased memories of his poor 1-for-9 performance against Gonzaga last weekend.
In addition to McGruder, head coach Bruce Weber also picked up a strong night on the glass from sophomore forward Thomas Gipson. Along with earning his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds, Gipson chipped in a career-high with four blocks in just 26 minutes on the court. Although Weber's team did manage to cough the ball up 15 times combined in the victory, the Wildcats overcame their lapse in ball control by connecting on a remarkable 31 of 55 shots from the field.
Effectively back on track after the Gonzaga loss, Kansas State will spend the next three days preparing for Saturday's can't-miss showdown with the Florida Gators at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Gators are coming off their first loss of the season just last weekend to Arizona, but Billy Donovan's team remains one of most efficient and dynamic offensive teams in America.