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Kansas State Vs. Southern Miss Halftime Score: Wildcats Up 30-27

In a back-and-forth first half in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament's East Regional, No. 8 seed Kansas State leads No. 9 seed Southern Miss 30-27.

Kansas State opened up a lead by dominating the undersized Southern Miss front-line in the paint, as Larry Eustachy's team had no answer for the front-court duo of 6'11 junior Jordan Henriquez and 6'7 senior Jamar Samuels, who combined for 6 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The Golden Eagles got back into the game by bombing away from the perimeter, knocking down 4-11 shots from beyond the arc.

Their comeback was spearheaded by 10 points off the bench from 5'11 sophomore G Neil Watson, a native of Kansas City.

However, they had no answer for the athleticism and shot-making ability of Rodney McGruder, who had 18 points on 6-11 shooting in the first half.

In the second half, the Wildcats will need to continue exploiting their size advantage on the interior while marking the Southern Miss shooters on the perimeter.

For up-to-the second scores and updates from every game Thursday, check out the live scoreboard from SI.com.