KSU's Rodney McGruder has huge second half as OSU falls in Manhattan
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Sunday, January 06, 2013
1/06/13 at 7:17 AM
Related story: OSU notebook: Big day for Smart.
MANHATTAN, Kan. - On Saturday, Oklahoma State had a difficult time keeping tabs on Kansas State's best player.
In the second half of a 73-67 road loss to open Big 12 play, the 22nd-ranked Cowboys were repeatedly torched by Rodney McGruder, who scored 26 of his 28 points after halftime.
"We lost him on some defensive matchups," OSU guard Marcus Smart said. "We switched a lot of screens and he was able to find some open space and he was able to knock down some shots to help his team."
In particular, a pair of late 3-pointers by McGruder helped propel the 25th-ranked Wildcats. After OSU (10-3) rallied to erase a six-point deficit and tie the game, McGruder was found alone in the corner for a trey with 2:14 left.
Thirty seconds later, the same thing happened.
"We did a little switching on certain screens, so different guys got caught on him," Cowboy coach Travis Ford said. "It was not one guy defensively; it was one great player going off."
After McGruder's 3-pointers - two of his five in the second half - OSU came up fruitless and couldn't complete another run.
"They made big plays at the end of the game and they made some big shots," Ford said. "Anytime you get outrebounded like we did (39-29), and you let one guy go off in a close game for 26 points in the second half, you are not going to win."
In front of a rowdy Bramlage Coliseum crowd of 12,528, the game was physical from the opening tip. Two seconds in, OSU forward Kamari Murphy was called for a foul. He and center Philip Jurick were limited throughout the game because of foul trouble.
"It hurt us big time because K-State's thing is to go to the offensive glass," Smart said. "They lead the league in offensive rebounds, and for us to not have our inside presence there to help us get those rebounds affected us a lot."
Despite the fouls, transition buckets boosted the Cowboys to a 32-30 halftime lead, and at that point McGruder had two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
"We talked (at halftime) about him probably trying to be more aggressive," Ford said. "... Right before we went out, we talked about how you have to expect a guy like him, who is one of the best players in our league, that he's not satisfied with two points."
After the break, McGruder found ways to get open and couldn't miss. He went 10-of-13 from the field and 5-of-5 behind the arc.
"In the second half, he got moving," first-year coach Bruce Weber said. "Maybe they got tired and were not as physical with him.
"They started losing him, and maybe our guys did a little better job of finding him. We just got in that zone."
McGruder also had assistance from forward Nino Williams, who contributed a career-high 17 points off the bench.
On the other end, it was almost all Smart (a career-high 25 points) and Markel Brown (19 points). No other OSU player had more than eight.
"We had two guys carrying the load," their coach said. "We have got to get some help scoring the basketball. We are just putting too much on those guys.
"Basically, they are the only two guys who can create their own shots. But we are going to have some other guys step up."
OSU up next
Vs. TCU 7 p.m. Wednesday
Original Print Headline: Cowboys stumble
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart and Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez battle for a loose ball during Saturday's game in Manhattan, Kan. CHARLIE RIEDEL/Associated Press
Oklahoma State guard Markel Brown gets past Kansas State guard Will Spradling during Saturday's game. CHARLIE RIEDEL/Associated Press