The 13th-ranked Kansas State men’s basketball team had no problems scoring points Saturday night in its 79-70 win against Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum.
Many of those points, though, came from the result of scrappy defensive play – especially in the second half.
The Wildcats outscored the Cyclones 27-13 in points off turnovers and were also relentless when it came to the offensive glass. KSU outscored Iowa State 20-10 in second-chance points.
At halftime K-State only held a 12-11 advantage in points off turnovers and just three second-chance points.
“They turned it over 10 (times) and we turned it over 10 (times) in the first half,” Wildcats head coach Bruce Weber said. “In the second half we only had four and (ISU had) 10. So now you get those six opportunities without a turnover and you get a shot attempt.
“So that’s when we kept talking about how bad do you really want it? Do you really want to compete for a title? Those are the plays you to make – the tip-outs, the loose balls, the dives on the floor. Those are huge for us.”
K-State is No. 1 in the Big 12 in scoring defense and held the Cyclones below their 78.7 points per game average. The Wildcats’ 20 forced turnovers is a new season-high during conference play and it’s the third time this season that K-State’s defense has forced at least as many.
Senior Rodney McGruder — who led the Wildcats with 22 points — had a game-high four steals.
Overall, KSU out-stole Iowa State 8-5. In the second half alone, the Wildcats nabbed five steals to the Cyclones’ one.
“We were just in the right spots,” McGruder said. “There was one time I got a steal and (the Iowa State player) just threw it right to me. It’s just paying attention to detail — going through scouting, knowing the things they are trying to run.
“It’s just about being in-tune to the game.”
Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t waste any time to bring up the Wildcats’ ability to turn giveaways to points.
“Turnovers and offensive rebounding,” Hoiberg said. “We did a great job in the first half, I thought, on the glass, but (KSU) got too many of them at key times down the stretch.
“It just seemed like every time a shot went up they got the rebound and it led to points. We got outscored 20 to 10 on the second chance points and off turnovers 27-13. That is just too many to beat a great team on the road.”