Zags cruise past Cats in second half

By Joel Jellison

Numerous turnovers, missed shots and missed opportunities.

In the Kansas State men’s basketball team’s second game against a ranked team this season, it was the same story, different game.

The Wildcats played a close first half on Saturday against Gonzaga, but it fell apart for K-State in the second half in a 68-52 loss to the Bulldogs in the State Farm Battle for Seattle at Key Arena.

K-State was trailing by one point, 27-26, to start the second half, but allowed the Bulldogs to turn in a 9-0 run to push ahead by double figures with 16:28 to play in the game. The Wildcats committed four turnovers and three fouls during the run, and had just two shots in the nearly four-minute span.

Coach Bruce Weber said it was hard to keep pace with the Bulldogs after opening the second half in such a rut.

“Obviously the second (half) was tougher than the first,” he said during the post-game show. “We knew we had to grind it out, we had to play our butts off. First five minutes of the second half, we just have bad possessions, they get into transition and there’s no stopping them.”

Not only did the Cats struggle to start the second half, Rodney McGruder, who averaged 17 points per game in K-State’s last three games, didn’t get it going at all.

McGruder didn’t score until the 9:10 mark of the second half, when he made a pair of free throws. He didn’t make his first field goal until the 6:38 mark. The senior finished with four points on 1-of-9 shooting, and finished with five rebounds and five turnovers.

The Bulldogs were paced by 7-footer Kelly Olynyk, who scored 20 points on 10-of-13 shooting and played just 19 minutes, fouling out midway through the second half. Gary Bell Jr. scored 11 points and Elias Harris had 10.

Angel Rodriguez led the Wildcats with 14 points, 12 coming in the first half.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | The Manhattan Mercury, 318 North 5th Street, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502 | Copyright 2017