KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Leave it to the kid from suburban Kansas City to help Kansas State finish off a banner day for the college hoops programs that the city calls its own.
Will Spradling had the best game of his career with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, and the Wildcats upended No. 8 Florida 67-61 on Saturday night. Their win followed No. 9 Kansas' victory over No. 7 Ohio State and No. 12 Missouri's win over No. 10 Illinois earlier in the day.
"Whenever you're shooting it well — you see the ball go through the net — it brings confidence to you and for your team as well," said Spradling, a junior guard from Overland Park, Kan. "This is probably my best all-around performance that I've had."
Spradling didn't even commit a turnover in 39 minutes.
Rodney McGruder added 13 points and Jordan Henriquez had nine points and five blocks for the Wildcats (9-2), who watched a 10-point halftime lead evaporate before clamping down against one of the nation's top defensive teams and then pulling away in the final minutes.
"We were in tune with one another. We wanted this game," McGruder said. "Our preparation for Florida was great, tremendous. The past couple practices guys were getting after one another."
Patric Young had 19 points for the Gators (8-2), including two with just over 2 minutes left that got them within 58-55. But that's when Shane Southwell knocked down a 3 from the corner, and McGruder made two free throws with 1:05 left to create some breathing room.
Kansas State held on from the foul line for its first regular-season, non-conference win over a top 10 team since defeating No. 8 Minnesota on Dec. 21, 1981.
"They were just a step ahead of us, a step quicker. We were late," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We let Spradling get loose several times on 3-point shots. We gave up some offensive rebounds. We had just a couple plays there where we were just late on some things."
Kenny Boynton and Scott Wilbekin scored 11 each for the Gators, whose only other loss came at then-No. 8 Arizona. Leading scorer Mike Rosario was held to five points on 1-of-9 shooting.
The Wildcats have been struggling in new coach Bruce Weber's motion offense, and it showed in sloppy, lackluster losses to No. 2 Michigan and No. 14 Gonzaga. But they finally managed to get it clicking just enough against one of the nation's premier defenses.
"Just a heck of an effort by our guys," Weber said. "The thing I challenged them with is we had to compete for 40 minutes, just to give ourselves a chance. Against Michigan, against Gonzaga, we only competed for 20."