AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Week by week and win by win, No. 13 Kansas State keeps inching closer to something not experienced by the Wildcats in a generation: a conference basketball championship.
On Saturday night, it was an easy 81-69 victory over Texas that pushed Kansas State (22-5, 11-3 Big 12) just a little bit farther along.
The Wildcats trailed only for a matter of seconds after the game's first basket, made nine-3-pointers against the toughest perimeter defense in the country and had four players score in double figures in a game they controlled by early in the second half.
"We're trying to win a championship you know?" said Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez, who had 16 points and six assists. "We've got to play at a high level. We've still got a couple of games. If we keep doing what we do, we should be all right."
Kansas State shares first place in the Big 12 with No. 9 Kansas and the Wildcats have four games left to chase their first regular season conference championship since winning the old Big Eight title in 1976-77. Kansas State's best finish in the Big 12 has been a tie for second in 2010.
The Wildcats have already tied their school record for Big 12 wins.
Against Texas, Kansas State shot 50 percent from 3-point range and was a blistering 20 of 22 from the free throw line to snuff out any hopes of a Texas rally. Kansas State had 19 assists on its 26 baskets, consistently whipping the ball around for the open shot, often from long range.
Rodney McGruder led the Wildcats with 20 points.
"They moved the basketball," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "They were more aggressive on defense this time than the first time, we kept our composure, made the extra pass that got some easy goals."
Myck Kabongo had 24 points, the most he's scored in four games since returning from a 23-game NCAA suspension, but also had just two assists. Texas (12-15, 4-10) is 2-2 since his return, languishing near the bottom of the Big 12 in the Longhorns' worst season in 15 years under coach Rick Barnes.