Kansas St bench keys 80-73 win over No. 15 Iowa St

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 1, 2014 at 10:53 pm •  Published: March 1, 2014
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Ejim and Kane answered the Kansas State run with 28 first-half points while cutting the deficit to 39-34 at the break.

As the "Big Three" for the Cyclones, Ejim, Kane and Georges Niang all came in with scoring averages above 17 points in conference play.

Although two of the three lit up the Wildcats' defense, Weber was happy with his team's effort.

"They had two special players in that arena with Ejim and Kane," Weber said. "Both of them are up for being the top players in the league. They've had the big three all year and we did the job on Niang. Some of it was getting him in foul trouble, which helped."

Foul trouble plagued the Wildcats, too, as Spradling and leading scorer Marcus Foster sat out much of the first half with two fouls.

"We had some unconventional lineups in there," Weber said. "But they didn't go down. They kept battling."

Foster ended the first half with two points on the opening basket of the game and finished with 11. Gipson and Johnson both scored 12 for Kansas State.

Ejim, the Big 12's leading scorer with an average of 18.4 points, opened the second half with a three-point play.

Kansas State pushed its advantage to five before the Cyclones rallied to take their first lead in nearly 23 minutes. But the Wildcats answered in the closing minutes, and Spradling's 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining gave them a 72-69 edge they did not relinquish.

"Their two shooters made big shots when they needed them," Hoiberg said. "Spradling came off after struggling and knocks a big one down. Foster did the same thing the next time down. That's what great players do, a four-year player in Spradling and one of the best freshmen I've seen in a long time in Foster."

Kansas State closed it out with six free throws in the final 1:23.

"They came right back and hit some big shots," Ejim said. "We played hard, guys came in, stepped up and made some big shots, but truly they were able to make some big shots down the stretch and make some stops."