Oklahoma State loses to Kansas State, 77-58

Rodney McGruder scored 24 points, Jamar Samuels had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Kansas State used a big run out of halftime to beat short-handed Oklahoma State.
By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer Published: March 3, 2012
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Page's hot shooting from beyond the arc — he hit a trio of 3-pointers in less than 2 minutes early in the game — allowed the Cowboys to stay within 40-33 at the break.

That's when McGruder really caught fire.

He followed a basket by Samuels with a 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the second half, then added another 3 on his next trip down court. It was the start of a 14-0 run by the Wildcats that turned a four-point lead into a 54-36 advantage.

“Rodney has been engaged, outside about a two-week period, for the whole conference season,” Martin said.

Cezar Guerrero finally slowed down the onslaught with a pair of buckets for Oklahoma State, but Henriquez answered with a strong finish. McGruder added another jumper, and Henriquez dunked off a feed from Angel Rodriguez for a 60-42 lead with 11:20 left.

Kansas State put it on the cruise control the final 10 minutes, allowing Martin to empty much of his bench in the Wildcats' home finale — and give Samuels and fellow senior Victor Ojeleye a curtain call in the closing minutes.

“It was just an honor,” said Ojeleye, who made his only field-goal attempt in his first career start. “An honor to be out there and be part of what we're doing, a different perspective out there. Whatever I could do to put it into words couldn't do it justice.”

The Wildcats, who snapped an 11-game losing streak at Gallagher-Iba Arena earlier this year, finished off a sweep of Oklahoma State for the first time since 1988. The Cowboys had won five of the last seven meetings at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State had already secured a bye into the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament, where it will be seeded fourth or sixth, depending on the result of other games this weekend.

The Cowboys, who have lost three of four, will be the seventh seed in Kansas City. They'll face No. 10 seed Texas Tech on Wednesday night.

“It's just the end of the regular season, but it's also a stepping stone for us,” Ojeleye said. “Every day it's a new opportunity, and I think a positive experience like this — going out and playing well and also seeing some things to improve on — that's really important.”