Rodriguez lifts K-State over Oklahoma 52-50
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — On a day when he struggled to make shots, Angel Rodriguez delivered from the line for No. 18 Kansas State.
The sophomore guard hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats a 52-50 win over Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Even though Rodriguez was 1 for 6 from the floor and his team wasted a late eight-point lead, coach Bruce Weber had confidence in Rodriguez to make a play.
Rodriguez drove by Sooners guard Sam Grooms into the lane and was fouled. He then put his shooting woes behind him and made both free throws.
"I was just saying, 'It's just another free throw like you practice by yourself in the gym,'" Rodriguez said. "I like the pressure. I think I function better with pressure."
The free throws ended an 8-0 run by the Sooners in the final two minutes that tied the game for the first time since the 7:30 mark of the first half.
With Oklahoma trailing 50-42, Romero Osby scored the last of his 13 points on a three-point play to pull the Sooners within five with 1:58 to go. Grooms then tied it with a 3-pointer and a driving layup with 13 seconds left. Weber opted not to call a timeout, instead letting Rodriguez take the game into his hands.
"I told him to push it and see what happens," Weber said. "If it gets to where we don't have anything, I'm going to call timeout. We practice that all the time. Sometimes you call timeout and it gives the defense a chance to set up. (Oklahoma head coach) Lon (Kruger) does a great job of taking things away, so we thought it was better to just go with it. It was a double ball-screen, Angel read it, got to the bucket and was fortunate to get the foul and get the free throws."
Just as Weber had done, Kruger also did not call a timeout and Grooms had a chance to win it for Oklahoma. However, his 3-pointer at the buzzer was short. The win kept the Wildcats (17-4, 6-2) in second place in the Big 12, one game behind Kansas.
For the Sooners (14-6, 5-3), it was their third loss in their last five games after starting Big 12 play 3-0.