No. 11 Kansas State 80, UMKC 64
Johnson 3-6 4-4 13, Couisnard 4-12 11-11 21, Kamwa 0-0 0-0 0, Chamberlain 4-12 0-1 11, Lewis 3-11 0-0 7, Gholston Jr. 0-1 0-0 0, Hall 2-3 4-7 8, Dibble 0-2 0-0 0, Rockmann 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 18-51 19-23 64.
KANSAS ST. (10-3)
Asprilla 3-5 0-4 6, Judge 6-18 2-5 14, Russell 2-8 4-4 8, McGruder 8-14 1-2 24, Spradling 5-10 2-4 15, Southwell 0-0 0-0 0, Peterson 1-2 0-2 2, Irving 1-3 1-2 3, Myles 0-0 0-0 0, Ojeleye 2-3 0-0 4, Henriquez-Roberts 0-0 0-0 0, Potuzak 0-1 0-0 0, Samuels 1-8 1-4 4. Totals 29-72 11-27 80.
Halftime—Kansas St. 44-29. Three-point goals—UMKC 9-20 (Johnson 3-5, Chamberlain 3-6, Couisnard 2-5, Lewis 1-2, Rockmann 0-2), Kansas St. 11-19 (McGruder 7-10, Spradling 3-4, Samuels 1-1, Russell 0-4). Fouled Out—Hall, Johnson, Kamwa. Rebounds—UMKC 34 (Couisnard 9), Kansas St. 49 (Judge 11). Assists—UMKC 9 (Lewis 3), Kansas St. 20 (Samuels 5). Total Fouls—UMKC 24, Kansas St. 16. A—11,565.
MANHATTAN — At least for one night, Kansas State could forget about the controversy surrounding the suspensions of seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly.
Rodney McGruder made sure of it.
McGruder, a 6-foot-5, sophomore swingman, scorched the Bramlage Coliseum nets Thursday night by making his first four 3-pointers and finishing 7-for-10 from long distance. McGruder totaled a game-high 24 points, leading 11th-ranked Kansas State to an 80-64 victory over Missouri-Kansas City.
“I hit a couple back to back and my jump shot just started feeling good,” McGruder said. “When I released it, it felt like it was going in.”
McGruder took it upon himself to take in some extra shooting, launching 300 3-pointers late into the night on Wednesday night at Bramlage.
“I stayed in a little late and got some extra jump shots up,” he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball well against UNLV, and I want to be a better shooter and I worked on it (Wednesday night).”
This is also the same guy that broke off a tooth during a scramble against UNLV.
“My lip is still swollen,” McGruder said. “A little pain from having a root canal done and things like that.
“My tooth split (diagonally). My tooth was chipped, and I had to have a cap put on my teeth because of how bad it was.”
Two days after the aforementioned players were suspended, Kansas State (10-3) collectively finished 11-for-19 on 3s for 57.9 percent as it heads into the Christmas holiday on a high note.
Freshman shooting guard Will Spradling dropped in 3 of 4 3s and finished with 15 points for the Wildcats, who snapped a two-game losing skid.
“I started looking for my shot more and tried to push the ball, get us into our offense quicker and get the ball inside because (UMKC) wasn’t very big inside,” Spradling said. “We came out with a lot more intensity and when we come with an intensity, we’re going to start playing defense and we’re going to get out and run and that makes it more fun for us because that’s the way we like to play.”
Kansas State hit 8 of 10 shots from long distance in the first half, including McGruder drilling 5 of 6, as it built a 44-29 halftime lead.
Spradling hit his first three shots, including a pair of 3s, and scored eight points during the opening six minutes, 39 seconds for a 17-5 lead.
Sixth man Jamar Samuels also made several big plays during the early run. After sinking 1 of 2 free throws, he nailed a baseline 3-pointer, fed a cutting Nick Russell for a layup and then stole the ball, resulting in a Wally Judge basket.
Samuels finished with a team-high five assists, and Judge finished with his first double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and hauling in 11 rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
After Spradling followed with his basket at the 13:21 mark, giving K-State its 12-point lead, McGruder lit his fuse on his string of 3-pointers, including three straight during a 3:15 stretch, for a 28-18 lead at the 8:29 mark.
Martavious Irving hit a follow shot for Kansas State’s next points, and then McGruder dropped in another 3-ball to increase the Cats’ lead to 33-18.
McGruder hit his fifth trey with just over a minute left in the half for the 15-point edge at the break.
Jay Couisnard led UMKC (7-5) with 21 points. The Kangaroos connected on 9 of 20 3s, including three apiece from Spencer Johnson and Reggie Chamberlain.
Despite the students having already gone home for the Christmas break, Bramlage was still three-quarters full.
Kansas State returns to action on New Year’s Eve against North Florida at Bramlage. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. on FSN.