MANHATTAN (AP) — Martavious Irving hit three 3-pointers during a decisive second-half run that turned a tight game between two cold-shooting teams into a laugher and sparked No. 3 Kansas State to a 73-57 victory Tuesday afternoon over No. 22 Virginia Tech.
Two technical fouls were called on Virginia Tech as Kansas State (2-0) was taking charge in the second half.
Malcolm Delaney, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading returning scorer, had 22 points for the Hokies (1-1). His bucket gave Virginia Tech a 40-38 lead early in the second half, then Rodney McGruder’s 10-foot jumper ignited the Wildcats on the 28-9 run that gave them an insurmountable lead.
After another bucket by McGruder, Freddy Asprilla blocked Victor Davila’s shot and Irving drained the first of his 3-pointers. Delaney’s 3-pointer a moment later was answered by another trey by Irving. After a free throw by Jamar Samuels, McGruder hit a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats their biggest lead, 53-44, with 8:40 to go.
Jacob Pullen, the Wildcats’ preseason All-American, was benched all but two minutes of the first half with three fouls, but scored 13 points. McGruder and Jamar Samuels also had 13 points each for the Wildcats and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts had 10.
McGruder threw up an air ball after the Wildcats seized a 53-44 lead, but Roberts alertly bounced the ball off Delaney’s leg out of bounds and then put in a layup.
Samuels’ bucket put Kansas State on top 59-49 with 5:16 to go, then during a subsequent time out a technical foul was called on the Virginia Tech bench. Pullen made both free throws for a 61-49 advantage.
After another 3-pointer by Irving, Henriquez-Roberts blocked a Virginia Tech shot and Pullen teamed with Samuels on the other end for a dunk off an alley-oop pass for a 66-49 lead.
Pullen sank two more free throws, making it 70-51, when another technical was called on the Hokies bench.
Delaney’s usually unerring foul shot failed him in the first half. After hitting his first two from the free throw line, making him 13 for 13 for the season, the 6-foot-3 senior missed the front end of a one-and-one.
For the game, he was 8 for 9 from the line, making him 19 for 20 in two games.
Both teams shot miserably in the first half, with Kansas State hitting only 12 of 33 and Virginia Tech making 9 of 25. The Wildcats were equally weak at the foul line, going 3 for 11. For the game, Kansas State hit only 41 percent while Virginia Tech hit 35 percent on 19 of 55 shooting.
Curtis Kelly, a 6-8 senior being counted on heavily by the Wildcats this season, sat out a second straight game for unspecified disciplinary reasons.