HONOLULU (AP) — Guard Angel Rodriguez scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half and Kansas State used a late rally to beat UTEP 78-70 in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic Friday.
Jamar Samuels had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (9-1), who took their biggest lead at 47-32 on Thomas Gipson’s field goal a minute into the second half.
UTEP (5-6) responded with a 27-10 run to go in front 59-57 midway through the second half. John Bohannon scored all 10 of his points during the spurt.
But the Wildcats went on an 11-0 run to pull away from a 60-60 deadlock. Martavious Irving and Rodriguez nailed 3-pointers during the rush, which was capped by Jordan Henriquez’s slam off a lob from Rodgriguez, one of his four assists.
Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels added 10 points, including 8 for 11 from the free-throw line, and 12 rebounds. Guard Will Spradling put in 11 points.
Kansas State, which will play the winner of Friday night’s Auburn-Long Beach State game for the championship on Christmas Night, held a 39-21 rebounding advantage, including 18-6 on the offensive end.
Jacques Streeter scored 15 points to lead five UTEP players in double figures.