No. 25 K-State ends Stillwater slump

BY foxsports • January 21, 2012


STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Frank Martin was
in disbelief that Kansas State's lead could be slipping away in
Gallagher-Iba Arena again.

He'd seen a lead fade with
a series of turnovers his first time coaching in the building. A
rebound bounced off one of his players' heads to spark an Oklahoma State
rally the next time he was back.

This time had a
different ending.

Freshman Angel Rodriguez scored 14
points in his second start, Jamar Samuels added 12 points and 12
rebounds and No. 25 Kansas State snapped an 11-game losing streak at
Gallagher-Iba by beating Oklahoma State 66-58 on
Saturday.

"Every year I've been here, something's
happened where we've unraveled and K-State hasn't won here since '93.
You know these things," Martin said. "I don't tell them
that.

"You sit there and you're saying, 'This can't
happen again.' I was real proud of the way that they stayed the
course."

The Wildcats (14-4, 3-3 Big 12) held
Oklahoma State without a made basket for a 15-minute stretch spanning
halftime, building up a 46-33 lead after Will Spradling's runner in the
lane with 9:08 to play. Then, they held off a late charge as the Cowboys
(9-10, 2-4) pulled within 59-56 with just over 2 minutes
left.

Rodriguez and Rodney McGruder combined to make
seven of 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the Wildcats' first win
in Stillwater since 1993. It was the team's longest losing streak in
any conference venue, starting when both teams were in the Big
Eight.

"We got the W in Stillwater. I've never won in
this place, and it feels good to win," Samuels
said.

"It's good to get a road win in the Big 12, and
to be in Stillwater makes it a lot better."

Keiton
Page had 17 points on 4-for-17 shooting to lead Oklahoma State, and
Markel Brown scored 14.

Brown converted a three-point
play off a steal that led to a two-handed slam during a string of nine
straight points for the Cowboys to get the lead down to four. Page's
3-pointer from the left wing -- Oklahoma State's only make in 16
attempts from 3-point range -- cut it to 59-56 with 2:01
remaining.

Kansas State didn't allow another point
until Page's jumper at the buzzer, securing the victory at the foul line
despite making only 23 of 40 free throws during the
game.

"This is one of most intimidating places that
I've ever coached a basketball game in," Martin said. "The crowd, the
way it sits right on top of you, it seems like the court is smaller
because everything is so congested there.

"It's
awesome. I mean, it's incredible."

McGruder, who had
been averaging 22.7 points over the previous seven games, finished with
14. The Wildcats had a 50-29 rebounding advantage while playing without
top shot blocker Jordan Henriquez, who was suspended indefinitely for
conduct detrimental to the team.

There were 52 fouls
called in a physical game, and Cowboys coach Travis Ford -- who earned a
technical foul late in the first half -- suggested there could have
been 102.

"That was a wild deal, that game. That
takes the game back," Ford said. "Good grief."

Ford
said he spent the two days before the game marveling at how roughly
Kansas State's previous game against Texas had been and feeling grateful
his team hadn't played in it -- until the Cowboys' turn ended up much
the same.

"That's going to be a tough night for us
when it's played like that," Ford said. "This time next year, we'll be
able to battle -- when these guys get a little bigger and stronger and
we get other players back."

Both teams entered the
day stacked up in a four-way tie for fifth place in the conference,
along with Texas and Oklahoma.

Kansas State charged
ahead to stay with a 13-0 run midway through the first half, getting the
first 11 points in a 40-second span. Rodriguez hit a 3-pointer from the
left wing to get it started, and the Wildcats didn't even have to go
back across midcourt to score the next
eight.

Rodriguez stole a backdoor pass and got fouled
while converting a fast-break layup. He missed the free throw but the
rebound went out of bounds to Kansas State, and Thomas Gipson scored
underneath also while getting fouled. He, too, missed the free throw and
Samuels tipped it in. An Oklahoma State turnover on the inbounds play
led to another bucket by Gipson underneath.

The
Cowboys finally crossed the center line before Gipson's hook shot made
it 21-11 with 10:34 left before halftime.

Michael
Cobbins led Oklahoma State back, converting a pair of three-point plays
during a 10-0 response. The second, off of a two-handed dunk of LeBryan
Nash's alley-oop, got the Cowboys back within 24-23 with 3:58 to go
before the half.

The Cowboys then missed their final
three shots of the first half and 10 straight to start the second
half.

Brown finally snapped the drought with a layup
that led to a three-point play with 8:57 remaining, and the Cowboys were
still within striking distance down 46-36 but never could overcome the
deficit.

"Defense is always the most important thing
in our team. That's how we play," Rodriguez said. "We knew that it
wasn't going to be an easy game here. We took the challenge, we stepped
up and played good 'D' and it gave us a win."


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