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K-State blasts Oklahoma State in home finale

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, March 3, 2012, at 2:49 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, March 10, 2012, at 7:28 a.m.

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Wildcat report

Saturday’s box score

Oklahoma State (58)

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Cobbins

34

2-5

0-0

3-7

5

5

4

Jurick

3

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

B Williams

36

4-12

0-2

0-3

3

2

9

Page

40

7-13

2-3

1-5

2

1

22

Brown

36

4-8

0-2

1-5

1

2

8

Guerrero

34

6-11

2-3

1-4

5

2

15

Soucek

14

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

5

0

Sager

3

0-0

0-0

1-2

0

0

0

Totals

200

23-50

4-10

8-27

16

18

58

Percentages: FG .460, FT .400. 3-Point Goals: 8-17, .471 (Page 6-10, Guerrero 1-2, B. Williams 1-4, Brown 0-1). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 1 (Cobbins). Turnovers: 19 (Page 8, Guerrero 4, Soucek 2, B. Williams 2, Cobbins 2, Brown). Steals: 8 (Page 4, Guerrero 3, B. Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

Kansas State (77)

KANSAS ST.

Min

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Ojeleye

16

1-1

0-0

1-2

0

2

2

Samuels

33

7-12

3-3

6-12

0

0

17

Rodriguez

26

0-3

5-6

0-5

5

2

5

McGruder

33

10-14

0-0

1-5

3

0

24

Spradling

22

3-7

0-0

0-1

7

3

7

Southwell

7

0-2

0-0

0-0

2

2

0

Irving

17

1-5

0-0

0-0

1

2

3

Lawrence

1

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

0

0

Diaz

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Henriquez

25

7-8

2-5

3-8

0

1

16

Jones

13

1-5

1-2

0-0

2

0

3

Rohleder

1

0-0

0-0

1-1

0

0

0

Gipson

5

0-1

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

Totals

200

30-58

11-16

12-35

21

12

77

Percentages: FG .517, FT .688. 3-Point Goals: 6-22, .273 (McGruder 4-6, Spradling 1-3, Irving 1-4, Southwell 0-1, Jones 0-2, Rodriguez 0-2, Samuels 0-4). Team Rebounds: 0. Blocked Shots: 3 (Henriquez 2, Rodriguez). Turnovers: 11 (Rodriguez 4, McGruder 3, Southwell, Ojeleye, Samuels, Henriquez). Steals: 8 (Rodriguez 3, Irving 2, Spradling, Samuels, McGruder). Technical Fouls: None.

Oklahoma St.

33

25

58

Kansas St.

40

37

77

Att.–12,528. Officials–Rick Hartzell, Randy Heimerman, Keith Kimble.

Ojeleye gets his day

Victor Ojeleye had played in 86 games but never started at K-State. That changed against Oklahoma State.

Ojeleye, a walk-on forward, fought back tears before the game and considered hearing his name as a starter as a thrill he will remember the rest of his life.

“It was just an honor,” Ojeleye said. “I could not think of anything else but just being honored to be able to be out there and just be a part of what we are doing and have a different perspective out there. Whatever you can do to put it into words does not do it justice. I just am very thankful.”

Ojeleye kept his cool and scored K-State’s first basket on a jump shot. He finished with two points and two rebounds.

Super Spradling

Will Spradling played one of his better games with seven points and seven assists. The sophomore guard has struggled shooting at times, but he impacted the game in several ways Saturday.

“Will was really good today,” coach Frank Martin said. “I thought that he played the best game in three or four weeks. He gave us a lot of steady leadership on both ends of the floor.”

If not for picking up an early foul on Keiton Page, which limited his playing time to 22 minutes, he could have done much more.

“I had to eliminate some minutes from his game because of foul trouble,” Martin said. “But he was really good. He was engaged as he has been in a while.”

Worth noting

Rodney McGruder made 10 of 14 shots on his way to 24 points. He was particularly sharp from three-point range, where he made 4 of 6. He has scored more than 20 points in three of his past five games …. OSU came into Bramlage Coliseum without freshman star Le’Bryan Nash and left more banged up. Philip Jurick suffered a leg injury early that prevented him from returning and Markel Brown hurt his ankle. Coach Travis Ford was Jurick will not return in time to play in the Big 12 Tournament.… K-State’s Jeremy Jones saw action for the first time since late January. He had missed the past 10 games while recovering from a fractured bone in his ankle, but scored three points.

— Jamar Samuels wanted his senior-day ceremony to be perfect.

He wanted his mother, aunt and two brothers to walk with him to midcourt. To experience a loud ovation. To help him show Kansas State fans his appreciation.

The anticipation kept him from sleeping Friday night. Samuels, a part of five 20-win seasons, saw it as one of life’s most significant moments.

Then he learned, 15 minutes before tipoff, that flight delays were keeping his family from arriving to K-State’s 77-58 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday until halftime.

“It was one of those moments,” Samuels said later, shaking his head.

Such bad news would have derailed him in the past. But there is a reason why he said last week that, for the first time, he considers himself a man. He thinks he has matured since coming to K-State five years ago.

He stayed focused and had 17 points and 12 rebounds.

“From where he was at a year ago to where he is right now — let’s not even talk about his freshman year — it’s night and day,” K-State coach Frank Martin said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of somebody for the maturity and growth that he has shown in the last year.”

Samuels’ mother, Ernestine, hugged her son as he walked off the court. She said she fought back tears all afternoon.

“He has matured so much,” she said. “He’s still playful, but I think K-State is comforting to him, because it used to be so hard for him to be away from home. He looks at them as his second family. He didn’t know I was going to be late. I didn’t tell him. I was very nervous and cried a couple of times on the way here. I didn’t want to miss it. He handled it much better than I did.”

Behind his lead, the Wildcats handled things pretty well, too.

K-State answered a Keiton Page three-pointer at the beginning of the second half with 14 straight points to take a 54-36 lead.

The Wildcats have been known to ease up in that situation. Baylor, Iowa State and Texas all rallied to beat K-State in the final moments. The Cyclones and Longhorns rallied from double-digit deficits in the second half.

But the Wildcats apparently learned from those mistakes. After pulling ahead by 18, they stretched their lead to 22.

“Kansas State made a statement,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “And we just did not respond.”

The game was never again close, and Samuels and fellow senior Victor Ojeleye were able to celebrate a drama-free victory.

“They owed it to me and Victor to have a great second half and try to extend the lead,” Samuels said.

Rodney McGruder did most of the work to help the Wildcats pull away. The junior erupted for eight straight points in the second half and scored a game-high 24 points while playing quality defense on Page, who scored 22 after a hot start. Jordan Henriquez had 16 points and two blocks while Will Spradling contributed seven points and seven assists.

“We came out in the second half, we were better on defense and then obviously when you make shots, it helps remedy a lot of things,” Martin said. “We made shots because we moved and cut. We had 21 assists, that means guys, especially in the second half, are moving the ball.”

K-State (21-9, 10-8) finished the regular season two games above .500 in the league standings. It also allows them to head into the Big 12 Tournament with four wins in their last five games.

“It’s a stepping stone for us,” Ojeleye said. “A positive experience thing like this and going out and doing things really well and also seeing things we need to improve on really gives us momentum.”

Looking back, that’s all Samuels ever really wanted. He has no complaints. His senior-day ceremony didn’t go according to plan, but his final home game did.

Check Kellis Robinett’s K-Stated blog at blogs.kansas.com/kstated. Reach him at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com.

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