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Player Ratings: Will Spradling regains shooting touch, but K-State big men come up short in 73-67 loss at Iowa State

Struggling to grab rebounds and failing to play defense is a combination that rarely leads to victory.

K-State learned that lesson during a 73-67 loss to Iowa State on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Even with the Wildcats making 50.9 percent of their shots and leading at halftime, they couldn’t overcome getting out-rebounded and allowing 18 second-chance points.

The game was close from the get-go, but Iowa State was able to use its advantage inside and come up with key plays when it mattered most.

No. 11 K-State has now lost back-to-back games for the first time under Bruce Weber. It will likely drop to the 20-25 range when the national polls are released on Monday. More importantly, it dropped into a tie for third in the Big 12 standings at 4-2. Kansas is leading the way at 6-0, Baylor is 5-1 and Oklahoma, Iowa State and K-State are all in third.

The next week will be important. K-State will be favored against struggling Texas on Wednesday, but face a difficult rematch game at Oklahoma on Saturday. For now, though, let’s look back with another edition of player ratings.

Will Spradling – 8.5: Going scoreless against Kansas didn’t sit well with Spradling, and, to his credit, he did something about the poor outing. The junior guard spent the majority of the last few days in K-State’s practice facility improving his shot. He put up too many jumpers to count, and that work paid off with a 15-point effort at Iowa State. He made four three-pointers, including one he converted into a four-point play following a foul, and also hit a nifty reverse layup in the early moments. Spradling has been up-and-down this season, but he hopes a game like this can serve as a first step toward consistency.Last game: 3. Average: 6.3.

Rodney McGruder – 7: He was strong in transition, slipping away behind the defense for uncontested dunks and fighting past defenders for layups, but only OK in most other areas. He finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, which is solid. But he also had four turnovers and went 0 for 3 from the free-throw line. He is drawing serious defensive attention right now. His challenge in upcoming games will be figuring out how to score 20+ points against it.Last game: 7.5. Average: 8.5. (more…)