MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Rodney McGruder had 16 points and three rebounds to lead Kansas State to a 74-55 win over North Florida on Sunday afternoon.
Playing a team they nearly lost to a year ago, the Wildcats still looked like a better squad. Despite needing overtime to beat the Ospreys last season, the contest was never in serious doubt this time around.Kansas State (4-0) opened the game on a 12-4 run with six points each from McGruder and Nino Williams, and led 16-6 with 13:23 to play in the first half. A 7-2 run helped the Wildcats go-ahead 23-9 as the game went under 10 minutes to play in the half.North Florida (1-3) made a run back into the contest from that point, outscoring Kansas State 6-2 to pull within 10 points at 25-15.The Wildcats got out ahead 30-15 with a monstrous put-back dunk from Adrian Diaz, but North Florida got back-to-back 3-pointers from Jerron Granberry and David Jeune to cut the lead to 30-21.The Ospreys looked for shots from long range from that point on, but didn't make another until the final 20 seconds of the half. They were 3 of 11 from 3-point range in the half.McGruder hit a 3-pointer, the only of the half for the Wildcats, to push the lead out to 12 points with 4:31 to play. Thomas Gipson scored five points in a 7-2 run for Kansas State before the end of the half.McGruder led all scorers with nine points in the first half and Kansas State led 40-26 at halftime.North Florida faced a 14-point deficit to start the half, and quickly cut it to 12. But the Wildcats took over from there. With a 9-0 run led by five points from McGruder, Kansas State pushed its lead to 49-28.North Florida got the game back down to a 51-33 deficit, but Will Spradling hit a 3-pointer with 14:25 left, and Adrian Diaz followed with a pair of free throws to push the lead out to 23 points.After the Ospreys cut the lead to 20, the Wildcats blew the game open with an 11-1 run sparked by a big dunk from Jordan Henriquez, and a 3-pointer from Omari Lawrence.With the Kansas State starters on the bench, North Florida used a late 12-1 run to cut the deficit to less than 20 points. Neither team scored in the final three minutes of the game.Beau Beech led North Florida with 15 points and seven rebounds.