Oklahoma State Kansas State

No. 25 Kansas State outlasts No. 22 Oklahoma State in Big 12 battle

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No. 6 Kansas in the best team in the Big 12. Good luck finding someone who wholeheartedly thinks anything different.

But after the Jayhawks, the conference’s waters are murky.

Saturday’s 73-67 win for No. 25 Kansas State over No. 22 Oklahoma State might have helped to clear things up.

Rodney McGruder scored 28 points, bouncing back from a 1-of-6 shooting performance in the first half to carry the Wildcats to victory in the second.

Kansas State trailed by two points at halftime and by as many as four in the second half, but cracks in the Oklahoma State defense allowed the Wildcats to climb back.

Star Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart picked up his second and third fouls in the early minutes of the second half, in part allowing McGruder to change the course of his game Saturday.

McGruder started 6-of-6 from the floor in the second and, paired with Nino Williams off the bench, was too much for Oklahoma State. Williams finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.

As McGruder got things going off the dribble getting to the basket and on the perimeter, Kansas State also worked the ball inside. Williams scored nine straight points over the course of three minutes in the middle of the second half to extend the lead to five points.

Oklahoma State pulled to within two points with under three minutes remaining and tied the game with 2:20 to go, but McGruder struck again.

Drifting out toward the three-point line, McGruder got open for three and knocked it down. On the next possession, he side-stepped off a screen and hit another, extending the lead to five points with 1:43 remaining.

Oklahoma State’s offensive production on Saturday was centered in the backcourt with freshman Marcus Smart and junior Markel Brown. The two combined for 44 of the Cowboys’ 67 points, Smart with 25 and Brown with 19.

Without Smart and Brown, the Cowboys shot just 25 percent (6-of-24) from the field.

Kansas State now has victories over two ranked teams, this Oklahoma State team and then-No. 8 Florida.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.