3/15/2012 2:44:25 PM
Jordan Henriquez supplied 15 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for
the Wildcats (22-10), who are the eighth seed in the East Region and will
next face Syracuse on Saturday.
"I thought defensively, I couldn't be prouder of the way we played," said
Kansas State head coach Frank Martin. "Our offense got stagnant in certain
stretches of the game. But defensively I thought we played well."
Angel Rodriguez contributed 13 points and four assists in the win.
Neil Watson had 16 points to pace Southern Miss (25-9), which was making
just its third tourney appearance and first in 21 years. LaShay Page chipped
in 15 points, while Darnell Dodson posted a double-double of 14 points -- all
coming in the second half -- with 10 rebounds.
Both teams were horrendous shooting the ball early, as a Martavious
Irving jumper put K-State up 10-3 nearly eight minutes into the contest.
The Golden Eagles were down 21-12 before grabbing their first lead following
a 13-2 run. Watson sank two free throws and Southern Miss led 25-23 with
four-plus minutes left in the first half.
K-State closed out the frame on a 7-2 spurt. McGruder, the Wildcats'
leading scorer (15.4), exceeded his season average with 18 points over the
opening 20 minutes.
Following the break, Southern Miss went up 45-40 on a three-pointer by
Dodson. The Wildcats, though, eventually built a seven-point lead as a
Thomas Gipson free throw made it 58-51 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Golden Eagles stayed close and were within 64-61 after a K-State
turnover and breakaway layup by Watson with 1:14 left.
Rodriguez sealed the win at the foul line, draining 3-of-4 free
throws sandwiched around a missed three-pointer by Dodson from the right
"We just didn't make the plays. We didn't execute the things we needed to do,
particularly in critical situations," said Southern Miss head coach Larry
Kansas State is making its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Wildcats lost to Wisconsin in the third round last year...Kansas
State improved to 4-3 all-time against Southern Miss...The Golden Eagles
received their highest-ever seeding this year at No. 9...K-State shot 50
percent from the floor, compared to 36.7 percent for Southern Miss...The
Golden Eagles made 8-of-23 three-pointers...The Wildcats outscored Southern
Miss 26-12 at the foul line.