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article imageNCAA: Kansas State Defeats Southern Miss, 70 to 64

By Paul Bright     Mar 15, 2012 in Sports
Pittsburgh - The 8th seeded Kansas State Wildcats continued their quest to possibly upset Syracuse by fending off an upset of their own.
The 8th seeded Kansas State Wildcats wanted to make sure they weren’t going to be the first upset victims of the NCAA basketball tournament. Thanks to Rodney McGruder’s shooting, they were able to fend off the feisty 9th seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 64 to 70.McGruder finished the game with 30 points on 11 of 17 shooting. He also buried 6 of 8 free throws. The Wildcat’s overall shooting was right at .500 even though they only hit 2 of 12 from beyond the arc. Both were made by McGruder. This is the third game this season that McGruder has topped 30 points. He's also notched 7 other games with at least 20.
The Golden Eagles, who finished the regular season at 25-8, played the Wildcats tough throughout the entire game.They were only down 27 to 30 at the half and even led by five at one point. But foul trouble and superb defense by the Wildcats' Jordan Henriquez ultimately led to their defeat by the 22-10 Kansas State Wildcats. Senior Darnell Dodson, who had 10 rebounds and 14 points, fouled out with 31 seconds left in the game. The Wildcats’ Angel Rodriguez hit both of his free throws and extended their lead by 6. Southern Miss Senior and fellow starter Angelo Johnson also fouled out. Neil Watson finished with 4 fouls and missed a 3-point jumper with three seconds left in the game. Henriquez recorded all six blocks for the Wildcats.
With this close game under their belts, Kansas State has a chance to pull of their own upset over the #1 seeded Syracuse Orangemen if they get past 16 seed UNC-Asheville tonight as expected. Some consider the Orangemen vulnerable now that they’ve lost their conference Defensive Player of the Year Fab Melo due to ineligibility.
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