MANHATTAN — Kansas State defeated North Florida 74-55 on Sunday at Bramlage Coliseum behind 16 points from senior guard Rodney McGruder, a season-high for the preseason All-Big 12 selection.
BY TONY ADAME
The Wichita Eagle
Thomas Gipson added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats, while Adrian Diaz came off the bench with nine points and 10 rebounds. Nino Williams was the other K-State player in double figures with 10 points.
North Florida (1-2), a member of the Atlantic Sun, had several chances to cut the Wildcats’ lead to single digits in the first half but couldn’t convert baskets – K-State junior guard Will Spradling cut short a second-chance possession for the Ospreys by taking a charge with the Wildcats leading 26-15 and 7:48 left before halftime.
North Florida did finally get K-State’s lead under 10 with back-to-back three-pointers to make the score 30-21 with just under five minutes to play, but McGruder responded with a three of his own on K-State’s next possession and the Wildcats cruised into halftime ahead 40-26.
In the second half, K-State was able to put the game away fairly early, going up by 49-28 on a basket from McGruder just under five minutes in.
With the win over North Florida, K-State improved to 4-0 before heading to New York, where it will face Delaware on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in the Preseason NIT. The winner of the K-State-Delaware game will face the winner between Michigan and Pittsburgh on Friday.