• Key play: Rodney McGruder hit a three-pointer moments after Iowa State had taken a 24-15 lead. The basket led to a 12-2 run.
• Key stat: Six different K-State players scored.
• Key play: Will Clyburn grabbed an offensive rebound and got the ball to Georges Niang, who made a three that put Iowa State up 68-62 in the closing moments.
• Key stat: Clyburn scored 17 points in the second half.
Spradling bounces back
No one on K-States roster was more frustrated after losing to Kansas on Tuesday than Will Spradling. The junior guard was held scoreless, and spent the next two days in the Wildcats practice facility, working on his shot. The work paid off on Saturday when he made four three-pointers and scored 15 points. I felt like I had open shots against KU that just werent falling, Spradling said. Coach got me in the gym and was working with me on my shot, trying to get it back to where it was. Coming into the game it felt good. I was just letting it fly.
• Freshman forward D.J. Johnson played a larger role than usual, receiving 20 minutes of action. He scored four points, grabbed two rebounds and blocked a shot. Weber liked the way he matched up with Iowa State. He is quicker, more athletic. He plays hard, Weber said. We gave him a chance, and he took advantage of it.
• Kansas State earned its highest ranking in three years last week when it won eight straight games and rose to No. 11 in The Associated Press poll. But the Wildcats will fall in the top 25 now that they have lost two in a row. Likely to the 20-25 range. But K-State coach Bruce Weber isnt worried about that. He simply wants them to respond well in their next game. We just kept winning. You cant do anything about it, Weber said. "The expectations of fans and people around you change. Maybe we didnt deal with it. Now we had a reality smack, and we have to get back at it. We have got to get back to where we were and do the things that give us a chance.
• Both teams shot well from the outside, but struggled from the free-throw line. K-State made seven of 19 shots from beyond the arc and four of nine from the free-throw line. Iowa State made 11 off 22 threes and 10 of 22 from the foul line.
• One of the games defining plays occurred in the second half, when K-States Angel Rodriguez tried to deflect a pass off Will Clyburn while he was falling out of bounds. But the ball never rolled out of bounds. It skirted up the sideline, and Melvin Ejim ended up getting a crowd-pleasing dunk that put Iowa State ahead 63-56. Sometimes the ball bounces your way, Weber said. Sometimes it doesnt.
• The first half ended in bizarre fashion, when D.J. Johnson fouled Chris Babb as Babb tried to make a layup as time expired. Babb lined up to attempt two free throws with less than a second remaining, but Weber argued Johnsons foul was committed after the half ended. A lengthy discussion ensued, and the officials decided to let Babb shoot from the free-throw line because he was fouled in the act of shooting, while time remained on the clock.
| Kellis Robinett, email@example.com