NCAA Tournament

K-State notebook: Spradling finds some offense

First half Key play:

Kris Joseph made a reverse layup that got Syracuse going after the Orange fell behind 9-2.

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Key stat:

K-State made just eight of 34 shots in the half.

Second half

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Key play:

The Orange really started to pull away when James Southerland made a three-pointer that put Syracuse ahead 55-42.

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Key stat:

Syracuse made all five of its three-point attempts after halftime.

Spradling finds some offense

The offensive touch that went missing for K-State sophomore guard Will Spradling came back against Syracuse.

He scored 10 points on four-of-11 shooting in the loss to the Orange, his first double-digit performance since a Feb. 13 loss to Kansas in Manhattan. Spradling also hit two three-pointers.

Spradling struggled on offense for most of the season, shooting just 36 percent from the field.

“I still probably wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been,” Spradling said. “They were playing a zone that was real similar to the one Baylor plays; we just couldn’t find the right ways to attack it.”

Even with his respectable outing, Spradling’s offensive production may have been hampered when K-State leading scorer Rodney McGruder rolled an ankle in the first half.

“You could tell (McGruder) wasn’t as explosive,” Spradling said. “He creates so much off the dribble and with how he elevates and draws the defense in. It opens up stuff for everybody.”

• Kansas State played man defense against Syracuse, something that Orange point guard Scoop Jardine said surprised him.

“That was the first time we’ve seen a team try to play us man-to-man for awhile,” said Jardine, who had 16 points and eight assists. “I think when we saw that our eyes kind of lit up.”

• Saturday’s win over Kansas State was the 47th career NCAA Tournament victory for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, tying him with UCLA’s John Wooden for fifth on the all-time list.

“There’s a big difference,” said Boeheim, in his 36th season with Syracuse. “He did it in like 10 years and it took me almost 40.”

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