HONOLULU – Rodney McGruder scored a career-best 28 points and Kansas State used a big first-half run to beat Long Beach State 77-60 on Sunday and win the Diamond Head Classic.
McGruder finished 10 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. He also went 6 of 7 from the line.
Will Spradling added 17 points for the Wildcats (10-1).
Larry Anderson and Casper Ware each scored 17 points for the 49ers (7-6), coached by former Gonzaga University coach Dan Monson.
The Wildcats went on a 29-13 run for a 38-22 lead with 2:27 left in the first half. McGruder had eight points, including two 3-pointers, during the surge.
In the first half, the Wildcats shot 17 of 33, forced 10 turnovers and outscored the 49ers 22-10 in the paint.
Spradling’s 3-pointer gave Kansas State its biggest lead at 49-31 with 15:43 remaining. Long Beach State got as close as 62-52 with 6:41 to play.
McGruder was hot all night and made several key shots in the second half as well. After beginning the tournament with two subpar games by his standards, he guided the Wildcats when it mattered most.
While McGruder was quiet early in this tournament, freshman guard Angel Rodriguez had two big games and led K-State in scoring on back-to-back nights en route to the Wildcats’ first tournament title since the 2006 Las Vegas Holiday Classic.
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