Junior guard Rodney McGruder scored a game-best 30 points Thursday, to help the No. 9 seeded Kansas St. Wildcats defeat the No. 8 Southern Miss. Golden Eagles, 64-59, in a NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East region contest at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Wildcats (22-10) advance to the Round of 32 to face the winner of No. 1 Syracuse Orange and No. 16 UNC-Asheville Bulldogs on Saturday. No No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed, since the field expanded to 64 teams.
It was a back-and-forth contest, which featured KSU trailing 45-44 with 11:41 to play in the game, but used a small 7-2 run to take a lead it never lose.
Freshman guard Angel Rodriguez scored seven of his 13 points, including shooting 5-for-6 from the free-throw line, in the final few minutes to cement the victory. Junior forward Jordan Henriquez added 15 points and a team-best nine rebounds.
The Golden Eagles finish their season 25-9 overall, and were paced by sophomore guard Neil Watson who scored 16 points.