Texas Southern center Kyrie Sutton (12) beats Kansas State forward Adrian Diaz (20) and guard Omari Lawrence (12) to a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Rodney McGruder scored 26 points and Thomas Gipson added 14 points and 12 rebounds as Kansas State defeated Texas Southern 78-69 on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (8-2) could never shake the Tigers (1-10), who trailed by just six points with 1:13 remaining. But four free throws in the final 35 seconds protected Kansas State's lead.
Ray Penn had 24 points for Texas Southern, and Omar Strong and Madarious Gibbs added 13 points each.
A 7-0 run by the Wildcats _ five of the points were by McGruder _ gave them a 46-36 lead with 15:03 remaining. It was the first double-digit advantage of the game.
The lead grew to 53-38 with 12 minutes to play. But Texas Southern went on a 10-2 spurt that included 3-pointers by Penn and Gibbs.
With 7:40 left, Texas Southern trailed 55-48 and hung in until the final minute.