MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State opened the 2012-13 season with a win, defeating North Dakota, 85-53. The Wildcats (1-0) had four players finish with double-digit scoring figures led by Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson who scored 13 points apiece. Along with Rodriguez and Gipson, Martavious Irving (11) and Will Spradling (10) finished in double digits.
Both teams traded baskets in the opening half, with neither team able to build a lead bigger than four points. After a layup by North Dakota’s Jordan Allard made the score 11-10 in favor of the Wildcats, K-State used an 11-3 run capped off by a Shane Southwell jumper to build its lead to 22-13. UND would use a run of its own, this time at 12-6, to make the score 28-25, with a five minutes left in the opening half. K-State would score more points in the half to go into the break holding a 36-27 advantage. Gipson scored eight of his points in the half to pace all scorers as K-State shot 35.3 percent in the opening stanza.
In the second half, the Wildcats broke the score open with a game changing 16-7 run capped off by a thunderous one-handed alley-oop dunk by Jordan Henriquez to put the game away early in the half. The run was started by Rodriguez who scored eight straight points including two 3-pointers. K-State would go on to build its lead to as many as 35 points as the Wildcats used its depth to wear down the visiting team. The home team finished night shooting 29-of-66 (43.9 percent) along with 20-of-28 (71.4 percent) from the free-throw line.
Bench depth proved to be a difference maker, as the K-State reserves outscored the UND bench, 45-18. The Wildcats also showed its prowess on the boards, pulling down 48 rebounds to just 35 for UND.
The Wildcats are back in action on Monday, as they host Lamar in the first game of the Midwest Regional of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and will be followed by Alabama-Huntsville vs. North Texas with a scheduled tip-off time of 9:30 p.m.