KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This town may not make it through Saturday night.The matchup everyone in Kansas City wanted to see — at least those fans of Kansas and Kansas State — happens at 5 p.m. today.Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State 68-57 in front of a record Big 12 tournament crowd of 19,160 at the Sprint Center late Friday, setting up a showdown between the Wildcats and in-state rival Kansas.Rodney McGruder led No. 11 KSU with 25 points, including 18 in the second half, as the Wildcats pulled away. The Cowboys never found their shooting touch and finished 30 percent from the field. Former Flower Mound Marcus High School star Marcus Smart led the Cowboys (24-8) with 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting and six rebounds. Dallas Lincoln ex Le’Bryan Nash had 11 points for OSU.KU defeated K-State twice during the regular season, including a 21-point blowout Feb. 11 in Lawrence, Kan.“Whatever happened in the regular season is done and over, this is a new journey,” said KSU guard Angel Rodridguez, who had 17 points and four assists, during a television interview after the game. “But it’s definitely a motivation to play them and compete against them and have a chance to win the Big 12.”Oklahoma State fought back from an early 7-2 deficit with a 9-0 run to take an 11-9 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half as former Marcus High School teammates Phil Forte and Smart heated up from outside. Forte’s 3-pointer snapped a three-minute scoring drought for the Cowboys, and Smart sank two consecutive shots from 3-point range before Nino Williams’ layup gave the Cowboys their first lead. But Kansas State came right back with a run of its own as both teams struggled to score. The Wildcats outscored the Cowboys 16-8 the final 6:23 to lead 28-23 at the half.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs