Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - Rodney McGruder recorded 22 points, five assists and four steals and Angel Rodriguez scored 20 points to lead No. 13 Kansas State to a 79-70 win over Iowa State on Saturday.
Thomas Gipson and Martavious Irving scored 16 and 10 points off the bench, respectively, for Kansas State (19-4, 8-2 Big 12), which has won four straight games and is now alone at the top of the Big 12 conference standings after Kansas' loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.
"It feels good, but it is not the end of the Big 12 yet, we can't really think about that," McGruder said. "You have to go out and play every night. I know we have the target on our backs, and everyone wants to be in first, so we have to go out every night and compete."
Korie Lucious had a team-high 16 points, while Melvin Ejim recorded a double- double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for Iowa State (16-7, 6-4), who came into this game off a win against Oklahoma on Monday. Tyrus McGee scored 15 points off the bench on 6-of-8 shooting.
Tied at 50-50 with 12:21 remaining in the second half, Irving made a three to give the Wildcats the lead for the rest of the game.
Ejim responded back with a dunk to put Iowa State within one, but Kansas State went on an 8-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer by McGruder to give them a 61-52 advantage with just over nine minutes left to play.
McGee's layup and Georges Niang's free throw cut the deficit to 61-55 with 8:08 remaining, but Iowa State only scored five points over the next five minutes. Meanwhile, Kansas State put the game out of reach, as Rodriguez and Gipson combined to score 10 points and give the Wildcats a 71-60 lead.
Rodriguez and McGruder combined for eight straight free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes.
"We kind of let the game get away from us late in the second half," Ejim said. "We were right there, especially at halftime, we were right where we wanted to be. They put a couple runs together, we couldn't get some stops, and they kind of just ran away with it."
The Wildcats started the game strong as they had an 11-2 lead just over five minutes into the game. Iowa State fought back though, with a 24-8 run over the next seven minutes, including three treys by Chris Babb, and the Cyclones held a 26-19 margin.
Kansas State responded back, outscoring Iowa State 14-6 in the final six minutes, giving them a 33-32 edge at halftime.
Kansas State snapped a three-game losing streak against Iowa State ... The last time Kansas State had two players score 20 or more points in a game was against Texas on Feb. 28, 2011 ... The Wildcats are 13-1 at home this season.