PITTSBURGH, March 15 (UPI) -- Rodney McGruder poured in 30 points in helping Kansas State survive with a 70-64 win over Southern Mississippi in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats (22-10) play in the third round Saturday against East Region No. 1-seed Syracuse (32-2). The Orange just got past No. 16 North Carolina-Asheville 72-65in its second-round game Thursday. Southern Mississippi's season ends with a 25-9 record.
McGruder, who averaged 15 points a game this season, had 18 points in the first half as Kansas State took a 30-27 lead into the break.
The score was 51-51 with 7:40 to go when Kansas State scored seven consecutive points, a run that included a jumper by McGruder.
The Golden Eagles were able to make it a one-possession game, but Kansas State put the game away with a series of free throws, including five by Angel Rodriguez in the final 58 seconds.
McGruder's 30 points came on 11-of-17 shooting from the floor. Jordan Henriquez chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds and Rodriguez had 13 points for the Wildcats.
Neil Watson paced the Golden Eagles' attack with 16 points. LaShay Page added 15 and Darnell Dodson 14 for Southern Mississippi.