Welcome back Jordan Henriquez.
The 7-foot senior was lost for a lot of the season and Wildcat fans were hoping for the big man they saw during March of 2012. He isn't to that level yet but he was darn near close in a 68-57 win over Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
Henriquez finished with 11 rebounds and eight points against the Cowboys. Most of that was muted by a follow up performance from Rodney McGruder that was better than the previous night. The senior shooting guard had 25 points, nine boards and guided the 'Cats over the 'Pokes.
It was the kind of performance you were hoping you'd see from mcGruder. He has been special all season but after one big night, you never know what the next night holds. McGruder is anything but inconsistent.
"This was one of his better games," K-State head coach Bruce Weber said. "He was a little frustrated, he thought the guys missed him for open looks, but he plays 38, 39 minutes a game - we try to rest him a little each bit here and there but it is amazing how consistent he is."
Same goes for Angel Rodriguez. The point guard had 17 points, most coming in the second half and won the battle over Marcus Smart - even if he did outscore Rodriguez.
The win was another step in for K-State to separate from the share of the Big 12 regular season title with KU. Saturday's title game will put an end to that, at least for this year.
They wanted revenge over Oklahoma State (Markel Brown decided against the pregame fistpump) and they got it, but now it waits for them with Kansas. The Jayhawks swept both Sunflower Showdowns during the regular season but if K-State were to win the Big 12 Tournament title over Kansas, it might wipe those losses from memory.
Bruce Weber said the enjoyment from the win is already gone, basically wiping it from memory walking off the court. He said they were going right to the hotel for film study and tucking the guys into bed early to rest up for the Jayhawks.
"Now you get a chance," Weber said at the podium. "We're conference co¿champs, and now you get a chance to play the team that tied you in a big game for the tournament"
They will need it.