MANHATTAN, Kan. - Rodney McGruder scored 22 points and Angel Rodriguez added 20 as No. 13 Kansas State knocked off Iowa State 79-70 to take sole possession of first place in the Big 12.
Korie Lucious led the Cyclones (16-7, 6-4) with 16 points and reserve Tyrus McGee had 15.
The Wildcats (19-4, 8-2) held a slim 33-32 lead at the break in a game that remained close most of the way.
After Ejim reversed Kansas State's halftime lead, McGruder scored on a slashing layup and drew a foul against Lucious. With three fouls, Lucious -- who led Iowa State with 10 points in the first half -- went to the bench and did not score again until only 1:33 remained in the game.
A bucket by Thomas Gipson gave Kansas State a 38-34 lead before Georges Niang and Will Clyburn each hit a bucket to give Iowa State a 39-38 lead.
An 8-0 spurt that included a 3 by Shane Southwell, free throws by Gipson and a 3 by Will Spradling put the Wildcats in front 46-39.
The breathing room did not last long.
The gap narrowed again when McGee hit a pair of baskets to bring the Cyclones within 46-44, and after Rodriguez and Gipson scored for the Wildcats, McGee hit a pair of 3s.
With the game tied at 50, Martavious Irving responded with his first 3 of the game, kicking off a 15-5 run for the Wildcats. McGruder slashed to the rim, Irving hit another 3 and then McGruder nailed a 3 of his own.
With 9:10 remaining, Kansas State led 61-52. In response to a pair of Iowa State baskets, Gipson and Rodriguez both scored and put the Wildcats up 65-55 -- the first double-digit lead of the game.
From there, Kansas State began to pull away.
A 3 by Rodriguez and a three-point play by Gipson put the Wildcats up 71-57 with 4:53 to play. Consecutive 3s by Lucious pulled the Cyclones within seven with under a minute to play, but Iowa State could not stop Kansas State from scoring.
The final score reflected how the game began, as the Wildcats leapt out to an early 11-2 lead. After a Kansas State turnover, Chris Babb sank an open 3, bringing Iowa State within 11-5.
A three-point play by Ejim a few possessions later cut the deficit to 16-10. After Gipson made one of two free throws, Iowa State kicked into high gear. Living up to their identity as a 3-point shooting team, the Cyclones went on a 16-2 tear that began with a 3 by Lucious. After he knocked down a pair of free throws, three more 3s gave the Cyclones a 26-19 lead with 7:02 to go before halftime.
The Wildcats responded with a 9-0 run of their own. McGruder and Southwell each hit a 3-pointer to bring Kansas State within 28-25. A slashing layup in transition by Rodriguez made it a one-point game. A pair of free throws by Irving gave the Wildcats the lead once again, 29-28.
Kansas State went up by four after a tip-in by Southwell, but Iowa State scored back-to-back baskets, and the Cyclones led 32-31. A layup rolled in for Irving and gave the Wildcats a one-point lead at halftime.