The Valentine’s Day Massacre in Manhattan, Kansas is complete. Led by Jacob Pullen’s scoring barrage, the Jayhawks reign as #1 ended the same day it began.
Up to this point, Kansas State had been an enigma. The expectations entering the season were sky high. Star guard Jacob Pullen let the world know the Big 12 championship would go through Manhattan. Then, the team struggled through the first half of their conference season and saw all the early hype fly out the window. Many prognosticators have placed the Cats squarely on the bubble. Now, K-State has found a way to push forward. Once again, they are making a late season push to improve their tournament standing.
Tonight, Pullen simply couldn’t miss. The Preseason All-American drained early threes, and even managed to find the charity stripe 19 times. Pullen poured in 5 three pointers, while scoring a career high 38 points.
Helping throughout, was the effort of reserve center Jordan Henriquez-Roberts. JHR showed up in a big way as he managed to shoot 5-7 from the field to produce 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Early, it appeared the Jayhawks simply weren’t up to the challenge. Both Morris brothers found themselves in foul trouble in the first half, while playing catch up from what felt like the opening tip. Despite Tyrel Reed’s best effort (14 points, 4 assists, 3 steals), they Jayhawks simply had no answer to the suddenly explosive Wildcat offense.
K-State shot 56.3% from the field and made 24-29 free-throws as they stormed passed the Jayhawks and never let up.
If KSU wants to make this win matter though, they will have to erase the memory of this game immediately and prepare themselves for a resurgent Oklahoma Sooners squad that comes to the Little Apple on Saturday. This team has officially given themselves a chance to get back into good standing with the selection committee, now they must finish.
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Written by Shaun Albin