The regular season is on its final leg. We are approaching the time of year that matters most, and the Wildcats couldn’t be playing better.
In a conference where road wins are at a premium, K-State marched into Austin, Texas and completely shut down the Longhorns. Despite struggling on the boards early, the Wildcats kept Texas within reach in the first half. Once the clock started in the second, it was all KSU.
Jacob Pullen scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, and led his team’s defensive attack. When taking on a team of Texas’ stature, however, you must have help from your teammates. Curtis Kelly and Rodney McGruder couldn’t have been better.
McGruder produced a team-high 22 points, while draining four three pointers. He also responded to his team’s rebounding struggles by grabbing five key boards. Kelly eventually fouled out, but before doing so, managed a stellar 16 points and 8 rebounds to go with his 5 blocked shots.
Freshman guard Shane Southwell also impressed. Faced with the task of shuttin down Texas superstar Jordan Hamilton, Southwell responded in a big way. The Wildcat combo-guard handcuffed Hamilton, forcing a 5-18 effort from the field.
The Wildcats were also faced with answering the offensive attack of Tristan Thompson. The Longhorn’s freshman scored 18 in the first half. Eventually, the Wildcats found a way to slow the offense down and force him out of his comfort zone. The Cats held him to eight second half points, while attacking him offensively and forcing him into foul trouble.
Just two weeks ago, the Wildcats were heading into a Big Monday with rival Kansas. They were fresh off a devastating loss at Colorado, and many feared they would be taking their talents to the NIT. Now, the Cats have won seven of their last eight and are clearly one of the most dangerous teams in the country.
In a season that was nearly left for dead, Kansas State basketball appears poised to play themselves right back into the Elite Eight.
About the Author
Written by Shaun Albin