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Pullen Nets 26, Sets Record in Win

By Mark Janssen

Yes, Jacob Pullen's shooting stroke is OK.
 
He demonstrated that Monday night by pouring home a season-high 26 points in K-State's 85-61 victory over Emporia State University in Bramlage Coliseum.

"Brad (Underwood, assistant coach) told me to look to score the ball a little bit and it would open up everyone else. He said I've been more concerned about setting everyone else up instead of me scoring the ball, which is what I do best," said Pullen, who entered the game a 39 percent shooter overall and 34 percent from long range. "I was just trying to take what the defense was giving me and not try to force the issue."
 
On Pullen's game, Rodney McGruder, who authored 17 points, said of his teammate, "He took some tough shots and made them, he took wide open shots and made them. He just had a great shooting night."
 
For the fourth time in his career, Pullen scored 20 points in a half, as he also became KSU's all-time 3-point king with four treys in the first half to push his career total to 241, one more than Steve Henson.
 
Pullen would only say of the record, "I didn't know anything about it. It was a win. I'll deal with the records at the end of the season."
 
Martin added of Pullen's play, "He takes pride in his play and he knew he hadn't been practicing well, or playing well going into Kansas City. But he came back from Kansas City understanding he needed to get better with his practice habits, and he has. He's back to being the guy we had the first two weeks of the season as far as him demanding the other guys to do their job, and him doing his. He reacted the way you trust your senior guys to react."
 
The visitors played even with K-State through five minutes, trailing 12-11, but Freddy Asprilla hit a follow shot, and then Pullen a 3-ball to ignite a 19-2 run. During the flurry, Pullen and McGruder each had a pair of treys.
 
"I think offensively we did some good things. We turned some defense into offense, which we like to do," said Pullen. "But we can be better. We need to get all five guys on the same page as far as running offense."
 
Five early second-half points by McGruder kept the Wildcats in a significant lead in a half that K-State would win, 39-34.

PULLEN NOTES:
• Pullen's 26 points moved him past the 1,600-point mark in his career with 1,618. Pullen is the first to score at least 1,600 points in a career since Askia Jones in 1994.
• Pullen's other three 20-point halves were against BYU in last year's NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, plus road games last year at Texas Tech and Alabama. All of the point explosions came in the first half of games.
• Pullen now ranks sixth in all-time scoring and is just 43 points behind Steve Henson's total of 1,655.
• Pullen ranks among the Top 18 in 18 career categories for the Wildcats, which includes 11 in the Top 5 in K-State history.

STAR OF THE GAME (not named Pullen): Freddy Asprilla scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, plus grabbed eight boards, with five of those coming on the offensive end. Asprilla also had three assists, two blocked shots and no turnovers.
 
Instead of talking about Asprilla's offensive game, however, Martin called his 6-foot-10 junior his best inside defender.
 
"He's used to conserving energy on the defensive end for the offensive end," Martin said. "Now he's trying to utilize energy on the defensive end, and then sustaining energy to play on the offensive end."

SUB OF THE GAME: Jamar Samuels came off the bench to score eight points on 4-of-6 shooting. Samuels also had six rebounds, an assist, one blocked shot and one steal.

STAT OF THE GAME: The Wildcats can hit from two- and 3-point range, but it is that one-point stripe that continues to give them fits. A 53 percent free throw shooting team entering the game, K-State netted just 2-of-8 in the first half, but warmed to 8-of-13 for the second half for a game total of 10-of-21.

BLOCK PARTY: K-State rejected nine Emporia State shots. Jordan Henriquez-Roberts had three blocks, Freddy Asprilla two, while with one each were  Jacob Pullen, Jamar Samuels, Nino Williams and Rodney McGruder.

SCHOOL RECORD: The win was K-State's sixth for the month of November, which set a school record for victories in the Turkey month. K-State had five wins in four other years, which included the last three. The other was in 1998-99.

BIG 12 NOTES:
• Heading into Monday night, Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri and Baylor were all unbeaten, while K-State, O-State, Texas and Texas A&M each had only one loss.
• In the national rankings, KU is No. 4, K-State No. 5, MU No. 9, BU No. 11 and Texas No. 19.
• The Big 12 has a 104-game win streak in non-conference games played at home.

UP NEXT: Kansas State hits the road for the Big 12-Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The Wildcats play on Friday at Washington State with a 10 p.m. tipoff (Central time).