By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - For the first time in quite some time, Kansas State played with a smile, even coach Frank Martin at least grinned a couple times.
Yes, the Wildcats had fun as they dismantled Texas Tech 94-60 in Bramlage Coliseum on "Legends Day."
Taking the blame for K-State's 3-3 record the last three weeks, Martin said, "That's on me. I've done a bad job of coaching. I did a pretty good job early, but then I let this team down and that's not going to happen again."
Before the first media timeout, Jacob Pullen had hit a pair of threes, and Jamar Samuels had scored four points for a 10-4 K-State, lead playing an ultra up-tempo type of game.
"That's how we play. We attack people, we run and we share the ball," Martin said. "I have failed this team and that's not going to happen again. I haven't done my job the right way, so they have played like I have allowed them to play."
During the middle minutes of the first half, K-State scored on 10 of 11 possessions, which included 3-balls by Samuels and Rodney McGruder as the Wildcats went on a 22-7 tear to officially put the game away.
K-State would end the game with a glossy stat line of 53 percent shooting overall, 59 percent from long range, 81 percent from the foul line and a 44-18 advantage on the boards. The Wildcats had 25 assists for their 34 field goals.
Overall, Martin said, "We needed to get back to doing things our way, and that's what we did. I enjoyed the heck out of the team that played tonight.
"We haven't played with that enthusiasm and energy since I would say Gonzaga," Martin said of Kansas State's 81-64 win on Nov. 22, in Kansas City.
Of K-State's practices on Thursday and Friday, the Wildcat coach offered, "You ask the guys, but we had the old Frank back. If we were going to change and get better, it had to start with me."
After a six-game suspension, Curtis Kelly returned with 12 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
"It gives us our team," coach Frank Martin said of Kelly's return. "But it wasn't just him. The lift was a group of guys committed to doing things a certain way, and the way we've done them around here."
Tech coach Pat Knight offered, "They got their big guy back. He's a threat inside, outside and rebounding. He's a guy who can get a double-double any night."
Martin said that Kelly's focus has been good, and added, "I told him, 'I ain't getting off you. I'm going to push you harder than you've ever been pushed because we're going to finish this senior year the way you deserve to finish it.' He's one of our guys."
Star of the Game
Rodney McGruder had a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Wildcat sophomore hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
"Rodney's young and makes a ton of mistakes, but he has a heart the size of this building," said Martin. "He takes an unbelievable amount of pride in doing what we ask him to do as coaches. I love coaching guys like Rodney McGruder."
Co-starring with 20-point efforts were Jamar Samuels (22) and Jacob Pullen (21).
Stat of the Game
K-State's first half was near letter-perfect. In posting a 52-26 lead, K-State shot 54 percent from the field, 54 percent from 3-point range and 87 percent from the foul line. In addition, the Wildcats had 16 assists that led to the 19 field goals and committed just four turnovers.
At the half, Jamar Samuels had 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, and Jacob Pullen had 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Stat of the Game II
K-State out-rebounded Texas Tech, 44-18, which included a 17-4 advantage on offensive boards.
On a Tear
In Jacob Pullen's last four games, he has scored 87 points on 27-of-53 shooting, which includes 10-of-26 from 3-point range, plus 23-of-29 from the foul line.
He also has 18 assists to 8 turnovers since his suspension.
Against Tech, Pullen had 21 points, two rebounds, five assists, one blocked shot, one steal and no turnovers.
Quote of the Game
Pat Knight on a brief visit with Jacob Pullen after the game: "I got on him a little bit that he was too good of a player to allow this team to get off to a 0-2 start. But he, and the team, played with a lot of intensity tonight. I warned our guys that they had lost some games they shouldn't have lost, and they were going to come at us hard."
Asprilla Leaves Team
K-State announced prior to the game that Freddy Asprilla had left the team. Frank Martin said he learned of Asprilla's decision Friday night.
"After discussions with Freddy, we have come to a mutual decision that we feel is in his best interest," said Martin. "I expect him to explore professional playing opportunities in his home country (Colombia). We appreciate his efforts this season and wish him the best of luck in the future."
Asprilla played in 16 of K-State's 17 games, averaging 4.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 16.3 minutes per game. Asprilla started 13 games.
• Getting his first K-State start was Shane Southwell. He responded with five points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in 30 minutes of play.
"He's grown from being a happy-go-lucky kid to someone who started practicing consistently and well before the Oklahoma State game, and that's continued," Martin said. "I should have been playing him, but I wasn't doing my job the right way. We lost two consecutive conference games, and that's not acceptable around here. He's one who stepped up and acted like a senior and earned the right to start."
• Not playing in the game were Wally Judge, Nick Russell and Victor Ojeleye.
On Judge not playing, Martin said that he was hurt and didn't practice on Friday, so he didn't play on Saturday even though he could have.
• K-State is now 14-12 against Texas Tech all-time, but the Red Raiders hold an 11-7 advantage since the start of Big 12 games.
K-State next plays at Missouri at 4:30 Monday afternoon. The game will be telecast on ESPN.
The Wildcats were watching film on the Tigers within 15 minutes after the final buzzer of the Tech game.