By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's Jacob Pullen is on a surge like few before him have enjoyed.
In the last 13 games Pullen has played, the Wildcat senior has averaged just a smidge over 20 points per game, which has included a pair of 24 point efforts, plus another five games of at least 20 points. Oh yes, in 12 of those 13 starts K-State's No. 0 has been No. 1 in scoring.
"I'm feeling comfortable. I'm not rushing things, but letting the game come to me," said Pullen. "The stats are nice, but I also know that we have other people who can step up. This team is at its best when we have three and four in double figures and not just me going off for a big number."
Saturday, however, K-State needed big numbers from Pullen and he produced with 17 of his game-high 21 points coming in the second half, which included a game-winner with 2.6 seconds to play at Iowa State.
That effort, which also included six assists, two steals and a blocked shot, to go with a mid-week game against Nebraska of 18 points and six assists helped Pullen earn Big 12 Conference Player of the Week honors.
In Big 12 games only, Pullen's 19.7 scoring average ranks second only to Colorado's Alec Burks (21.1), plus his 3.4 assists per game ranks eighth and his 1.3 steals ranks 12th.
After getting off to a 2-5 league start, K-State has since gone 3-1 with that only loss coming to the University of Kansas. "We've lost some players, but as a team, I feel like we're starting to come together as one. There's a different comfort level and we're finding ways to win games. It's about finding ways to believe."
Pullen admits that the slow start by the Wildcats "... put a lot on our plate, but we know it's now time to step up and grow up fast. If we don't, it will be a short postseason. If we do, we can be like last year."
Pullen's play, and K-State's play, is developing into like last year with multiple Wildcats stepping up such as Saturday when the Wildcat bench tallied 44 points with Will Spradling, Nick Russell and Martavious Irving stepping in and scoring 14, 13 and 10, respectively.
"You like to see that," said Pullen. "It's not that you want to take a play off and not feel like you have to score, but it's just nice to have another guy who can create so you don't have so much on your shoulders.
"For me, with Denis (Clemente) gone, this year's been about building a new chemistry and relationship. Without saying a word, we knew the spot where they like to be. We didn't even have to look," said Pullen. "I'm starting to find that now with Will."
Pullen Climbing the Charts
Here's where Pullen stands in K-State history with seven regular-season games to play, plus the Big 12 Championships, plus postseason play.
1. Mike Evans, 2,115; 2. Jacob Pullen, 1,889, (If K-State could play another 12 games, and Pullen continue to average 19 points per game, he would end up with 2,117 points, or one basket more than Evans.)
1. Rolando Blackman, 100 in 121 games; 2. Pullen, 95 in 125 games
1. Bob Boozer, 45 in 77 games; 2. Evans 40 in 117 games; 3. Pullen, 35 in 125 games
1. Pullen, 269/768
Free Throws Made/Attempted
1. Boozer, 529/702 in 77 games; Pullen, 452/592 in 125 games
1. Steve Henson, 582; 2. Pullen, 418
1. Pullen, 195
1. Henson, 127; 2. Pullen, 125
1. Henson, 4,474; 2. Pullen, 3,640
Joining Pullen as a Big 12 Player of the Week this week was Brittany Chambers of the women's team.
In Saturday's overtime victory over Missouri, Chambers scored 12 of K-State's final 15 points at the end of regulation when the Wildcats went on a 15-3 tear. Chambers played all 45 minutes in the game authoring a career-high of 27 points on a career-best 11-of-19 shooting, which included five treys.
In three of Chambers' last four games, the 5-8 sophomore has had games of 27, 26 and 20 points as her average has climbed to 15.4 points per game. In Big 12 play only, she's netting 18.0 points per game.
On Chambers' brief resume as a Wildcat are these accomplishments:
• 10th in career 3-pointers made with 120
• 7th in 3-pointers made in a sophomore season with 55
• 11th Wildcat to ever score at least 300+ points in each of her first two seasons.
• 9th Wildcat to ever score as least 700+ points in her first two seasons.