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K-State Eyes Revenge against No. 1 KU

By Mark Janssen

Rebounding ... in more than one way ... has been one of the buzz words in the Kansas State basketball camp in the last 24 hours.
 
That's recuperating from Saturday's got-a-victory, no-you-don't heartbreaker at Colorado, and of course, simply rebounding missed shots against the Kansas Jayhawks in tonight's "Big Monday" contest on ESPN from Bramlage Coliseum. Tipoff time is 8 p.m.

"It's tough. It is an up-and-down emotion really fast," said senior Jacob Pullen. "You go from thinking you just won the game with a buzzer-beater to losing the game by one shot."
 
Now, he adds, "It's a quick turn-around; you can't let a game like this get under your skin.  We have to focus back in on Kansas.  We have to find a way to protect our home court."
 
On the last 100th-of-a-second loss to CU, coach Frank Martin was honest as could be: "If you don't play well enough then you don't deserve to win, and we didn't play well enough. When you are on the road, you are not going to be winning if you shoot 30-percent from the field and miss 13 free throws."
 
Martin, however, promised, "We're playing back-to-back games (CU and KU) against two teams that beat us the first time around. We take pride in playing teams that beat us. Because they beat us the first time doesn't mean we went home and cried. You just have to work harder to prepare to win."
 
K-State is limping into the game with a 4-6 Big 12 record and 16-9 mark overall. Kansas has won its last six games to improve to 9-1 in the league and 24-1 overall. During KU's recent run, they have scored between 82 and 103 points in every game, which includes a 90-66 win over K-State on Jan. 29.
 
It was after that 24-point loss to the Jayhawks in Lawrence that Martin said, "We play them again. Let that be known. We play them again."
 
Of that first game at Kansas, Martin said, "There are some games you can't wait to watch on tape, but we didn't pay any attention to that one. Some games you just want to erase from your mind and move on.
 
"We need to go through the scouting report because whatever we did last time, it didn't work," said Martin.  "We need a fresh start."
 
From the first game on offense, Martin says K-State needs to be better with "... shooting layups and hitting open 3s," and on defense, "We need to guard better so the guy doesn't shoot a layup every time. And, we need to rebound better so Marcus Morris doesn't grab every rebound to give them an extra possession."
 
Another key to K-State making it a game against KU will be the play of seniors Pullen and Curtis Kelly. In Martin's words, "The grown men on the team need to play like grown men all the time. If they do, we have a chance."
 
But he added, "If just one plays like a grown man and the other doesn't, then we need what happened at Iowa State with a plethora of guys contributing."
 
And Martin means sustained contribution from the seniors, and others. It was after Saturday's loss to Colorado that the Wildcat coach said that "sustaining discipline and toughness" continues to be a problem. "Countless times down the stretch we had opportunities to make plays but didn't get it done with the game on the line. We gave them extra possessions and they converted."
 
No one knows more than Self that the task of duplicating that first win over K-State tonight in Bramlage Coliseum will be much tougher than the first game in Allen Fieldhouse.
 
"Kansas State is a place that is always tough and they are going to want to put a little something back on us for that game here," said Self, whose Jayhawks are a perfect 8-0 in games outside of Allen Fieldhouse this year. "They are a good team. Being No. 1 will add to the interest of the game and we have to be ready to play. We know we will get a great effort from them and it will be a great rivalry game for us."