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Pullen Joins Elite Company

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Askia Jones can say, "So what?"

Michael Beasley can say, "Big deal!"

And Chuckie Williams can say, "So what ... what's the big deal?"

But to nearly every other Wildcat, what Jacob Pullen has accomplished in consecutive games is indeed a rarity in Kansas State basketball history.

That's two games and 65 points - 38 versus Kansas, which is the 12th most any player in history has scored on any Jayhawk team, and 27 against Oklahoma.

To Pullen, the week that made him Big 12 Conference Player of the Week, was all about confidence and "... finding a rhythm with the ball, making some shots and seeing the ball go through the net."

There may be a couple more examples, but here's at least a portion of the company Pullen is keeping with his two-game total of 65 points in K-State history:

• Askia Jones has the K-State two-game record with 84 points in back-to-back games. That was the single-game school-record 62 points netted against Fresno State, which was preceded by a 22-point game against Gonzaga.

• Chuckie Williams had consecutive games of 75 points - 47 vs. Holy Cross and 28 against Louisiana Tech - in 1975, and 67 points - 35 vs. Syracuse and 32 vs. Boston College - in the 1975 NCAA Tournament.

• Michael Beasley had a 74-point two-game effort with 44 against Baylor and 30 against Texas, which by the way, was followed with a 39-pointer against KU and a 33-point effort against Colorado. Yes, that's four games and a 36.5-point average over four games. Outside that collection of four games, Beasley also had at least 60-point efforts in consecutive games five other times in his brief one-year career in 2007-08.

In the last two games, Pullen has made 17-of-35 field goals, which includes 8-of-12 on 3-pointers, and 23-of-27 free throws. Oh yes, he also handed out eight assists, picked up seven steals and blocked a shot against the Jayhawks and Sooners.

When the 6-foot-0 guard attempted 19 free throws against Kansas, it marked the sixth most attempts in a single game in school history, and his 15 makes in that game tied him for seventh in a single game.

Pullen admits that he's playing winning basketball, but is also quick to say, "You can't forget my teammates. They're doing the job of passing the ball and setting screens that go unnoticed on the stat sheet, but that's a big reason why I'm putting the ball in the basket."

While accepting Pullen's pat on the back, teammate Jamar Samuels is full of applause when talking about the play of No. 0.

"He's that type of player," Samuels said. "He can put a team on his back at any given time. I'm glad he's on my team. If he was on any other Big 12 team I'd be having fits. I'm proud of him. He's having a wonderful season playing through adversity."

Another marveling at the play of Pullen is coach Frank Martin, who points to other areas that points to how well Pullen is playing.

"Last year next to him was a very, very, very good player," said Martin in reference to Denis Clemente. "But now through his leadership, he's (Pullen) making those freshmen become better players, and those sophomores become better players. It makes it fun to watch."

Plus, Martin says when the Wildcats switched offensive philosophies in early-January, it was Pullen who first climbed aboard with his acceptance.

"He could have said, 'No, I don't want to do that.' But he bought in 100 percent from day one," said Martin. "He believed in me four years ago when I went into his home to recruit him and he didn't know anything about me. He believed in me four years ago and hasn't stopped."

Watching the talents of Pullen from afar, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said, "He has had a great career and I very seldom use the word great. You can see the evolution from when he was a freshman to a senior. You can see how with his leadership the team feeds off of him."

In Big 12 games only, Pullen now leads the league in scoring with a 21.2 scoring average, while he's eighth on the all-time league scoring chart with 1,966 points.

Pullen, who is among the top five in 17 career categories, now trails Mike Evans by only 149 points in all-time scoring in K-State history. If the Wildcats could play eight more games, Pullen would need to average over 18 points per game to pass Evans; if K-State plays nine more games, he would have to average a fraction more than 16 points.

Pullen is the first player in K-State history to surpass 1,800 points, 400 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals for a career.

For fans of Evans, it is fair for them to point out that Evans played only 117 games and Pullen has played a school record 128, which is yet another school record along with his 3-pointers made, 3-pointers attempted, and all-time steals.

All-Time Big 12 Scoring Chart
2,256 - Andre Emmett, Texas Tech, 2001-04
2,221 - Jarrius Jackson, Texas Tech, 2003-07
2,097 - Nick Collison, Kansas, 1999-03
2,001 - Richard Roby, Colorado, 2004-08
1,990 - Bernard King, Texas A&M, 1999-03
1,969 - A.J. Abrams, Texas, 2005-09
1,966 - Jacob Pullen, K-State, 2008-11