Wildcats Take Down No. 1 Horns, 71-62

MANHATTAN, Kan. - For just the third time in school history, Kansas State took down a top-ranked opponent as the No. 9 Wildcats knocked off the No. 1 Texas Longhorns, 71-62, in a Big Monday slugfest at Bramlage Coliseum.

The win was the first over a top-ranked opponent since defeating No. 1 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. It also extended K-State's home winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum to 14, the longest in the arena's 22-year history.

In a game which featured Texas' much-touted post presence, it was the K-State big men that stole the show, as sophomore forward Jamar Samuels scored a game-high 20 points and junior forward Curtis Kelly added 17 of his own.

Samuels notched his first double-double of the season, adding 12 rebounds to his 20-point effort. It was the second career double-double for Samuels, with his first coming against Iowa State on Feb. 21, 2009. Kelly was also a big factor on the boards, pulling down eight on the contest.

Junior guard Jacob Pullen finished with 12 points, converting eight points from the charity stripe, while hitting 6-of-8 free throws in the last five minutes of the game to ice the game for the Wildcats. Freshman guard Rodney McGruder, provided a huge lift of off the bench, scored 11 points and pulled down an impressive seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

In the early going, both teams played tough defense, battling back-and-forth and exchanging the lead three separate times to go along with five ties in the first 12 minutes of the contest.  At the 4:36 mark, Curtis Kelly opened up a nine-point lead for the Wildcats off of a great dish from Clemente.  A minute and a half later, Jamar Samuels hit a wide-open three-pointer to send Bramlage Coliseum into a frenzy, and opening up a 14-point lead for the Wildcats, the largest deficit Texas has suffered all season. K-State went into the locker room holding a 10-point advantage, 36-26.

K-State played stifling defense in the first half, holding the Longhorns to just 30.3 (10-of-33) percent shooting. Texas' 26 first-half points were the lowest amount scored all year, one less than the 27 it scored in the first half of their matchup last Saturday with Texas A&M.

The Wildcats were dominant in the paint in the opening period, out-scoring the Longhorns 30-14. Samuels led all scorers at the break with 15 points, while grabbing six rebounds, including three on the offensive end.

Texas came out firing in the second half, going on an 8-0 run in the first three minutes of the period to cut the Wildcat lead to two. At the 12:08 mark, Texas guard Avery Bradley hit a layup to give the Longhorns their first lead since 17:48 remaining in the first half, 44-43. K-State responded quickly with a 6-0 run of its own capped off by a Pullen-to-Samuels alley-oop. The game was sent into its seventh tie when Texas freshman guard Jordan Hamilton connected on a free throw at the 7:35 mark to tie up the contest at 51. McGruder converted a stellar three-point-play at the 5:15 minute mark off of a Clemente steal, to open up a six point lead for K-State. The Wildcats never looked back, scoring 12 points in the final five minutes to close out the nine-point victory.

The ninth-ranked Wildcats return to action Saturday when Oklahoma State visits Bramlage Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. The contest will be broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network, and can be heard over radio along the K-State Sports Network.