Wildcats Bounce Back to Beat Bears

Will Spradling

Jan. 24, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Jacob Pullen and Will Spradling combined for 34 points to end K-State’s two-game skid in a 69-61 victory over Baylor on ESPN’s Big Monday. K-State improves to 14-7 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

Pullen connected on a 3-pointer from Shane Southwell to go up 12-4 after just five minutes of play. The Wildcats kept the pressure on, going on a 7-2 run after a jumper from Spradling, giving K-State a 16-4 edge with 11:48 remaining in the half. The contest went back and forth the rest of the half and the Wildcats earned their biggest lead of the half at 21-10 with a pair of free throws from Rodney McGruder, and the Wildcats took a 25-18 advantage into the locker room. K-State’s defense allowed its lowest point total in a half since playing Texas Southern on Nov. 26th.

Baylor opened the second half on a 9-2 run tying the game at 27 after a 3-pointer from A.J. Walton, but K-State responded with a 13-4 run of its own to grab a 40-31 advantage with 12:56 to play. The run was capped by a 3-pointer from Pullen that was proceeded by two 3’s from McGruder. The Wildcats grabbed their largest lead of the game on a tip-in from Curtis Kelly with 5:41 remaining in the contest to go ahead 56-43. Baylor kept it close and pulled to within five with 1:37 left in the contest. Free throws were huge in the closing minutes for the Wildcats going 11-for-12 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes, including 6-of-6 from Spradling. The Wildcats held strong and sealed the victory 69-61.

K-State was 25-of-31 from the charity stripe for 80.6 percent to give the Wildcats a shooting percentage of 72 percent or better in three out of the last four games.

Spradling’s 17 points was a career-high and also the first time he has led the Wildcats in scoring this season. The freshman was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line and 2-of-5 from 3-point range while tallying 23 minutes off the bench.

Pullen matched Spradling with 17 of his own on 4-of-13 shooting in 38 minutes. Pullen now has 1,829 career points trailing Askia Jones by five points for third all-time in school history.

Kelly and McGruder each reached double-figures, 13 and 12 respectively, with each pulling down seven rebounds. Kelly managed three steals and one blocked shot on the defensive end.

The Wildcats will travel to Lawrence to battle in-state rival Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. The contest will be televised as a part of ESPN’s College GameDay.