Wildcats Ice Cornhuskers
Wildcats Ice Cornhuskers
Feb. 2, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s 21 of 25 shooting from the free throw line -- a season-high percentage of 84 -- combined with pressure defense that allowed a season-low 53 points equaled a 69-53 victory over Nebraska on Wednesday. Jacob Pullen netted 18 points in the contest at Bramlage Coliseum, making it five straight games the senior has led the Wildcats in scoring, helping K-State to improve to 15-8 on the season and 3-5 in Big 12 play.
The first half showed balance for the Wildcats as the first four buckets for K-State came from four different players. That stretch included a 3-pointer by Rodney McGruder to push K-State’s lead to 11-6 after five minutes of play. The Wildcat pressure defense kicked in at full force from that point, forcing the Huskers into 13 first half turnovers. K-State went on a 9-0 run with a layup by Pullen with 2:16 to play in the half to grab a 30-14 advantage and maintained the lead over the next two minutes for a 31-17 margin at halftime.
A key component to K-State’s first half was its defense on Nebraska’s Jorge Brian Diaz, who leads the Huskers in scoring this season at 10.5 points. The sophomore got into foul trouble and only managed one point by halftime. Diaz found a few buckets in the second half to finish with 10 points.
The Wildcats saw their lead in the second half grow to as many as 19 points, with the Huskers cutting it to 11 twice but no closer. After shooting just 2-of-10 in the first half, Pullen found some rhythm after halftime, making 4-of-5 shots and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. Pullen’s 12 second-half points paced the Wildcats and sealed the victory with 44 seconds remaining on a jumper just inside the arch making the score 69-52. The Huskers tacked on a free throw to make the final tally 69-53.
The Huskers' 53 points were the lowest K-State has allowed this season. The Wildcat defense forced Nebraska into 22 turnovers, while the Huskers only managed 19 made field goals in the contest.
Curtis Kelly finished with 16 points and four rebounds. More importantly, Kelly was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line contributing to K-State's season-high free throw percentage. McGruder chipped in 10 points, giving K-State three players in double figures. The sophomore was 3-of-4 from the free throw line in 33 minutes.
K-State will travel to Ames, Iowa, to battle the Cyclones of Iowa State at 12:30 p.m., Saturday. The game will be televised on the Big 12 Network.