Pullen, Kelly Lead Wildcats on Senior Day

Jacob Pullen

March 5, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly combined for 30 points in their final home game as Kansas State clinched the No. 4 seed in next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with a 67-55 win over Iowa State on Senior Day at Bramlage Coliseum.

After starting the Big 12 season 1-4, the Wildcats (22-9, 10-6) have now won eight of nine and will go into next week's conference tournament as the hottest team in the league.

Pullen was given a standing ovation in Senior Day ceremonies before the game and the sellout crowd again came to its feet with a few seconds to go when Frank Martin substituted for the guard, who is one of only two K-State players to score more than 2,000 points.

It was a scripted beginning for the two seniors as the duo scored the first seven points of the game and paced the Wildcats offensively. Pullen led the Wildcats with 17 points and added four assists, while Kelly totaled 13 points and narrowly missed a double-double with eight rebounds. Kelly was also 6-of-10 from the field and added two assists and one block on the day.

The contest was still in doubt with 2:32 to play and K-State leading 57-51, until Devon Peterson hit a jumper in the lane to increase the lead to eight. On the very next possession Pullen nailed a 3-pointer in the corner off an in-bounds play to give the Wildcats an 11-point lead with 1:38 to play and seal the win.

Iowa State (16-15, 3-13) took its first lead of the afternoon at 39-38 with 15:19 to play in the second half on a layup by Jake Anderson. The Wildcats responded on both ends of the floor with an 8-0 run and a defensive effort that did not allow a Cyclone bucket for the next five minutes. The run started with a layup by Pullen at the 13:28 mark before Will Spradling followed with six points on a 3-pointer and three free throws. Spradling finished the contest with 13 points.

K-State shot 47-percent from the field on the afternoon while holding Iowa State to 37-percent shooting. The Wildcat also held the Cyclones to just 4-of-23 from three-point range. The Cats also had a strong presence at the rim with eight blocks in the contest while out-rebounding Iowa State, 39-30.

Jordan Henriquez-Roberts swatted five Iowa State field goal attempts to give K-State 28 blocked shots over the last four games, while K-State moved to 19-4 on the year when out-rebounding its opponent.

Diante Garrett led the Cyclones with 18 points and also had five assists.

Kelly controlled the momentum for the Wildcats in the first half with nine points and four rebounds. K-State grabbed a nine-point lead after just three minutes of play, 11-2, before Iowa State charged back. The two squads went back and forth throughout the remainder of the first half with K-State taking a four-point lead into the locker room, 33-29.

K-State now turns its attention to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. The Wildcats will receive a first-round bye before opening play in Sprint Center Thursday at 2 p.m.