Wildcats Open Season with Win in CBE Classic

Jacob Pullen

Nov. 12, 2010

Box Score | Quotes | Notes | Photo Gallery 

MANHATTAN, Kan.  – The Kansas State men’s basketball team kicked off the 2010-11 season by defeating James Madison, 75-61, as part of the Manhattan Regional of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic on Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum.

The No. 3-ranked Wildcats were led by Preseason All-American Jacob Pullen, who led all scorers in the contest with 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Sophomore Nick Russell chipped in a career-high 19 points, bettering his previous high by 12 points. James Madison’s Rayshawn Goins led the Dukes in scoring, dropping 17 points on the Wildcat defense.

K-State’s defensive pressure was too much for the Dukes to handle, as the Wildcats forced 26 turnovers, scoring 21 points off of those opportunities. Pullen accounted for three of the team’s nine steals on the evening with Rodney McGruder adding two of his own.

The Wildcats were on fire from downtown, knocking down 52.6 percent of their 3-point field goals on 10-of-19 shooting. Both Martavious Irving and Will Spradling were a perfect 2-for-2 from long-range, while Pullen connected on three of his five attempts.

James Madison started the game off by taking a six-point lead before the Wildcats had put a point onto the board. The Wildcats answered back by scoring six unanswered points of their own to tie the game up with a Pullen 3-pointer at the 17-minute mark. Both teams traded baskets back and forth over the next six minutes, tying the game up at 19-19 with 11:31 to play in the first.

K-State took the lead on its next basket, a Spradling 3-pointer, and would not relinquish it for the rest of the night. The Wildcats closed out the first half with a 19-11 run to head to the locker room with an eight point lead, 38-30.

Following the break, K-State put the hammer down, starting the second half with a 17-5 run to stretch its lead to 20 points at 55-35 capped off by a Pullen 3-pointer at the 13:48 mark. James Madison was able to cut the Wildcat lead to as little as 13 at the 2:52 mark but could not get any closer than that, allowing K-State to move to 1-0 on the season with the 75-61 victory.

Game two of the Manhattan Regional of the CBE classic is scheduled for Thursday when K-State will host Presbyterian for a 7 p.m. tip. The championship rounds get underway at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, November 22-23, where K-State will play No. 12 Gonzaga in round one and either No. 1 Duke or Marquette in round two.

Next action for the Wildcats comes when No. 23 Virginia Tech visits Manhattan for a nationally televised tilt as part of ESPN’s third annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon on Tuesday. Tipoff for the battle of Top-25 teams is scheduled for 3 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN and ESPN3.com as well as heard across the K-State Sports Network.