Wildcats Maul Musketeers, 71-56

MANHATTAN, Kan. - While a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow on Manhattan Tuesday, Kansas State won a defensive battle inside Bramlage Coliseum as it defeated Xavier, 71-56, before a national ESPNU television audience.

With the win, the Wildcats moved to 8-1 on the season, marking the first time since 2004-05 that K-State has started a season with that record, while the Musketeers fell to 5-3.

Rebounding was crucial in the contest for K-State, as it out-rebounded Xavier 46-33 on the night. The Wildcats' 14 offensive rebounds led to 16 second-chance points.

Junior Jacob Pullen led K-State with 16 points on the night, while junior Curtis Kelly finished just short of a double-double, dropping 15 points on the Musketeers while also pulling down nine rebounds.

Xavier was led in scoring by Jordan Crawford and Brad Redford, who each scored 16 points on the night. They were the only Musketeers to score in double digits.

K-State took a 10-point lead into the lockerroom at 30-20 after going on a 12-2 run over the final 6:13 of the first half. The Wildcats dominated the boards throughout the first 20 minutes, out-rebounding Xavier 27-8, including 11 on the offensive end. K-State struggled from the charity stripe in the first half, converting on only seven of its 14 attempts.  

After the break, the Wildcats continued to play strong in the second half, extending their lead to 17 at the 14:03 mark. K-State withstood a late Xavier surge, making 12 free throws in the last five minutes to close out the 15-point win.

The Wildcats return to action Saturday when they take on the No. 18 UNLV Rebels at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The matchup will mark the second time this season K-State will face a ranked foe after defeating the then-18th ranked Dayton Flyers in the Puerto Rico Tipoff on Nov. 20.

Tipoff for the contest is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen regionally on FSN Kansas City and heard over radio on the K-State Sports Network.