WISCONSIN RUINS PULLEN'S RECORD-SETTING NIGHT
Coach Frank Martin called the game "a microcosm of the way these guys approached this whole season. It's unfortunate at this time of year one team has to win and one had to go home. Unfortunately for us, we're the one that's going home." Down 36-30 at the half, K-State hit Wisconsin with a 10-0 run to open the second half. "We actually rebounded and we made some shots. We actually passed the ball and we cut. We got more people involved in what we were doing," said Martin. K-State led by six, 55-49, with 8:07 to go before Wisconsin tied it at 59-59 with 3:40 remaining. Still tied at 61-all, it was a right-wing 3-pointer by reserve Mike Bruesewitz that gave the Badgers the lead for good at the 1:31 mark. It came down to making plays, which Wisconsin did, which included Jordan Taylor blocking Pullen's 3-point attempt in the final seconds. "I was just trying to make a play," Taylor said of his block. Wisconsin won despite Jordan Taylor going just 2-of-16 from the field with Pullen supplying part of the pressure. "I feel like I won the battle because we won the game," said Taylor, who played turnover-free basketball. "He (Pullen) was the best player on the floor tonight, but we're moving on and going to New Orleans." But in the end, in typical methodical fashion, Wisconsin penetrated and dished hitting nine 3-pointers, plus the nation's leading free-throw shooting team went 19-of-23 from the one-point line and committed just five turnovers to secure the victory. "We have go-to guys," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. "We have guys that get to the free-throw line in crucial situations that are good free-throw shooters. They want the ball in their hands." Wisconsin is 15-0 on the year when scoring at least 70 points. FIRST HALF: K-State's seniors played as if it were their last game in the first half scoring all nine of the Wildcats field goals as Jacob Pullen had 17 and Curtis Kelly 9. In fact, no other K-Stater scored until the 1:49 mark when Rodney McGruder netted a free throw, and followed with two more at the 1:08 mark, and Juevol Myles one freebie in the final second of the half. While Pullen (5-of-8) and Kelly (4-of-6) were a combined 9-of-14 from the field, the rest of the team was 0-of-6. The Wildcats led for the majority of the first 10 minutes before Wisconsin went on a 19-9 surge over the final seven minutes of the half. K-State had just one field goal - a trey by Pullen - during that stretch. "We started off with a bang and then went into a rut," Martin said of the first half. "We had numerous breakdowns and we had breakdowns from our bench. We were getting pushed around, knocked over, and couldn't rebound the ball." STAR OF THE GAME: Jacob Pullen - 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting, which included 6-of-8 from 3-point range. (See related story) STAT OF THE GAME: Wisconsin played Wisconsin basketball. The Badgers lead the nation giving up just 7.56 turnovers per game, and against K-State had five give-aways. The Badgers lead the nation in free-throw shooting and they made 19-of-23, or .826. Wisconsin out-scored K-State 16-3 on points off turnovers, and 7-0 on fast break points. GAME NOTES: K-State's bench was out-scored 15-5. Curtis Kelly ends his career with 107 all-time blocks to rank only behind Manny Dies (121) and Shawn Rhodes (120). K-State's 154 blocked shots this season is second only to last year's total of 187. On Wisconsin's 14-man roster were seven players from Wisconsin and four from Minnesota. REUNION ... SORT OF: How did Proviso East High in Maywood, Ill., ever lose a basketball game. Not only did the school have Jacob Pullen as a point guard, but in the same class was Brian Carlwell, who was here this week as a reserve 6-foot-11, 300-pound center for the San Diego State Aztecs. We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at email@example.com, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.