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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

K-State hangs on

 

Fifth-seeded Kansas State was able to survive the only NCAA Tournament second-round matchup featuring two ranked teams Thursday, beating 12th-seeded Utah State 73-68.

The Wildcats were able to win their fourth tournament game in the past two seasons with senior guard Jacob Pullen not being at 100 percent after having a fever the last day or so.

“”When it comes to basketball, I put the way I feel aside,”” Pullen said. “”It’s about winning games and being able to have a season right now. It’s just about finding who’s hot at what moment. We just wanted to find a way to somehow keep the lead and finish the game.””

Pullen’s Wildcats found a way to finish the game with the lead, but not without giving the always-fired-up K-State coach Frank Martin another reason to be agitated.

“”We just weren’t very good defensively in the second half,”” Martin said. “”(Pullen) tried, but he just didn’t have the energy, and his teammates didn’t help him. He’s the only unanimous all-defensive player in the Big 12, and our guys weren’t helping him. We can’t have that.””

KSU was able to survive a late Utah State run, thanks in large part to the emergence of forward Curtis Kelly as a scoring threat down the stretch.

“”In the first half, they seemed to double so I would recognize it and pass out,”” Kelly said. “”In the second half, I tried to be aggressive and score the ball more. We ran a lot of good plays to get me the ball.””

Would Arizona beat Kansas State?

No.

Kansas State can score the ball in so many ways, and Pullen is playing like the best guard in America right now. KSU is similar to Washington with its size and length, and when Pullen is playing as well as he is right now, the Wildcats are a team that would give Arizona fits on a neutral court.

MoMo Jones and Kyle Fogg might be able to limit Pullen’s production, but Arizona just doesn’t have the size in the post that K-State does, and that would doom Arizona in a potential matchup in the national championship game.

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