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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wisconsin advances to Sweet 16

 

Wisconsin’s men’s basketball team is headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008 after beating Kansas State 70-65 in Tucson on Saturday.

Kansas State senior guard Jacob Pullen matched a career high with 38 points, but Wisconsin’s balanced attack prevailed in the end, with four Badgers scoring in double-digits.

“”I don’t care about a scoring record or anything like that,”” said a tearful Pullen. “”I’d pass up all the records. I’d be 100th on the scoring thing if that would get me to a Final Four. That’s all I wanted.””

In a matchup of two of America’s best guards, Pullen, the Big 12 Conference’s only unanimous all-defensive player, held Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor to only 12 points on 2-of-16 shooting,

“”I feel like I won the battle (with Pullen) because we won the game,”” said Taylor, who repeatedly called Pullen the best player on the floor during Saturday’s game.

Although Pullen shot 6-of-8 from three-point range, Taylor made the game’s biggest defensive play. With 2 seconds remaining the game, Taylor blocked a Pullen three-point attempt that could have tied the game at 68.

“”I was just trying to make a play, and we’ve been saying all year long that we have a lot of guys who can make plays,”” Taylor said. “”I was just trying to do something to slow him down and play a part in the win.””

Even though the ball ended up in Pullen’s hands, it was freshman guard Will Spradling that was supposed to take Kansas State’s last shot that had a chance to send the game to overtime.

“”Will is a real good shooter off the dribble, and I told him to shoot it if they didn’t guard him coming off the ball screen,”” said Kansas State head coach Frank Martin. There were three guys guarding Jamar (Samuels) and Jacob (Pullen). Our floor spacing was bad, so (Pullen) had no room to operate.””

Kansas State led for most of the second half, with the Wildcat lead rising as high as six points, but the half’s biggest play came on a Mike Bruesewitz three-pointer with 1:31 remaining that gave Wisconsin a 64-61 lead.

“”We pushed the ball, and I was open and I knocked it down,”” Bruesewitz said. “”We do that drill pretty much every day in practice.””

Martin said that he felt the third-round matchup with Wisconsin summed up his team’s entire season.

“”We started off with a bang, then went into a rut – just had numerous breakdowns – we had nothing from our bench but breakdowns,”” Martin said. “”These kids’ will to not give in to a difficult moment, to stay the course and continue to believe, that’s what we saw today, and that’s how the season went.””

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