Even during the toughest of seasons, a team will usually have one or two games where they show just what could have been. Perhaps the three-point shots are falling in more than usual, the other team isn’t playing well, or your team’s star player was just having a historic night.
Last night, K-State and its fans got a night off from what has become a complete nightmare season, and defeated number one Kansas 84-68. Led by Jacob Pullen’s 38 points, K-State gave us all a glimpse at what they are truly capable of doing. Pullen was a threat from all over, hitting the three pointer, but also getting to the foul line 19 times. His ability to get into the paint and draw fouls gave Kansas’ defense fits all night, and may have provided a blueprint for future opponents.
It helped that the Morris twins did nothing last night. Markieff was brutal, scoring just three points in 20 minutes. He didn’t get a single rebound all game. Marcus did a little better, managing 13 point and three steals, but he also had four turnovers. Without those two working inside, Kansas had to rely on the three-point shot, and made just three of their 15 attempts.
Big picture, this means quite a lot. K-State has a signature win on their resume, and can probably ride the momentum from this win for the rest of the season. They still need someone to help Pullen, who can’t score 38 a night, but their NCAA bid isn’t the question mark it was yesterday.
For Kansas, they just need to be careful. They were sloppy and undisciplined last night. They need Josh Selby to penetrate the lane and get to the foul line more, especially when the team is collectively doing nothing from the outside. Their defense appears vulnerable to penetrating guards, remember Alec Burks and Cory Higgins gave them fits as well, and that is something that teams will exploit come tournament time.