Jan. 26, 2010
WACO, Texas (AP) - The cure for Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen's shooting woes: watching film and a talk from coach Frank Martin.
Pullen scored 25 points, with six 3-pointers and the game-winning free throws Tuesday night as No. 11 Kansas State beat No. 24 Baylor 76-74 to end the Bears' school-record 11-game home winning streak.
"It was no big deal to me," Pullen said of his slump. "It was mental and mechanical. I felt great, like I got back into my rhythm."
Pullen's final points were two free throws with 8.2 seconds remaining as the first game at the Ferrell Center that matched ranked teams turned out to be a thriller.
While Pullen has scored in double figures in every game this season for the Wildcats (17-3, 4-2 Big 12), he was coming off a five-game stretch in which he made only 17 of 68 shots (25 percent) - and only 2 of 15 in each of the last two games.
Against the Bears, Pullen made 7-of-11 shots and missed only one 3-pointer.
"I should have said something to him about two weeks ago. His practice habits had slipped a little bit," Martin said. "It's not his fault. Those freshmen (in practice) aren't ready to deal with him every single day, so things are a little easy for him. ... We talked and he's been just tremendous the last two days. He just zoned in."
Pullen was pretty good stopping shots as well. He was the primary defender on Baylor standout LaceDarius Dunn, who managed only nine points on 3 of 13 shooting after a five-game stretch when he had at least 20 points four times.
When Baylor (15-4, 2-3) got its last chance after Pullen's two free throws, Dunn dribbled the length of the court before losing the handle in the lane. He recovered in time to throw up a wild one-handed shot between several defenders that never had a chance.
Dunn was averaging 26 points in Big 12 games and had scored 33 with nine 3-pointers against the Wildcats last year.
"Pullen did a tremendous job, so give him credit," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "There were some plays that normally (Dunn) makes."
Kansas State snapped the Bears' record home winning streak only three days after having its school-record 14-game home court winning streak snapped in a 73-69 loss to Oklahoma State. The Wildcats shot a season-low 36 percent against the Cowboys the same week they handed then-No. 1 Texas its first loss.
They bounced back to hit 28 of 57 (49 percent) against Baylor.
"It's unfortunate that we have to go steal one on the road because we dropped one at home," Martin said. "We had to refocus and we did, and we were able to make some plays at the end of the game to win."
The margin was never more than four points for either team in the final 17 1/2 minutes in a game that featured 11 ties and 14 lead changes.
Denis Clemente scored 17 points while Rodney McGruder had 10 for K-State, which is 4-0 against Top 25 teams this season.
Kansas State went up 66-62 with just under six minutes left when Pullen was fouled and made three free throws.
Carter then missed two free throws for Baylor, but got fouled again after stealing a pass and made two. After K-State missed a shot, Dunn was fouled driving to the basket and hit both free throws to tie the game at 66 with 4:40 left.
A minute later, Pullen hit a 3-pointer. He hit another one falling down with 1:04 left to stretch the lead to 74-70.
But Carter made a quick jumper and Pullen turned it over on the Wildcats' next possession, leading to the tying basket that Dunn was credited for after Curtis Kelly was called for goaltending with 20 seconds left. Dunn then fouled Pullen at the other end to set up the game-winning free throws.
Kansas State is back home to play No. 2 Kansas on Saturday while Baylor heads to sixth-ranked Texas for the continuation of a brutal Big 12 stretch which began last week with an 81-75 loss at the Jayhawks.
"It's very frustrating, but we have to let this one go," Carter said. "We have to learn from ourselves and prepare for Texas."