Kansas State stuns No. 1 Kansas 84-68
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)—So this is the No. 1 team in the country?
Yes, but probably only for one week. After watching Jacob Pullen and unranked Kansas State outplay his Jayhawks from start to finish in an 84-68 spanking Monday night, Kansas coach Bill Self was ready to concede a lot more than just the top ranking.
“We may fall out of the polls next week,” Self said. “I don’t know if anybody really truly deserves it. But that wasn’t a very good basketball team playing tonight.”
Pullen, Kansas State’s 6-foot senior guard who already ranks in the top five in 17 school categories, had the game of his life, going 5 for 6 from behind the 3-point arc and 15 for 19 from the free throw line and scoring a career-high 38 points.
He personally made a mockery of the No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press poll that had been handed the Jayhawks (24-2, 9-2 Big 12) just hours earlier.
“If you look at the positive side, we held them to 46 points if Jacob didn’t play,” Self said with a weak smile.
It’s the second year in a row the Wildcats have tripped up a team that had just ascended to No. 1.
This was the fourth time in school history Kansas State beat a No. 1 team, their third time to victimize Kansas. As the final buzzer sounded in Kansas State’s third victory in their last 45 meetings with Kansas, hundreds of fans stormed the court.
“As the game went on, I think the crowd started believing just like our players,” said Kansas State coach Frank Martin. “As the game progressed, the crowd just kept getting better and better.”
Pullen’s total was just one point shy of the 39 that Elvin Hayes scored for Houston against No. 1 UCLA in 1968, which Kansas State research indicated is the most ever scored in a victory over a top-ranked team.
“Shots were falling for me,” Pullen said. “I’ll take it if people want to say it was my best game. I felt good how we were playing as a team. Other people were stepping up, creating shots off the dribble.”
Kansas State shot 56 percent from the field Monday night while upsetting the Jayhawks, who had won 22 of 23 in Bramlage Coliseum.
“Let’s just call it what it is. That was a beatdown,” Self said. “That was a beatdown. In my opinion, I thought they controlled the game from early on.”
After beating Iowa State on Saturday following Wisconsin’s victory over then-No. 1 Ohio State, several Kansas players said they wanted to move up to No. 1. But Self insisted the top ranking had not made his team complacent.
“I don’t think where we were ranked had anything to do with how we played. they were just better than us tonight,” he said. “Pullen had a lot more to do with our we played than any ranking.”