College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, February 14, 2011
On Monday, the Kansas Jayhawks received the #1 ranking in the national polls. Before the day was over, however, Jacob Pullen and the Kansas State Wildcats sent a message to their in-state rivals that rankings are fleeting things and must constantly be earned.
Pullen scored a career high 38 points in the Wildcats' stunning 84-68 upset win over the Jayhawks. Perhaps it was not only Pullen's performance, but how poorly Kansas executed on both sides of the floor that cost them not only the game, but surely their short-lived top ranking.
The shortcomings by Kansas were obvious. They were outrebounded, 29-23, outshot, 56% to 44%, and outplayed. They had 11 assists to Kansas State's 16.
Pullen, who had been previously widely criticized for his spotty, inconsistent play, was focused on beating Kansas, and so were his teammates. Led by the senior guard's 38 points on 9-for-17 shooting (5-for-6 3-pointers and 15 of 19 from the line), the Wildcats built an early lead and opened it up to double digits in the second half.
With seven minutes remaining, the contest had turned into a laugher. Kansas coach Bill Self pulled both of the Morris twins and other starters played sparingly down the stretch. The final minutes prior to the crowd rushing the court were perfunctory. Unranked Kansas State had finally found he winning formula and there would be a new #1 team in a week.