The second-seeded K-State defeated seventh-seeded BYU 84-72 this past Sunday to reach the Sweet 16. It's the first time K-State has done so in 22 years, when the team got to the Elite Eight. Guard Jacob Pullen led the Wildcats with 34 points while BYU star Jimmer Fredette, who was roughed up by the KSU defense and Pullen in particular, contributed 21 points for his team. Denis Clemente also added 19 points for K-State. The Wildcats started the game, played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, at a very slow pace, missing their first three attempts while the Cougars took advantage for a 10-0 run. KSU reacted intelligently; however, cutting BYU's lead until the score was nearly tied at 29-28 with 4:21 left before halftime. K-State then took a 10-0 run of its own and turned the score around, gaining a 10 aE"point lead of 41-31 at halftime. Pullen alone added the last 11 points with 5 three-pointers; he scored 20 of his 34 points during this half as well. BYU spent the second half trying to get back into the game, cutting the difference to 6 points in the first three minutes of the half.With 14 minutes left in the half, Fredette had an opportunity to cut the Wildcats' lead to just 3 points with a three-pointer, but the ball went out for him. Just seconds later, Clemente made a similar attempt that added another 3 points for K-State, extending their lead to 9 points. Minutes later, with BYU fighting to get back in the game and down 68-61, Pullen again destroyed the team's illusions. Pullen made a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a comfortable 10-point lead, 71-61, with 2:46 left. BYU was unable to close the gap to less than five points for the rest of the game.
Kansas State took the victory, 84-72. At the game's conclusion, Pullen said he was very excited to have reached the Sweet 16 with his team; he was also pleased with his own contribution of 34 points. aEoeIt's an amazing feeling.It's a childhood dream. I've watched basketball my whole life. I watched all of the NCAA tournaments since I was a kid, so for me to be able to be in this position, I thank Frank all the time. It's an amazing thing that he was able to give me the opportunity,aE?????? said Pullen. BYU guard Fredette, on the other hand, lamented his team's loss, although he gave credit to K-State for a strong game. aEoeWe had a great season. We were able to get past the first round finally, but we ran into a really good team. They did a good job, were aggressive and sometimes that happens. They had a good game plan, executed it pretty well and played good defense,aE?????? Fredette said. The Wildcats will now play Xavier in the West Regional Semifinal at the EnergySolutions Arena on March 25th.