KU Wins.....In A Classic

They've now played 268 of these Wildcat – Jayhawk games, but few, if any, were more exciting, more of a banger, more intense than Saturday's 81-79 overtime victory by Kansas over Kansas State. It will be an ESPN Classic for the ages.

Neither team played great basketball, but that's because it was a great game.

As Kansas coach Bill Self said, "We didn't play great, but I don't think it's possible to play great as hard as K-State plays.''

And K-State skipper Frank Martin could echo those comments after Saturday's 81-79 Jayhawk victory over the Wildcats … in overtime. How much of a battle was it? And, how even of a banger was it?

Consider: Offensive rebounds … effort plays: K-State 21, Kansas 16

Fouls … hitting plays: K-State 25, Kansas 24

Possessions: Outside of the first 10 minutes of the second half when it went from an eight-point KU lead to a four-point K-State lead, there were only six possessions … that's 6 … where it was more than a one-possession basketball game.

Kansas won the paint battle, 36-28, but K-State won in points off turnovers, 13-10.

The Jayhawks won on second-chance points, 18-16, but the Wildcats won the fastbreak game, 11-4.

It truly was a game that one wanted to go on, and on, and on, and on.

That's especially true for the matchup of K-State's No. 0 – Jacob Pullen – and KU's No. 4 – Sherron Collins.

As Pullen said afterward, "It was an amazing game. It was one of those games that when you're little you play it in your back yard. ‘3-2-1 … he shoots it … it goes in … ahhhhhhhh … and the crowd goes wild!'

"Had we got that rebound after the missed free throw (with nine seconds left in overtime), I would have told Frank to put the ball in my hands," Pullen said.

There's no question here that Pullen would have found a way to win it for the Wildcats.

It was Kansas State vs. Kansas all the way, but down the stretch there was a point when it was Chicago vs. Chicago.

That's Pullen from Proviso East High School, and Collins from Crane High School. Old rivals from the Windy City's Columbus Park outdoor courts, who re-united on this day in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

"I was a freshman and he was a sophomore and the No. 2 guard in the state," Pullen said of his first summer-court introduction to Collins.

"Sherron made a 3 on me and the crowd went nuts. ‘You can't stop Sherron!' Then I made three or four 3s in a row, and the rivalry was on."

A friendly, but heated clash that only intensified Saturday when in the closing portion of the game it was: Collins scores, KU up 3; Pullen scores, KU up 1; Pullen scores, KSU up 1; and later, Collins scores, KSU up 1; Collins scores, KU up 1; Collins scores, KU up 3; Pullen scores, tie game.

At the end, Pullen had better individual numbers – 22 points to 16 points -- but Collins' side won.

Afterward, they hugged.

"We just said, ‘Way to compete.' We've known each other so long," Pullen said. "Sherron has family on the west side, and I have family that knows his family on the west side.

I know there were families arguing all game long. ‘Score Jake! ‘That's a foul!' It was fun, but it wasn't us playing against each other, it was us trying to win a game for our team."

Finally, Pullen said, "It's a long season. We will definitely play each other again."

That next matchup is March 3 in Allen Fieldhouse.


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