No. 3 Kansas St. 75, James Madison 61
Now a wiley veteran, Kansas State senior guard Jacob Pullen knew
all the preseason accolades would not guarantee a smooth season
opener against James Madison.
He was right.
The third-ranked Wildcats overcame a sluggish start and awful
free throw shooting to beat James Madison 75-61 on Friday
”It’s not going to be perfect in a first game,” Pullen said.
”We lacked some energy and had some guys who were nervous. But I
thought our guards picked it up defensively.”
Pullen, an AP preseason All-American, scored 20 points and was 7
of 11 from the free throw line while his teammates went a combined
10 of 21.
Rayshawn Goins scored 17 points to lead James Madison.
After allowing the Dukes to shoot 50 percent and outscore them
22-10 in the paint during the first half, the Wildcats found their
stride in the second. A 3-pointer by Pullen and a dunk by Rodney
Magruder started the run and Magruder and Pullen hit consecutive
3-pointers to close the 17-5 burst to start the second half. Kansas
State led 55-35 with 13:41 to play and never led by less than 14
The Dukes committed 15 of their 26 turnovers in the second half,
and many of those led to open shots. The Wildcats were 10 of 19
from the 3-point line and scored 21 points off turnovers.
”We didn’t think they would shoot it that well,” Dukes guard
Devon Moore said. ”It was poor rotation. But they also hit shots.
That’s what good teams do.”
K-State’s Nick Russell scored 11 of his 19 points in the second
A key for Kansas State was containing James Madison senior
Denzel Bowles, who last season became the first player to lead the
Colonial Athletic Association in scoring, rebounding and field goal
percentage. The 6-foot-10 Bowles had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting,
but six of his points came with the game well in hand.
Julius Wells and Moore each scored 13 points for the Dukes.
Armed with the highest preseason ranking in school history,
Kansas State did not get off to a smashing start. James Madison
scored the game’s first six points, and it was still 19-19 after 10
minutes thanks to Goins, who scored 12 first-half points.
”It was complete breakdown after complete breakdown
defensively,” Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. ”Those are
things we’re going to have to grow up with and overcome.”
The Wildcats had trouble extending a lead despite making five of
their first six 3-point attempts, the five successful ones coming
in a four-minute span. K-State’s Montavious Irving, who did not
score more than eight points in a game last season, had two of the
K-State went on a 7-1 run over a span of just more than four
minutes to lead 26-21. A three-point play from Pullen and five
straight points from freshman Will Spradling helped the Wildcats
take a 38-30 halftime lead.