Kansas St. 95, No. 18 UNLV 80

BY foxsports • December 17, 2009

Every time Jacob Pullen saw the rim, he figured his shot was going in.

Talk about a nice feeling to have.

Pullen hit seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 28 points, and Kansas State pounded No. 18 UNLV 95-80 on Saturday night for the Wildcats' sixth straight win.

Pullen finished 7 of 10 from beyond the arc and 10 of 16 from the field, as the Wildcats shot 57 percent for the game. They were 15 of 23 from beyond the arc while building their lead to 88-65 with about 6 minutes left.

``Every time I caught, I saw the rim and I thought it was going in,'' said Pullen, who was four points shy of his career high. ``I was laughing because (UNLV's Oscar Bellfield) said, 'Damn.' I would have said the same thing if the other team was doing that to us. They were playing good. Fortunately, the ball was bouncing in for us.''

Denis Clemente added 22 points and nine assists for the Kansas State (9-1), Jamar Samuels had 14 points and Curtis Kelly scored 13.

``Hopefully by Monday, we're in the Top 25,'' Kelly said. ``We'll keep on doing what we've been doing. This was a big game for us. Jacob was big for us.''

Not that Kansas State cares that much about rankings this early in the season.

``We've got to take this experience and build on it,'' coach Frank Martin said. ``They don't give parades for wins in December. We shot it well in practice and shot it even better today. I felt if we made passes, we'd make some shots. It's a heck of a win for our young team.''

Tre'Von Willis led UNLV (7-1) with 17 points. Chace Stanback added 14 points and Bellfield had 13 for the Rebels, who shot 48 percent from the field.

``Guys were trying to be a little bit too unselfish,'' Willis said. ``We were trying to make that extra pass and then we would fumble it away. We've got to gel together.''

The Wildcats led most of the first half thanks to their 7-of-12 rate from 3-point range. They jumped to a 10-4 lead before the Rebels briefly took their only lead of the half at 18-16.

Martavious Irving's 3-pointer with 10:25 left in the first half put Kansas State on top, and except for one tie, the Wildcats led the rest of the way.

Kansas State built a 42-34 advantage at halftime on Pullen's layup at the buzzer, and the lead never dropped below eight in the second half.

``Things won't change,'' UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. ``We've got a lot of work to do. How we react is the important thing. We practice tomorrow, travel up to Southern Utah ... and play Tuesday. It's another opportunity for us.''

Kruger played at Kansas State from 1971-74. He also served as an assistant coach from 1979-82 and head coach from 1986-90.

It was the first time the two teams met since the 1987 NCAA tournament, when Kruger's Wildcats lost to the Rebels 80-78 in the second round.

The game was technically played on a neutral court at Orleans Arena, about a mile west of the Strip and a few miles away from the UNLV campus. The Runnin' Rebels play home games at the Thomas & Mack Center, which is being used for the National Rodeo Finals.

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