Pullen, KSU dejected after loss

Kansas forward Markieff Morris, left, and center Cole Aldrich get physical with Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen going for a rebound during the second half Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris, left, and center Cole Aldrich get physical with Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen going for a rebound during the second half Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kansas takes Big 12 tournament title

The Kansas University men's basketball team will enter the NCAA tournament on a high note after defeating Kansas State to take the Big 12 tournament title.

Audio clips

Big 12 championship: KU-KSU

Reader poll

Assuming Duke is the fourth No. 1 seed, which team do you not want to see as a No. 2 seed in KU's bracket?

  • West Virginia 25% 771 votes
  • Ohio State 16% 497 votes
  • Purdue 13% 420 votes
  • New Mexico 5% 175 votes
  • Kansas State 29% 899 votes
  • Villanova 7% 223 votes
  • Other 2% 82 votes

3067 total votes.

— Jacob Pullen left the court quickly following Kansas State’s 72-64 loss Saturday to Kansas University. He couldn’t stand to see what was going on around him.

The KSU guard didn’t need to be told that confetti was streaming down, that Big 12 championship hats and T-shirts were being distributed.

He’d already seen the celebration before.

“I’m daydreaming about it all the time,” Pullen said. “I’m daydreaming about it in class. I’m daydreaming about it on the bus. I always have daydreams — last few seconds, buzzer beater, cutting down nets. It doesn’t always go like that.”

When Pullen entered the locker room, the KU fans’ cheers thundered through the walls. The emotions hit Pullen all at once.

The leading scorer on the ninth-ranked team in the country broke down and started crying.

“It hurts when you walk past them,” Pullen said, eyes still moist. “They’ve got on shirts and hats and stuff. That’s what we wanted. That’s what was right there for us. We just didn’t get it.”

The previous day, Pullen had talked about wanting to get a ring. He’d never gotten one. Teammate Denis Clemente had never gotten one, either.

“If we would have lost yesterday or the day before, we wouldn’t have hurt so bad. It’s, ‘Oh well,’” Pullen said. “But you got all the way here, and it’s right there in your grasp, and we just couldn’t get it.”

Though KSU coach Frank Martin said he isn’t one for moral victories, he still couldn’t fault the effort of his team.

“We brought the fight to the fight,” Martin said. “Sometimes you go 15 rounds, and you hit, and you throw the last punch, and the judges don’t think it was quite good enough. And that’s kind of what happened to us tonight.

“It just wasn’t quite good enough. So we’ve got to go train some more and get ready for that next fight.”

Martin received a hug from KU’s Sherron Collins after the game in the handshake line. The KSU coach had nothing but praise for the senior guard afterward.

“There ain’t too many guys playing the game like him. There ain’t too many guys winning like he does,” Martin said. “That’s the biggest attribute that you can have. Not what you look in a picture or what you look running up and down or what people think that you’re supposed to look like.

“What he does, that’s the biggest attribute you can have. I’ve got an unbelievable amount of respect for Sherron.”