Wildcats handle Tigers

Thursday, January 29, 2009
ORLIN WAGNER ~ Associated Press
Missouri guard J.T. Tiller shoots over Kansas State's Ron Anderson during the first half Wednesday.

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- A conference-opening loss to Oklahoma hit Kansas State like a roundhouse to the temple, leaving a young team reeling for three more games.

Gutting out a win over Colorado helped the Wildcats snap out of it. Routing a tough Missouri team has them ready to get back in the Big 12 race.

Jacob Pullen had 23 points, Jamar Samuels added 18 and Kansas State used a swarming defense to beat Missouri 88-72 on Wednesday night.

"We got punched in the mouth, came out for the second round and got punched in the mouth again. We were kind of staggered," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "We had to kind of gather our senses."

Coming off its first conference win Saturday, Kansas State (13-7, 2-4) came out with a swagger, getting the crowd into it early and never letting up.

ORLIN WAGNER ~ Associated Press
Missouri guard Zaire Taylor is pressured by two Kansas State defenders Wednesday.

The Wildcats completely disrupted Missouri's offense with traps early and solved the Tigers' full-court pressure late to build a 13-point halftime lead.

Unlike Saturday's game, when Colorado rallied to force overtime, Kansas State poured it on, earning a decisive win over a Missouri team off to its best start in 14 years. The Wildcats shot 12 of 22 from 3-point range and held the nation's third-best scoring team 13 points below its average.

Missouri (17-4, 4-2) had won four straight after a conference-opening loss to Nebraska and eight of nine overall following Saturday's nine-point win over Texas Tech. But with a chance to match the 18-3 start of the 1994-95 team, the Tigers stumbled against Kansas State's pressure, falling behind by 17 in the first half and never recovering.

DeMarre Carroll led Missouri with 19 points and Matt Lawrence added 17.

"They really brought the fight to us and we didn't fight back," said Carroll, who scored 14 of his points in the second half after early foul trouble.

Most of the problems came from Kansas State's defense.

The Wildcats were particularly effective at trapping the Tigers' guards just inside the half-court line, leading to several turnovers, including one pass that sailed over the scorer's table. Kansas State also took away Missouri's drives, setting the tone with a pair of charges in the Tigers' first three possessions.

Missouri averages 12.8 turnovers per game, but had 13 in the first half, leading to 18 points for Kansas State.

Even when they broke the trap, the Tigers had trouble getting the ball inside and couldn't hit from the perimeter, going more than seven minutes without a field goal before Lawrence (14 first-half points) knocked down four straight shots late.

"We kind of got out of control and they made us pay for it," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said.

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