The fifth ranked Wildcats of Kansas State once again turned in a lackluster effort but came away with a 68-60 win over Loyola of Chicago in a game played at the Ramblers home gym in Chicago. The game was scheduled to give senior guard a chance to play in his hometown in front of friends and family.
K-State was never able to get into sync on the offensive end of the floor and couldn't ever put together extended scoring runs to put Loyola away. The largest lead the Wildcats got to in the 1st half was 21-11 but the Ramblers chipped away to go into the break only down by five.
The second half started out as a back and forth affair with Kansas State clinging to a lead in the five to seven point range until KSU went on a mini-run to push the lead out to 14 points. At this point everyone in purple must have relaxed as Loyola (IL) decided to go on a shooting spree twice cutting the deficit late to only three points. With momentum clearly on the Ramblers side, Rodney McGruder hit a huge 3 pointer at the 2:34 mark to push the advantage back to six and allow K-State to breathe a little easier.
Jacob Pullen led KSU in scoring with 19 points but it was not anywhere near a perfect night for him on the offensive end of the floor. He finished the game 5-17 from the floor and missed all four attempts he took from behind the arc. Even worse for Pullen were two inexcusable turnovers late in the game when K-State was protecting the lead. Martavious Irving also scored in double figures for KSU as he scored 12 points while hitting two big three pointers. One player worth mentioning for Kansas State is Jordan Henriquez-Roberts who came in and affected the game with his size and energy in the post.
Loyola (IL) outrebounded K-State by a margin of 42-34 with many of those offensive rebounds where it appeared the Ramblers simply wanted the ball more than K-State did. The leading scorer for Loyola (IL) was Ben Averkamp who finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds.
Wally Judge did not play in the game but was in street clothes on the sideline. Per an article from www.bringonthecats.com there will be a press release on Sunday detailing the Wally Judge situation. There has been some mention of so called "personal issues" but nothing is concrete as the exact issue at hand.
In summary, once again Kansas State gets a road win but does not look anywhere near impressive in doing so. Jacob Pullen may have been a preseason All American but he currently is not playing anywhere near that level. Frank Martin needs Pullen to step his game up here shortly or it could be a highly disappointing year for KSU considering all the expectations coming into the season.