MANHATTAN, Kan. — Jacob Pullen scored a career-high 38 points and Kansas State shot 56 percent from the field Monday night en route to a stunning 84-68 victory over Kansas, which moved to No. 1 just hours earlier.
Pullen, a 6-foot senior who ranks in the top five in 17 career categories for Kansas State, had 23 points in a take-charge first half that propelled the Wildcats (17-9, 5-6 Big 12) to a nine-point halftime lead.
Hundreds of fans stormed the court when the buzzer sounded on Kansas State's third victory in its last 45 games against an archrival that has dominated the Wildcats for decades.
The Jayhawks (24-2, 9-2) replaced Ohio State atop the Associated Press poll, a position they held for 15 weeks last season.
Kansas beat Kansas State 90-66 on Jan. 29, but this time the Wildcats, led by an indomitable Pullen, took control from the start.
Pullen, whose previous career high was 34 points, was 5 for 6 from 3-point range but he scored in almost possible way in what may have been his finest game as a Wildcat. He was 15 for 19 from the free throw line and had five assists.
Kansas was unable to get its inside game in gear. Early foul trouble plagued the Jayhawks' top two scorers, twins Marcus and Markieff Morris. Tyrel Reed had 14 points for Kansas, which lost in Bramlage Coliseum for the second time in 23 games. Marcus Morris had 13 points but Markieff Morris had only three points, and the Big 12's leading rebounder did not get one board.
The unlikely victory halted at least for the moment what had been looking like a lost season for Pullen and Kansas State.
Ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll with Pullen the school's first preseason All-America, the Wildcats instead tumbled out of the rankings amid dissension and suspension. Two players have left the team and Pullen was suspended for three games in December for inappropriate discounts at a local clothing store.
But all that was forgotten before a loud, packed house Monday night when Pullen led a first-half 21-6 spree that put the Wildcats in charge for good.
Kansas came in leading the nation in shooting at 52.3 percent but the Jayhawks shot only 44 percent against Kansas State.
With about 12 minutes left, the Wildcats started getting in foul trouble, with Curtis Kelly, Rodney McGruder, Jamar Samuels and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts all having three. Samuels picked up his fourth at the 11:33 mark. But Markieff Morris, having his worst game of the season, made only one free throw and the Wildcats led 60-47.
Then, with the crowd getting louder and louder, McGruder scored on a putback and after a Kansas miss, Pullen made it 65-47 with a 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down.
Just as they had done in losing to No. 3 Texas on Jan. 22, the Jayhawks had trouble pounding the ball inside. The Morris twins had two fouls apiece 9 minutes into the game and the Jayhawks were missing 6-9 sophomore Thomas Robinson, who is out with a knee injury. Markieff Morris played only 8 minutes in the first half and didn't score.
Pullen's top game in the Big 12 this season was 22 points, a figure he reached with almost 5 minutes to go in the first half. The 6-0 senior, the preseason pick for Big 12 player of the year, had 11 points in the early run. He got it started with a steal that Shane Southwell converted into a basket and then drilled two straight 3-pointers.
Fouled by Tyshawn Taylor on another attempt from behind the arc, he made all three foul shots before finishing the flurry with two free throws when Markieff Morris was called for an intentional foul.
Henriquez-Roberts and McGruder both had 10 points.