MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Missouri men's basketball team had a major opportunity to take control against Kansas State.
With the game tied at 60 with six minutes remaining, Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen, who led the Wildcats with 24 points, received his fourth foul when he and Missouri guard Matt Pressey both dove for the ball.
On Thursday, Kansas State's Jacob Pullen and Jamar Samuels were trash-talking Missouri.
Samuels said, “(Missouri) grabs a lot, and I feel as though that’s for elementary school kids.”
Pullen said, “Kansas, we've got the utmost respect for them and their program. The relationship we have with those guys is nothing personal — it's a good, wholesome rivalry. Can't say the same about Missouri."
After Saturday's game, Missouri forward Laurence Bowers said Missouri didn’t pay attention to those comments, and the comments didn’t add any motivation coming into the game.
Kansas State coach Frank Martin said he will be discussing the comments with his players since Kansas State “respects all of its Big 12 opponents.”
To avoid getting his fifth and final foul, Pullen had to go to the bench. Missouri had been chipping away at Kansas State's lead, and with Kansas State’s leading scorer on the bench, Missouri had the momentum.
“It’s always a concern when he (Pullen) is out of the game, especially during a crucial time of the game,” Kansas State forward Curtis Kelly said. “He is our top scorer and our leader, so there was a little concern, but we have to keep playing."
It was the moment Missouri seemed destined to take control of the game. But then, Kansas State went on its 9-0 run.
The run started when Kansas State guard Will Spradling, who stepped in for Pullen, made a 3-pointer. After a Kansas State stop at the other end, guard Rodney McGruder made a jumper, followed by four consecutive free throws by guard Nick Russell.
In just two minutes, Missouri found itself down by nine points.
Kansas State (20-9, 8-6) defeated Missouri (22-7, 8-6) 80-70. It was the seventh straight time Missouri has lost in Manhattan.
“We felt like it was in our control, but we let it slip,” Missouri guard Marcus Denmon said. “They made plays down the stretch and hit a couple of big shots when we were in our zone defense when it was tied. I thought we had a lot of mental mistakes as a team. We did a lot of things you can’t do on the road if you want to win.”
After Kansas State's run, the crowd at Bramlage Coliseum went into a frenzy, and the Missouri players appeared to be completely stunned. Missouri guard Kim English kneeled down with both arms over his head, and Denmon looked at the Missouri bench and threw both of his arms up in the air — unusual coming from the often emotionless Denmon.
“When it was tied up, there were a lot of emotions, but then it seemed like we started shooting ourselves in the foot,” Missouri forward Laurence Bowers said. “I think we kind of beat ourselves up on some aspects of the game. I thought it’d be closer at the end, but they are a good team and they found a way to win.”
Meanwhile on the other bench, Pullen greeted his teammates, yelling and flinging the Gatorade towel he was holding.
"It was big," Pullen said. "We had a lot of people step up during that. They just had confidence and they felt like this was our game. We were not going to give it away."
Denmon led Missouri with 22 points, while Bowers had 16.
From the start of the run until the last 46 seconds of the game, Missouri was unable to make a shot from the floor. By the time Denmon made two 3-pointers in the final 46 seconds, the outcome of the game was already determined.
Missouri trailed for the majority of the game after falling behind 10-0 at the beginning . Missouri wasn’t able to take the lead until the second half when English made a layup to give Missouri a 44-43 lead. After that, the teams traded baskets until the Wildcats' run.