Wildcats end slide with OT victory


    BOULDER, Colo. — The Wildcats were in the midst of their worst start in Big 12 Conference play in more than 12 years and had been battered and beaten by an average of nearly 19 points over their last three games.
    They needed a cure for their losing woes, and the Wildcats (12-7, 1-4 Big 12 Conference) might have gotten just the right prescription Saturday in a struggling Colorado team. K-State outlasted the Buffaloes (8-10, 0-4 Big 12) with a hard-fought 77-75 overtime victory at the Coors Events Center.
    “Anytime you win on the road, you should be excited,” K-State coach Frank Martin said. “Road wins are never easy. I don’t care what assumption you might make — it’s never easy. 
    “Let alone we’re as young as we are, we are somewhat fragile. We played like a team that wasn’t sure how to win the game. For us to overcome all the mistakes that wouldn’t allow us to solidify the win gives credit to these kids,” he said.
    Every time K-State made a run, Colorado seemingly had an answer.
    The Wildcats had a chance to potentially ice the game after taking a 67-64 lead on a pair of Darren Kent free throws with 32 seconds remaining in the game.
    On the ensuing possession, the Buffaloes lost control of the ball and Wildcat guard Fred Brown grabbed control of it. He would go to the free-throw line for a one-and-one after being tripped up by a Buffalo defender with 25 seconds remaining.
    Brown missed the front-end and then, on a play that Martin called “inexplicable” after the game, allowed Buffalo guard Dwight Thorne II, who scored a career-high 30 points in the loss, to hit a wide-open 3-pointer at the top of the key with 10 seconds remaining, sending the game to overtime.
    The 3-pointer would trim the score to 75-74 with six seconds remaining in the extra period, but Kent once again calmly sank a pair of free throws to push the lead to three.
    Martin then had guard Jacob Pullen foul Thorne II with 2.8 seconds remaining, and the junior guard hit the front-end while missing the second attempt on purpose.
    Kent grabbed the rebound but was whistled for a travel with 1.3 seconds remaining as he fell to the floor, haunting many Wildcat fans with the memory of the “Pervis Pasco fiasco” in the 2003 Big 12 Tournament against Colorado.
    But this time was different, as a 3-pointer by Jermyl Jackson-Wilson at the buzzer bounced around and off the rim, giving the Wildcats the victory.
    Martin said the win showed the character of his team, which he admitted, was scarred going into Saturday’s game.
    “I don’t care what a team is, but when you got as many young kids as we got, and all of a sudden you get hit in the mouth five consecutive times — you have to step back and gather your senses — you have to punch back or else they’re going to keep hitting you.  I saw that happen during the course of the game. We continued to play well, then we weren’t sure what to do, then we would make mistakes,” Martin said.
    Pullen, who had been marred in an 11-of-44 shooting slump in conference play, scored a team-high 17 points while Denis Clemente scored 15 points, all coming in the second half.