KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In his college basketball debut on Saturday at storied Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas guard Josh Selby showed that he can make an immediate impact.
Not only did he score a game-high 21 points, Selby also hit a critical 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to help turn back USC for a 70-68 victory.
Selby seems primed to be an X Factor for the third-ranked Jayhawks (10-0) during the Big 12 Conference season and beyond.
Meanwhile, Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen is still trying to live up to the hype of being an Associated Press preseason All-American.
Kansas State (9-2), which dropped from sixth to 11th in the latest top 25 poll by The Associated Press, takes on UNLV (10-2) tonight at 8 in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The game, which is sold out, will be televised on ESPN2.
The Wildcats, who have a 1-2 record at neutral sites, are coming off a 57-44 loss to Florida on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla.
Pullen, a 6-foot senior guard from Chicago, has been steady, leading the Wildcats with a 16.5 points-per-game scoring average. He scored 19 points in the loss to Florida, a game where the Wildcats shot only 27 percent.
Though leading his team in scoring for the ninth time this season, Pullen shot only 6-for-17 against the Gators. The rest of the starting lineup missed 15 of 18 shots, and the entire team missed 16 of 19 from 3-point range.
Pullen, who averaged 19.3 points and shot 41.9 percent from the floor last season, established himself as an honorable mention All-American by The Associated Press as Kansas State advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Through 11 games, Pullen is hitting 40 percent of his field goals (58-for-145), but has made only 29.8 percent of his 3-pointers. He shot 39.6 percent from beyond the arc last season.
Pullen has gained a lot of attention from opposing defenses, and has struggled at times this season. Some of his struggles can be attributed to playing without standout backcourt mate Denis Clemente, who used up his eligibility.
Pullen struggled during then-No. 4 Kansas State’s early-season 82-68 loss to top-ranked Duke. Pullen missed 11 of 12 shots, including going 1-for-8 on 3-pointers, and finished with only four points.
NOTES — Former Kansas State star and head coach Lon Kruger is in his seventh season in guiding the Runnin’ Rebels.
Kruger, a native of Silver Lake, was an All-Big Eight Conference guard for the Wildcats in the 1970s (1971-75) and later was the head coach at Kansas State from 1986-90).
Two members of Kruger’s UNLV coaching staff also have Kansas and Kansas State ties. Assistant coach Steve Henson, a McPherson native, played for Kruger and was an all-conference point guard for the Wildcats (1986-90). Greg Grensing, a native of Alta Vista, is in his sixth season at UNLV. He was also a recruiter for Kansas State when Kruger was head coach there.
KU travels to Berkley, Calif., for a 10 p.m. game on Wednesday against the California Golden Bears of the Pac-10. That game can be seen on FSN.