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Pullen, No. 5 Kansas State hold off Loyola-Chicago

Dec 12, 2010 - 12:23 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Illinois native Jacob Pullen scored 19 points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds, as the fifth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats held off the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, 68-60, at the Gentile Center.

Martavious Irving added 12 points off the bench for the Wildcats (9-1), who have won 14 consecutive games in December. Curtis Kelly tallied 10 points and five boards.

Kansas State has ripped off five straight victories since a loss to top-ranked Duke on November 23.

Ben Averkamp donated 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for the Ramblers (8-3), who had won 12 straight contests at home over non-conference foes. Geoff McCammon and Gabe Kindred each added 12 points.

Irving's three-pointer and Pullen's jumper gave the Wildcats a 21-11 lead with 11:10 remaining in the first half.

Loyola stayed in the game, though, and Averkamp made a pair of free throws with 33 seconds left to cut the gap to 31-26 at the half.

The Ramblers were still within five, 35-30, following Averkamp's tip-in with 17:30 to play.

The Wildcats, though, responded with a 15-6 run to create some breathing room. Irving tallied five points during the burst that Pullen capped with a jumper for a 50-36 margin with 8:34 remaining.

Trailing by 10, 56-46, Loyola ripped off seven straight points to make things interesting. McCammon's layup had the Ramblers within three, 56-53, with 3:36 to go.

Just over a minute later, Rodney McGruder made a three-pointer to give Kansas State a 61-55 lead. Averkamp cut the gap to four with a pair of free throws.

Kelly missed a pair of free throws but Pullen came down with a big offensive rebound. Irving then made two from the charity stripe to make it a 63-57 contest with 1:09 left.

The Ramblers missed a jumper and Walt Gibler was off the mark on two free throws. McGruder then made 1-of-2 from the line at the other end with one minute remaining.

Pullen made 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 29 seconds to seal the victory.

Game Notes

The all-time series is tied, 4-4. The Wildcats have captured three of the last four meetings, including a 92-54 decision in the 2009-10 season opener...Loyola was in search of its first win over a top-five foe since December 22, 1984, when it slipped past No. 4 Illinois, 63-62. In games versus teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll, Loyola is 19-71 all-time.