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Pullen's 38 points not enough, as Wisconsin downs K-State

Mar 20, 2011 - 4:48 AM Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - Jordan Taylor couldn't stop Jacob Pullen for most of the game, but the Wisconsin guard came up with two big defensive plays against his counterpart down the stretch to secure the Badgers' 70-65 win over Kansas State in the final third-round game of the Southeast Regional.

Taylor, who shot a woeful 2-for-16 from the field, put in his 11th and 12th points from the free throw line with 10.1 seconds to go to give the fourth- seeded Badgers a 68-65 advantage.

The Wildcats called a timeout and drew up a play for the red-hot Pullen, who missed just one of his seven three-point attempts leading up to the final play. Pullen used a pick and pulled up from behind the arc on the left wing, only to be blocked by Taylor with time winding down.

Josh Gasser picked up the loose ball and drained two free throws to seal Wisconsin's trip to the Sweet 16, where it will face eighth-seeded Butler in the regional semifinals in New Orleans. Butler upset top-seeded Pittsburgh earlier Saturday.

Jon Leuer received several stitches after taking a blow to the head in the first half and still led Wisconsin (25-8) with 19 points.

Pullen ended with 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting for the fifth-seeded Wildcats (23-11), who made it all the way to the Elite Eight last year.

"[Taylor] played good D and got a piece of the ball," an emotional Pullen said of his last collegiate shot. "I wanted to get to the Final Four and I didn't get a chance to do that."

Pullen put Kansas State on his back throughout, making a layup to tie the game, 59-59, with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Leuer was sent to the foul line twice around Pullen's putback of his own miss. He made the first two attempts but missed both tries on his second trip with 2:13 to play, keeping it 61-all.

Leuer stepped out of bounds grabbing a rebound at the other end, but Taylor stole Pullen's entry pass and dished to Mike Bruesewitz along the right wing for a go-ahead three-pointer.

"Jordan started it off by getting around the post and stealing the post entry pass," recalled Bruesewitz. "Then [Curtis] Kelly had fallen down and we recognized it was five on four and we pushed the ball and Tim Jarmusz was running down the wing with me. He ran to the rim and took a guy with him then I was open."

After a Pullen basket and Taylor airball, Pullen tried splitting a pair of defenders and lost control of the ball. Leuer and Pullen both put in two free throws prior to the dramatic finish.

"You know, unfortunately, this time of year, one team has to win and one has to go home. And, unfortunately, for us we're the one that's going home," Kansas State head coach Frank Martin said.

Taylor, Bruesewitz and Tim Jarmusz each hit from long range during a 12-3 run that put Wisconsin ahead 32-26 with just over two minutes to go in a back-and- forth first half.

The margin was still six at the break, 36-30, before Pullen put on a show in the first five minutes of the second half.

The preseason All-American scored eight points in a 10-0 run to open the stanza, highlighting the spurt by faking a behind-the-back pass and putting in an easy deuce in transition.

It was no more than a two-possession game from there between the Big Ten and Big 12 foes.

Game Notes

Wisconsin beat Belmont on Thursday, while Kansas State snuck past Utah State in its second-round encounter...The Badgers reached their fourth Sweet 16 since 2000, and first since 2008...With his 22nd point, Pullen passed Mike Evans (2,115) as the school's all-time leading scorer...Kelly was the only other Wildcats player in double figures, finishing with 11 points to go with nine rebounds...Bruesewitz and Gasser both netted 11 points for Wisconsin...The other Southeast Regional semifinal pits second-seeded Florida against third-seeded BYU.