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A former foe

The last shot of Jacob Pullen's KSU career
Tonight I had the chance to sit down and watch some basketball without thinking about how it would effect Xavier. I tuned in, and many thanks to CBS for the choice, to KSU-Wisconsin, partly because I love the Wisconsin Swing and partly to watch Frank Martin lose. During the game though, a different storyline took over.

Jacob Pullen was, to us, the villain last March 25th. As what some people called the greatest Sweet 16 game ever played drew to a close, it was he who put Xavier away with a dagger of a three pointer and a couple of free throws. I found it hard to like him after that and his brief NCAA run-in this year and even listed Kansas St. as one of my teams to hate in this year's bracket.


As I cheered for the Badgers and Bo Ryan tonight I couldn't help but be impressed by Pullen. He answered every Wisconsin run nearly on his own. While his teammates combined for 27 points, Pullen poured in 38. While the rest of his team shot 34% from the floor, Pullen shot 59%. What Pullen could not do, not this time, was pull out the win. It wasn't for lack of trying, every time the bell needed to be answered Pullen was there.

Pullen was everywhere, actually, helping teammates and opponents off the floor, exhorting his flagging comrades, and rallying the crowd. When he walked off in tears at the end of the game, I felt for him. Jacob Pullen came back from his suspension and vowed to lead his team like senior. He did that tonight, and my hat is off to him. It was still nice to see Frank Martin lose, but Jacob Pullen, he deserved better.