SALT LAKE CITY -- Finally, someone missed. Xavier's
"This should be on ESPN Classic -- tonight," said Kansas State sophomore forward
He didn't have to go that far. "Every time we thought the game was over with, we were walking to the line, you could see it in their eyes, they didn't want their season to end either," said Kansas State guard
If you couldn't read it in their eyes, you could read it in the box score: 13 ties, 17 lead changes, 58 free throws attempted and 41 made, 91 rebounds gathered. The quartet of starting guards, Crawford and
"It was by far the best game I've ever played," said Samuels, who had 14 points and five rebounds. "Shot by shot. No one would let up."
No one could have seen such a historic battle forming in the first eight minutes of the game, when Kansas State jumped to a 19-4 lead. But Kansas State started fouling, allowing Xavier to get to the line and claw back. The Musketeers took their first lead with 48 seconds to go in the first half. In the second half neither team could build more than a six-point cushion. With 10 seconds left in regulation, Pullen hit two free throws to put K-State up 72-69. "I thought, 'That's the game. That's the nail in the coffin,' " he said.
Then things got interesting. K-State's
A stunning 30-foot three by Xavier's Crawford, who had a career-high 32 points, sent the game into its second overtime. As one end-game bled into another, the players started pleading with those on the other team: "Please miss this one: we just want this to end!" But neither team wanted to go home.
"I expected this to be a hard-fought game," said Kansas State coach
His guys were pretty good in a way the coaching staff hadn't seen before, which bodes well for the Wildcats, fatigued as they might be, as they face Butler, the upset winner over Syracuse, on Saturday. "It wasn't our best game, but we showed a lot of resilience," said Kansas state assistant