FEATURED IMAGE: Jacob Pullen (0) lifts Purple & Black to a TBT victory. Photo by Jeremy Davis.
WICHITA, Kan. — Kansas State legend Jacob Pullen and a host of other former Wildcats reunited Friday for what has become an annual summer tradition in the basketball world, The Basketball Tournament.
The winner-take-all, single elimination hoops tournament features teams comprised of college alumni teams, semiprofessional basketball players, and former superstars alike, all fighting for not only a tournament crown, but a shot at the $1 million prize.
Pullen and the Purple & Black squad struggled early with shot making and turnovers, but were able to rally late and ride an outstanding 30-point performance from K-State’s all-time leading scorer to victory.
Purple & Black trailed by six with just seconds to go in the third quarter, before a four-point swing from Justin Edwards seemed to turn the tide.
In the fourth, the offense continued to struggle, but as is K-State tradition, strong defense and a raucous crowd carried the squad to a tight finish and the famed ELAM ending.
“It made me feel that college atmosphere again,” Pullen said postgame. “That’s why I love playing in Kansas, man. That love, that excitement. You don’t get that everywhere.”
Made famous by TBT, the ELAM ending begins at the first dead ball under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. From there, eight points is added to the leading team’s score, and that number becomes the target score. From then on, only the shot clock remains and the first team to reach the target score advances.
Purple & Black scratched and clawed with the Lone Star Legends all the way to the wire, but with Purple & Black briefly falling behind 73-72, all of the fans in Koch Arena knew who would take the next shot.
In iconic Jacob Pullen fashion, a screen from Thomas Gipson III freed Pullen up just enough for a deep, straight-away three.
“We really just wanted to get a 1-4-flat screen with me and Gip to see what they do,” said Pullen. “They both walked away for a split-second, and I made one finally in the second half.”
Pullen’s shot sent Purple & Black to the second round of TBT, and another step closer to the $1 million prize.
They’ll advance to Saturday evening’s Wichita Regional Semifinal against Bleed Green, a team of North Texas alums at 5 PM in Koch Arena.