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March 2011 Archives


Also See: King's Multi-HR Day Pushes K-State to 16-3 Win

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's Jacob Pullen has been named recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award that goes to college basketball's top senior, six-foot and under. The award came from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"We are proud to honor Jacob with the 2011 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "The combination of his success on the court, and his achievements in the classroom as a student-athlete, make him a deserving recipient who exemplifies the qualities this award is designed to celebrate."


By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - So what sport do you think within the Big 12 family dominates the nation more so than any other?

Football? Women's basketball? Men's and/or women's track and field?

Nope, nope and nope.


Also See: 2011-12 Student Athletics Passes On Sale

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Reggie Britt already had a nice collection of K-State T-shirts from the olden days ... purple ones, some white, others gray and a few black.

Some simply said "KSU," and others "K-State," and even "K-State Basketball." But none of the printed words said what Britt really wanted.

"I know it sounds kind of silly, but I wanted a shirt that said 'KSU Alumni.' I could have bought one, but I didn't want to be hypocritical," said Britt. "As of December, I can now wear one with pride. It's really cool."


Also See: K-State Tennis Upsets No. 25 Texas A&M

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Deb Patterson is the first to say of her Wildcats' 21-11 season, "We performed at a level that was better than what I anticipated. They achieved at a higher level than any of us thought they would, or could.

"The WNIT was our goal. We knew it would be a fight to get into postseason play," said Patterson, who earned her 300th career win and guided the program to its 800th during the season. "We didn't know what that meant ... probably WNIT, but we knew it would be a battle."

Martin Gives Definition to Season

By Mark Janssen

Kansas State's 2010-11 basketball year had weeks of turbulence, and extended days of being as good as any team in the country.
Players were suspended, and two simply quit the team; players improved dramatically, and in Jacob Pullen's case, had a single season, not to mention career, like few Wildcats before him.


By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin has this warning to all National Basketball Association teams: "You better think about drafting Jacob Pullen, because somebody else is, and he's going to make you pay."

The next step in the basketball life of Kansas State's all-time leading scorer is in the professional ranks. But will that be in the NBA, or in Europe?


By Mark Janssen

Cleaning out the notebook from the 2010-11 K-State basketball season:

REVENGE WOULD HAVE BEEN SO SWEET: It would have taken the stars to be aligned perfectly, but here's what could have been for the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament when it comes to revenge:
•    Defeat Wisconsin in the Round of 32 to even the score for the 2008 loss at the NCAA Tournament
•    Defeat Butler in the Sweet 16 to even the score of last year's Elite Eight loss at the NCAA Tournament
•    Defeat Florida in the Elite Eight to even the score of an early-season loss to the Gators
•    Defeat Kansas in the semi-finals of the Final Four to win the yearly series over the Jayhawks
•    Defeat Duke in the finals of the Final Four to get revenge from an early-season win


By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State had been winning tennis matches, but coach Steve Bietau would be the first to tell you that while the competition was decent, it wasn't of Big 12 quality.

Then the Wildcats put their 9-1 record on the line against No. 10 Baylor last week and Kansas State ended a decade-long drought against the Bears with a 4-3 victory.

It was Baylor's first loss in Big 12 play in four years, and first loss on their home courts in seven seasons.


By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Let me tell you about one of the most enjoyable, not to mention funniest, 30 minutes I've spent in a long time while in Tucson, Ariz., over the weekend.

Sitting in the far corner of the restaurant of the Hilton Hotel where the K-State team was staying were the Pullens, Jerome and Charlotte. They didn't know it at the time, but in six hours they would watch their son, Jacob, fill up the McKale Center baskets with 38 points, but they would also be watching their son play as a Wildcat for the final time.


Also See: Currie Honored by SportsBusiness Journal

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - There will be a day that at least the jerseys - the No. 0 of Jacob Pullen and the No. 12 of Mike Evans - will be introduced in the rafters of Bramlage Coliseum.

Evans' jersey was retired in 2006, and in the years to come, Pullen's uniform number will join the most elite roll call of Ernie Barrett, Dick Knostman, Jack Parr, Bob Boozer, Willie Murrell, Lon Kruger, Chuckie Williams, Rolando Blackman and Mitch Richmond.

"I don't know much about him, but I'm happy for him. If he can do it, more power to him," said Evans several days prior to Pullen breaking his all-time scoring record at K-State this past Saturday in the NCAA Tournament. "It probably would have been (Michael) Beasley had he stayed in school. Tell Jacob that I'm happy for him."


STORRS, Conn. - Scoring the ball has been K-State's bugaboo all season and it reared its ugly head at the worst of times here Sunday at the NCAA Tournament in a 53-45 loss to Purdue in a First Round game played at Gampel Pavilion.

The Wildcats didn't score until the 12:55 mark of the first half (0-of-12), had a measly 17 points at the half, finally the season-low 45-point total, and the lowest output for K-State in its 22-game NCAA history.


STORRS, Conn. - Scoring the ball has been K-State's bugaboo all season and it reared its ugly head at the worst of times here Sunday at the NCAA Tournament in a 53-45 loss to Purdue in a First Round game played at Gampel Pavilion.

The Wildcats didn't score until the 12:55 mark of the first half (0-of-12), had a measly 17 points at the half, finally the season-low 45-point total, and the lowest output for K-State in its 22-game NCAA history.


By Mark Janssen

TUSCON, Ariz. - Jacob Pullen's 38 points wasn't enough. Arguably, Pullen's greatest game as a Wildcat was not enough.

With Pullen setting K-State's all-time scoring record with 2,132 points, it wasn't enough as Wisconsin won the Third Round game at the Southeast Regional here at the McKale Center 70-65.


By Mark Janssen

Brittany Chambers is good ... a really, really, really good shooter from 20, 22 and even 24 feet is not out of her comfort zone.

How good is she? Could she be Laurie Koehn good?

Now, that brings a burst of laughter from the current K-State basketball marksman: "Never would I compare myself to her. I can be good when I'm open and feeling it, but Laurie is great every day ... 24-7. She's the best shooter, boy or girl, I've ever seen."


By Mark Janssen

TUSCON,Ariz. - Jacob Pullen became Kansas State University's all-time leading scorer, but Wisconsin ended the career of No. 0, and the season for his Wildcat teammates, with a 70-65 decision here at the McKale Center in NCAA Tournament play.

Pullen tied his career high of 38 points setting K-State's all-time scoring record with 2,132, or 17 more than Mike Evans, but that's all the Wildcats could take away on this night.

No. 53 Upsets No. 10 Baylor on Court

WACO, Texas - For just the fourth time in the history of the series and the first time since the 2000 season, No. 53 Kansas State defeated No. 10 Baylor, 4-3, on Friday night at the Baylor Tennis Center. K-State won its Big 12 opener for the first time since the 2006 season and halted a 10-match losing streak to the Lady Bears.

K-State improved to 10-1 this season and is now 1-0 in Big 12 action. With the victory, Kansas State reached the 10-win mark for the first time since the 2006 campaign and registered its third win over an opponent in the Campbell/ITA National Rankings. Friday night's match was the first of five straight matches for the Wildcats against ranked opponents. Baylor falls to 9-3 this season and 1-1 in league play.


By Mark Janssen

No one can say it better than Shalee Lehning about her current life: "I have the best of both worlds. I'm doing what I've dreamed about my whole life. I'm still able to play in the WNBA, and now I'm being paid to coach the game. It's a fun time in my life. I hope it can go for as long as it can."

Lehning is a second-year assistant coach with Kansas State's women's basketball team AND a two-year pro in the WNBA with the Atlanta Dream.


By Mark Janssen

TUCSON, Ariz. - The game was back on March 20, when Kansas State lost to Wisconsin 72-55 in the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

In that game Michael Beasley scored 23 and Bill Walker 18, but Jacob Pullen was held to four as the third highest scorer on the team.


By Mark Janssen

TUSCON, Ariz. - Jacob Pullen admits to thinking about it: "Being a senior, it's the last trip around. You think about it's your last time touching the ball in a college jersey. You never want to have that feeling, but at the same time, you have to prepare for it and try not to let that happen too soon."

What Pullen has accomplished at K-State in the last four years will be in the record books for many media guides to come. With the Wildcats win over Utah State on Thursday, he joined Luis Colon and Chris Merriwether as the all-time winningest K-State players with 95 victories.


By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - If Kansas State can play winning baseball, this Big 12 opening to the 2011 season is going to be a huge plus. If not, "We'll be in for a struggle to get back in it. It's a tough way to open the season," said Wildcat coach Brad Hill.

K-State's baseballers open conference play tonight at six at the University of Texas, with other games at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday in Austin.


By Mark Janssen

TUCSON, Ariz. - Collectively, Kansas State had every answer. The problem, however, was that the Wildcats had to keep coming up with answer after answer.

Utah State would close the gap, and a Wildcat would answer ... every single time ... as No. 21 K-State defeated the No. 19 Aggies 73-68 here at the McKale Center in the NCAA Tournament.

Notes and Quotes from Tucson

By Mark Janssen   

PULLEN SICKISH: K-State's Jacob Pullen missed the Wildcats two practices on Wednesday due to flu-like symptoms. Wildcat officials fully expect Pullen to be ready for tonight's 8:57 tipoff at the McKale Center against Utah State.

SPRADLING USED TO TOUGH-TOUGH COACHES: One of those Frank Martin has been toughest on this season has been freshman guard Will Spradling.

On Martin's toughness on his son, his father Shannon Spradling said, "(Will) called home early in the year and said that I was way tougher on him than Frank, and that's truthful."

Utah State More than Mid-Major

By Mark Janssen    

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Big Dance has arrived for Kansas State and Utah State with the tipoff at 8:57 central tonight at the McKale Center on the University of Arizona campus.

On the key to a Wildcat victory, K-State coach Frank Martin talked of the discipline of the Aggies (30-3) and his Wildcats (22-10) pressurized play.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 17

Good evening from March Madness!

Hats off to the baseball team for making our night with a 6-5 triumph over the Cornhuskers at Tointon Family Stadium. I followed the game on my Blackberry via the relatively new Gametracker application- cool stuff!

On our men's basketball flight to Tucson Tuesday afternoon from Manhattan, I spent time signing a big stack of thank you notes to brand new Ahearn Fund donors.

Fun Facts on the Wildcats

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Learning about these Wildcat men and women during the 2010-11 season has been a treat. Just being around them, one picks up a few tidbits, plus there's information from the media guides produced by Tom Gilbert and Randy Peterson that can make one go 'huh" or "hummmm."

Here's an example.
Freshman ALEX POTUZAK was asked about his biggest thrill to date?
The answer: "skydiving."

Diamond Cats Look to 'Repair" in Some Areas

By Mark Janssen    

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Stinging from a 2-2 weekend against Long Island University, Kansas State baseball coach Brad Hill says, "It's time to repair some things after taking a couple losses that we shouldn't have."

Starting tonight at 6:30 when the Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Tointon Family Stadium, Hill said, "I want to see a much more focused team on how we approach the game and making sure we understand what it takes to be successful."

Wildcats Ready to Rebound from Lapse in KC

By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Jacob Pullen is a self-admitted basketball junkie, so immediately after hearing the announcement that the Wildcats were going to play Utah State in the NCAA Tournament, he said, "I've seen them in some of those late-night games from the west coast. They play a match-up zone, can rebound it and shoot it from all five spots."

Of perhaps his No. 5-seeded Wildcat team looking past the No. 12 Aggies, Pullen said, "I hope not. I wouldn't think so. Those teams find ways to win. Those teams are good, but they don't get the exposure because they play so late. We better be ready and play with a sense of urgency because the next loss is your last game."

Wildcat Women Go Danicin' with Purdue

By Mark Janssen    

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's women's basketball team had to wait until the last NCAA Tournament regional was announced Monday evening on ESPN, but when the Wildcat name was called as a No. 8 seed in the Philadelphia Regional, cheers erupted from those at a watch party at the Colbert Hills Golf Course.

The Wildcats will play the Purdue Boilermakers at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday in Storrs, Conn., and will be joined by No. 1-ranked Connecticut and Hartford in the four-team bracket. The team that wins twice will advance the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia, with the dream of advancing to the Final Four in Indianapolis on April 3 and 5.

Stewart: Once a 'Cat Always a 'Cat

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Like so many who have come before him, Clent Stewart continues to carry the motto: Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

"I try to watch them as much as I can," said the former Wildcat guard during a recent visit to the K-State campus. "If not on television, I definitely know when they're playing and I'll check the box score the next day. I know they didn't have some games that went like they wanted early, but that time of year is all about continued growth and getting ready for the postseason."

Wildcats No. 5 Seed, will Play Utah State

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will be dancing in Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday when it takes on Utah State in the Southeast Regional of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats received a No. 5 seed, which ranked only behind No. 1 seeded Kansas and No. 4 seeded Texas from the Big 12 Conference, which received five invitations.

Shaw Picks the Best Referees for the Postseason

By Mark Janssen
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's that time of the year when the best of the best emerge to play on another day, and, the same is true for the men in black and white stripes who officiate the game.

Gripe all you want, throw a shoe at the TV screen when you don't like a call, but what you have been seeing in Kansas City this week at the Big 12 Championship have proven themselves to be the best officials in this league for this 2010-11 basketball season.

Wildcat Men Finish 18th at NCAA Championship

COLLEGE STATION, Texas. - The Kansas State Wildcats made an impact at what long time track and field coach Cliff Rovelto called the best NCAA Championship meet he has ever seen. The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships saw the Wildcat men finish in a tie for 18th and the women 45th. The weekend was highlighted by Mantas Silkauskas in the heptathlon and Erik Kynard in the high jump.

Silkauskas finished seventh in the heptathlon with his score of 5,822 points breaking the school record. The depth of the heptathlon was impressive as his score was the highest score to finish seventh at the NCAA meet. The same went for third place all the way down to Silkauskas in seventh. The top eight finishers who all earned points toward their team totals all set personal bests in the event.

Wildcats Have No Answer for Bears, Griner

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner dominating, but with a cast of all-stars around her, the Baylor Lady Bears demonstrated quickly why they are the No. 3-ranked team in the nation Friday in handing K-State an 86-53 semi-final loss here in the Big 12 Championship.

"We knew we would have to bring something special into this game and we didn't really do that," said K-State senior Kelsey Hill. "We didn't come out with that fire and intensity."

Before the first media timeout, the Lady Bears had opened a 10-3 lead with Griner netting six points, plus anchoring a swarming defense that limited K-State to 1-of-6 from the field, plus two turnovers.

The count would quickly up to 22-5.


"I don't think so," said Hill. "We've played them, and they put their shorts on the same way we do. We've beaten the No. 5 team in the nation in A&M, so I don't think it was intimidation. We just didn't do what was characteristic for this team. We didn't fight, we didn't go after loose balls, and we didn't box out. Those are things we have to have."

After falling behind by 17 in the first nine minutes of the game, K-State engaged its 22- to 25-foot game during one stretch late in the first half when Hill drained three 3-pointers, and fellow reserve Alina Voronenko another in a 14-6 Purple flurry that cut a 22-5 margin to 28-19, but that's where the fun would stop.

"I felt it was a game of two halves," said K-State coach Deb Patterson. "The first half we might not have been at our best, but it was still a competition. In the second 20 minutes we failed to get the job done and were not competitive."

The Wildcats trailed at the half 41-26, and at the end of the day Baylor had scored 86 points, which included 7-of-10 from 3-point range and out-rebounded K-State by 28, 52-24, with 22 of the Lady Bear rebounds coming on offense leading to 18 second-chance points.

"They just killed us on the boards, and that's on the shoulders of all of us that played," said K-State guard Taelor Karr. "We all have to get a body on somebody, box out and be more physical."

Agreeing was Hill: "It came down to the work phases. You've got to box out. You've got to hustle and scramble. We didn't bring it."

Baylor did bring it with three sophomores, a freshman and a senior in the starting lineup. Griner scored 21 points, while Destiny Williams added 18.

STARS OF THE GAME: Senior Kelsey Hill had her career-high scoring game of 14 points, which included 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Hill's previous high had been 12 at Colorado earlier this year.

Alina Voronenko came off the bench to play 21 minutes and scored nine points with a team-high six rebounds. She also had two assists and a blocked shot. Entering the game, Voronenko had been averaging 3.5 points per game, and Hill 2.6 points.

STAT OF THE GAME: K-State went 11-of-25 from 3-point range in the game, but inside against the 6-8 Griner, could muster only 9-of-32 shooting from two-point range.

In the first half, the Wildcats swished seven 3-pointers (7-of-13), but only two shots (2-of-13) from two-range with the second half being much more of the same.

"If you don't establish some pressure on the rim and some post touches against Baylor, your life is just going to be so difficult on every offensive possession because Baylor is so athletic, so strong and they have big bodies and great athletes."

And Baylor has Griner, which led Baylor coach Kim Mulkey to say, "I don't care what post players you have, she makes you change your game plan because she's just so big in there. She alters shots."

Five Wildcats hit 3-balls with Hill scoring four, Karr three, Voronenko two, plus one each from Brittany Chambers and Mariah White. It was White's first 3-point attempt since Dec. 20, and first made trey since the second game of the season on Nov. 13.

"K-State is hard to guard. They shoot it all over the floor," said Mulkey. "Just when you think you're in the range where they won't shoot, they will shoot it."

CHILDS CAN'T GO: K-State's Jalana Childs continues to be hampered by a hip flexor injury suffered 10 days ago. After playing nearly the entire game on Wednesday, Childs started, but could only play three minutes against Baylor.

Heading into next week's NCAA Tournament, Patterson said, "I think she should be OK. Today she didn't feel she could go, so we didn't utilize her, but I expect to have her for the NCAA Tournament."

TRIVIA: Ironically, the three best games in terms of assists at the Big 12 Championship happened to come from K-Staters. Can you name them?

K-State reserves scored 25 points while the starters scored 28.
The 86 points were the highest scored against K-State this year, and the most since Wyoming scored 89 in an 89-79 triple-overtime loss to the Cowgirls in the 2007 WNIT.
Baylor's first foul of the game didn't come until the 3:35 mark of the first half on a charging call. The Lady Bears were called for only five fouls the entire game. BU out-scored K-State at the line 15-of-23 to 2-of-4.
Thirteen Lady Bears played with 10 of those scoring and 12 of the 13 snaring at least one rebound.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The top three assist games at the Big 12 Championship events have come from Megan Mahoney with 12 in 2004, Jenny Coalson with 11 in 1998, and Brit Jacobson with 10 in 1997.

UP NEXT: The NCAA pairings will be announced Monday evening at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The most recent ever changing bracket posted by ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme had K-State as a No. 8 seed and playing West Virginia on the Stanford campus.

As to where the Wildcats might be sent, or with what seeding, Patterson said, "You might not believe this, but I can't even tell you where all of the regionals are. I'm focused in on our team. I might be the only coach on the planet that way."

MARTIN INTO HALL OF FAME: Kansas State University men's basketball coach Frank Martin and Philadelphia Eagles center Jamaal Jackson head the 2011 Class of the Miami High Hall of Fame.

A 1983 Miami High graduate, Martin is in his fourth year leading the Wildcats basketball program. Last season, Kansas State reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and expect to earn another tournament bid this season. Before beginning his collegiate coaching career, Martin guided Miami High to three consecutive state championships between 1995 and 1998.

Martin's assistant coach, Doug Edwards, was inducted into the Miami High Hall of Fame in 2009.

The new inductees will be recognized in the Hall of Fame induction ceremony April 16 at the Miami High Auditorium.

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.

Colorado Completes Sweep of Wildcats

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas State's run of six straight victories came to an end here Thursday as Colorado won for an unprecedented third time against the Wildcats in a single season in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Championship.

"We couldn't defend them. They beat us three times, so they're just better than we are. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it," said K-State coach Frank Martin. It's been proven on the floor."

Rovelto Hoping for Top 10 Finish

By Mark Janssen    

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It hasn't been since 1993 that Kansas State's track and field team last placed in the Top 10 at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

With a "solid meet" today and Saturday, Wildcat coach Cliff Rovelto says, "We could be in the Top 10."

Patterson Wants to See Wildcats Compete in Semis

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Will the little Brittany with an "any" win, or will the big Brittney with a "ney" prevail?

Tune in to today's game at noon in the semi-final round of the Big 12 Championship in Municipal Auditorium where Kansas State (21-9), starring Brittany Chambers, takes on No. 3-ranked Baylor (29-2), with Brittney Griner as the headliner.

K-State Defense as Important as Offense

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jacob Pullen admits that any thoughts of him becoming a defensive ace would have been met with outright laughter four years ago when he arrived at K-State out of Maywood, Ill.

Hee-haws would have come from his prep coach at Proviso East High back in Chicago. Cackles would have been heard from his own family. Heck, even his new coach at K-State, Frank Martin, would have had a belly laugh on the thought of Pullen becoming a two-time member of the Big 12's All-Defensive Team.

Wildcats Make Final Defensive Stop Against Cyclones

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With 10 minutes of basketball left to play and her team mounting a double-figure lead, Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said, "I knew it would somehow come down to the last possession."

And, she was right. It took a full 40 minutes of hoop play for Kansas State to defeat Iowa State 56-53 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship on Wednesday at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.

Childs Demonstrates Toughness

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Deb Patterson said it before the season, and has had every reason to restate the thought multiple times during this 20-9 women's basketball season.

The thought: Jalana Childs has a chance to play in the WNBA.

Game of Henriquez-Roberts Maturing

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Coaches aren't supposed to have favorites, but if one cornered Frank Martin and forced him into an off-the-record comment about his appreciation of individual talent, it's a good bet that Jordan Henriquez-Roberts would be one of the first mentioned.

Even as a naïve freshman a year ago, and now into this sophomore season, Martin says of Henriquez-Roberts, "He has such a willingness to learn. He doesn't care if you scream at him or hug him. He shows up the next day and wants more.

Kynard Soars to New Heights

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Erik Kynard appears to be a quiet, mild-mannered young man ... for the most part.

But if something goes against this K-State high jumper, he can be verbally lashing.

"I can say not nice things to a high jump bar," Kynard said, adding a soft chuckle. "I'll keep it PG, but I don't say nice things. That high jump bar wins more times than not. When you one-up the bar, that's a big deal because that bar wins most of the time at the end."

Patterson Hopes Ride Will Continue

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Peaking is a most inexact science in the world of sports, and to be honest, it has Kansas State women's coach Deb Patterson stewing heading into the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City.

She admits, "I think we played our best basketball last week," in reference to consecutive must wins over No. 5 Texas A&M and at arch-rival Kansas.

Wildcats Play Collective Season to Remember

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kudos to Kansas State coaches Frank Martin and Deb Patterson, who have skippered their respective Wildcat basketball teams into first-round byes in the same Big 12 Championship year for just the second time in school history.

Not only that, but K-State and Texas A&M are the only two league schools to get both their teams into the top four of the league standings and the only two Big 12 teams that are pretty much assured of a spot in next week's men's and women's NCAA Tournament.

K-State Sports Extra Big 12 Basketball Awards

By Mark Janssen    

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Big 12 Conference will announce its all-conference honors this afternoon for the men, and Monday for the women.

Just for fun before the seriousness of Big 12 Championship play begins on Tuesday and Wednesday, here are "Sports Extras" vote for some of the top awards.

Wildcats Clinch No. 4 Seed with Win Over KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. -  Jalana Childs led a trio of Wildcats in double figures with 16 points as Kansas State held on late to knock off rival Kansas Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, 56-51, in the regular season finale for both teams.

With the win, K-State (20-9, 10-6) finished the regular season in a tie for third place in the Big 12 standings with Oklahoma and will be the No. 4 seed in next week's conference tournament, which includes a first-round bye.

Pullen, Kelly Say Farewell with Win

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - They fought the pregame Senior Day tears, and lost; then they played the game, and won.

 In a day crammed with emotions, Kansas State seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly concluded their Bramlage Coliseum career with a 67-55 victory over Iowa State.

With the win, K-State ties Texas A&M for third place at 10-6 in the Big 12 Conference and will be seeded No. 4 in the Big 12 Championship with their first game coming Thursday at 2 p.m. in Kansas City's Sprint Center. During the regular season, the Aggies defeated the Wildcats 64-56 to earn the tie-breaker.

Big Final Saturday of Hoops

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - What can the Wildcats do for an encore today as the men of Frank Martin entertain Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum, and the women of Deb Patterson travel to play Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse?

K-State's men opened the week with a 75-70 victory over No. 8 Texas in Austin on Monday.
On Wednesday, the Wildcat women stunned No. 5 Texas A&M, 71-67.

Saying Farewell to No. 0

Editor's Note: Thank you tears of appreciation and athletic-love will be shared this afternoon when K-State takes on Iowa State at 12:30 p.m. in what will be the final home game in the careers of Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly. Sports Extra featured Kelly on Thursday, and today tries to put into questions and answers Pullen's four-year stay as a Wildcat.

The leading candidate for Big 12 Conference Player of the Year recognition, Pullen has scored 2,037 points putting him in the No. 2 spot in K-State history just 78 points in back of Mike Evans, and No. 5 in Big 12 history. No Wildcat has ever played more games than Pullen (131), scored more 3-pointers (287), had more twin figure scoring games (101) or picked off more steals (207).

Earlier this week Sports Extra sat down with the Maywood, Ill., product to define his Wildcat career.

By Mark Janssen

SPORTS EXTRA: Jake, four years ... 131 games ... is it hard to believe that this will be the last one in Bramlage Coliseum, and the end is no more than 10 games away?

JACOB PULLEN: I've refused to face that fact. I've chosen to think about just playing games, wining each game and not thinking about the few number of games that are left.

Wildcats Dancing After Big Win

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Texas A&M basketball coach Gary Blair greeted K-State's Deb Patterson after Wednesday's 71-67 Wildcat upset of the No. 5 Aggies with a handshake, and, "Welcome to the NCAA Tournament, Kansas State. You just punched your ticket."

On this particular night, the Aggies (24-4, 12-3) in Blair's words, "got beat by the better team."

Kynard Makes Watch List for Track and Field's Heisman

By Mark Janssen

Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard is on the watch list for The Bowerman, which is track and field's most prestigious collegiate award.

The Wildcat sophomore has won five straight events, which includes clearing a school record of 7-7.75. That mark also ranks as the third highest collegiate jump in history. This past weekend Kynard won the Big 12 Indoor title last week at a height of 7-4.25.

"It is quite an honor for Erik to be included on The Bowerman Watch List," K-State coach Cliff Rovelto said. "The athletes on this list are all truly world class athletes. We are very proud of Erik's achievements and maturity he has shown in embracing the process of growing as an athlete."

Kelly Travels 'Long Winding Road'

Writer's Note: A Beatle-ologist, I am not, but the tune "Long Winding Road" came to mind after chatting with Kansas State's Curtis Kelly when preparing for his senior story. While Paul McCartney authored his words on stretches of the east coast of Scotland, Kelly's travels went from the projects of the Bronx in New York City, to the University of Connecticut campus, and finally to the Flint Hills of Kansas and Kansas State University. In reading about McCartney's poetry set to music, it's sad, searching and longing for love of others. The words seem defined only by one's imagination ... and to a degree, Curtis Kelly's life.

By Mark Janssen
"... The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear"

Curtis Ezell Kelly grew up in the projects of the Bronx living with his mother, Tamatha Kelly, or aunt, in everything from a shelter to low-income housing.

"I wasn't a bad kid, but I got into trouble because I hung around trouble makers," reflected Kelly, who was the New York City Player of the Year as a senior at Rice High School in 2005-06. "Where would I be without basketball ... (long pause) ... I don't know. I wonder."

Sure to Be Emotional Night for Hill

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kelsey Hill admits to being an emotional type of girl.

She admits to wondering if the tears will flow tonight when she is joined by her parents, Kevin and Cheryl, on K-State's Senior Night in Bramlage Coliseum when the Wildcats line up against Texas A&M at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

"I've been playing basketball since I was five, and traveling all over the country playing since I was nine," said the 5-foot-5 senior. "Basketball has been such a huge part of my life."

Perception Becomes Reality with Wildcats

By Mark Janssen

No one said it better than 19-year-old Shane Southwell following Monday's 75-70 victory over No. 7 ranked Texas.

Just listen to the rookie, who stepped up to have an eight-point, four-assist, three-blocked shot game against the Longhorns: "At the beginning of the year everybody thought we could beat everybody. Nothing has changed. We just struggled at the beginning of the year, but isn't this what everybody expected?"

Yes, it is, Shane.

Letter From A.D. John Currie - March 1

Good Afternoon Wildcats!

Last night was a fun one for the Wildcats with an impressive nationally-televised Big Monday win at No. 7 Texas. We are all very proud of Coach Martin and our team for the way they battled back from a halftime deficit to take K-State to a 3-1 Big Monday record for 2011. As I pulled into the driveway about 1:30 a.m. this morning after the team flight home from Austin I couldn't help but reflect on an extremely busy five days or so around the department, a stretch representational of our vision of having a model intercollegiate athletics program.

Wildcats 8th, 9th at Big 12 Indoor

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State track and field coach Cliff Rovelto said his Wildcats "... did a little bit better on both sides than what we had written down heading into the meet."

K-State placed eighth (35 points) in the women's division and ninth (42.5) in the men's portion of the Big 12 Indoor Championships that were staged Friday and Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

The Wildcats had one gold medalist in Erik Kynard, who sailed over the bar at 7-4.25 in the high jump.

Spani Finds Watching Tougher Than Playing

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Life after basketball? Shalin Spani laughs as she says, "There is life, but it's hard."

Asked if she will ever lace up Nike sneakers and play hoops again, she says, "Ahhhh," as if seriously thinking about it, but finally a dose of reality kicks in completing the thought. "No, I won't (play again). I really want to, my heart says I want to, but there's no way. (Pause) But I'm going to fight it until the end."