March 25, 2014
By Mark Janssen
Where were you on March 24, 1994? It's a good bet that you were not in Bramlage Coliseum.
That's because only 5,252 fans were on hand for the National Invitational Tournament postseason game between Kansas State and Fresno State when the Cats tied the school's scoring record in a 115-77 victory.
Here's saying what the vast majority of you missed on that night was a Kansas State record that will never be broken. That's never!
It was on that night that Askia Jones scorched the nets for 62 points, a K-State record by 15 over Chuckie Williams' 47-point effort against Holy Cross in 1975.
In the process, Jones netted 14 3-pointers, which included nine in a row in one stretch. The 14 made treys is eight more than any other Wildcat ever recorded.
"I remember calling my mom after the game to tell her I scored 62," reflected Jones. "She said, 'You mean the team scored 62?' She got pretty dramatic after I said, 'No, I had 62.'"
It was estimated that the 18 made field goals measured 390 feet with eight buckets coming from the left side, eight from the right and two from the top of the key.
"Guarded, unguarded, it didn't matter because he was knocking them down," said K-State coach Dana Altman, who watched his team notch its 20th win of the season and advance to the NIT's Final Four in New York City.
Get this. The 62 points were 29 more than the previous Bramlage Coliseum record of 33 set by Rick Brunson of Temple in 1993.
Get this. Jones did it in just 28 minutes played, and he did it on only 25 shot attempts, plus going 12-of-16 from the foul stripe. Yeah... 62 points in just 28 minutes of court time and on just 25 shot attempts!
AND, get this. During one second-half stretch of 2:31 - 15:09 to 12:38 - Jones scored 20 straight points!
AND, AND, get this. Jones did not score in the first four minutes of the game and had just five points 10 minutes into the game. He scored 17 points in the first half and 45 in the second!
"Anthony Beane (point guard) and the rest of the guys just kept looking for me," said Jones, whose previous high was 35 points against Wyoming as a sophomore. "I was in that zone and they kept milking me. Honestly, I didn't know how many I had. I thought it might have been close to 50, but I had no idea of the records."
Ski may not have known of the records, but a K-State fan by the name of Bob Pottroff was sitting within ear shot of Wildcat assistant coach Ken Turner. Twice Pottroff yelled at Turner to get Jones back in because he was close to Williams' record, and then Wayman Tisdale's all-time Big 8 mark.
For the record, the 14 treys in one game ranks second in NCAA history to Marshall's Keith Veney, who netted 15 against Morehead State, and, the 62 points is tied for 12th on the all-time NCAA charts for a single game.
To be honest, even the competition got a kick out of Jones' heroics.
"I almost started cheering for him from the bench," said Fresno State's Brian Santiago, who fouled out. "On the court you would hear him say, 'Dang it,' or, 'It's short,' but every time it would swish through the net. I don't know how many times I just said, 'Unbelievable!'"
Teammate Deryl Cunningham joked after the game, "Askia and I had 72 points between us. I saw a performance like that once before but it was on Michael Jordan's 'Come Fly With Me' video."
While Jones was certainly "zoned in," the evening with the blazing hot hand did not come as a complete surprise.
"I didn't tell many people, but I would go over to the rec after home games and play games with the regular student body," said Jones, who scored 51 points in his final prep game for Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas, plus enjoyed four games of at least 60 points in professional basketball overseas... but never 62. "I know the competition was different, but there were nights over there where I wouldn't miss a 3-point shot."
Plus, he reflected, "When I had that broken foot early in my career, I had to use a walker, but I wouldn't leave the gym without hitting 10 3-pointers in a row."
While going undrafted after he graduated in 1994, Jones, the son of 13-year NBA veteran Wali Jones, did hook on with the Minnesota Timberwolves and played in 11 games and scored a total of 45 points before entering a career of international basketball.
Ski's foreign stops have been in Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Brazil and currently Venezuela where he has dual citizenship and currently serves as a player-coach with Team Gaiteros.
Laughing, Jones said, "At 42 you just discover different ways to play. I've never been that athletic and I've continued to have knee issues, but I've figured out ways to play as an old man."
As a young man, few accomplished what Jones did at K-State. While he played 20 years ago, his 1,834 career points still rank No. 4 in Kansas State history, and his 237 treys is only behind Jacob Pullen's 299 and Steve Henson's 240.
"K-State was great for me," said Jones. "Coach (Lon) Kruger and Coach (Dana) Altman were great to play for, and Greg Grensing (K-State assistant coach) was like a father-figure for me."
The people were a personal K-State high, but also this: "I was on teams that beat Kansas in two games in a row. Not many players can say that."
Jones added of his Kansas State career, "I still bleed purple."