K-State Wraps Up Non-Con Play vs. Savannah State Monday

Sophomore Wally Judge is averaging a double-double in the past two games.

Jan. 2, 2011

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17/17 Kansas State (11-3, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. Savannah State (2-14)

Date: Monday, January 3, 2011  |  Tipoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.  |  Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)  |  Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com  |  Internet: ESPN Full Court/ESPN3.com
Television: FOX Sports Kansas City (Ben Boyle, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst; Allan Flowers, producer)  |  Channels: DirecTV 672, Dish 447
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Matt Walters, analyst)  | 
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 130   
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 83-35 (.703) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Savannah State - Horace Broadnax (Georgetown ‘86) is 97-195 (.332) in his 10th season as a coach and 55-107 (.340) in sixth season at the school.
Series: K-State leads 2-0  |  Martin vs. Broadnax:  1-0  |   K-State vs. Independents:  7-1  |  Last time vs. Independent:  W, NCCU, 2/17/09
Last Time Out:  K-State knocked off North Florida, 100-76, at home on Dec. 31, while Savannah State lost at Southern Miss, 64-54, on Dec. 30.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 17 in both AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls released Dec. 27, while Savannah State is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: Available by calling the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.k-statesports.com.

K-State concludes non-conference play vs. Savannah State
No. 17/17 Kansas State (11-3) wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule on Monday night, as the Wildcats play host to Savannah State (2-14) at Bramlage Coliseum at 7 p.m. CT.  It will be the first game of 2011 for the squad, who have won 11 of their last 13 non-conference games in January dating back to 2000-01, including an impressive 11-0 mark at home.  The team has not lost a non-conference contest in January since dropping a 70-64 loss to Long Beach State on Jan. 4, 2000.  The Wildcats have won 31 consecutive non-conference games at Bramlage Coliseum dating back to a overtime loss to Oregon on Nov. 29, 2007.  The game will be broadcast regionally by FOX Sports Kansas City with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call, while it will be available nationally on ESPN Full Court and on ESPN3.com.  The team is 59-4 (.937) at home against non-conference foes since 2004-05, including 33-2 (.943) under head coach Frank Martin.

K-State posted perhaps its best shooting game this season on New Year’s Eve, as the Wildcats tallied its first 100-point game of the season and the first since the Xavier game in the NCAA Tournament with a 100-76 win over North Florida.  It was the first regulation 100-point contest since the Gardner-Webb game on Dec. 14, 2008 and the fifth overall by a Frank Martin-coached team.  The team set season-highs for field goal percentage (57.4; 35-of-61), 3-point field goal percentage (58.8; 10-of-17) and free throw percentage (76.9; 20-of-26).  The squad also set season-bests for points (100), field goals (35), assists (26) and points in a half (57) and field goal percentage in a half (60.6; 20-of-33).  It was the most assists in a contest in more than two years since the Wildcats had 30 dimes against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, 2008.   

All this offensive production was even more impressive because it came without three starters, as seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly sat out their third consecutive game due to secondary NCAA rules violations, while junior Freddy Asprilla was out due to illness.  Pullen and Kelly were declared ineligible on Dec. 20 by K-State after athletics officials confirmed they had received impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing at a local department store.  The school learned prior to the UNLV game on Tuesday, Dec. 21 that Pullen would be required to miss three games as a result of a ruling by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff.  The university announced on Dec. 28 that Kelly would miss six games due to his involvement.  Pullen will be eligible to return on Monday, while Kelly will be available for the Texas Tech contest on Saturday, Jan. 15.  The suspensions were disappointing for a Kansas State team counting on the leadership of its lone two seniors, most notably Pullen, who became the school’s first preseason All-American and was the coaches’ top pick as the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year.  The leader scorer in nine of 11 games, Pullen saw his streak of 115 consecutive games played end with the suspension, including 82 starts in a row.  The 115-game streak is fifth-longest in school history and the longest since Steve Henson played in 127 straight contests from 1987-90.  Kelly, who joined Pullen on the preseason All-Big 12 team, ranked third in scoring at 10.3 points per game after earning recognition to several All-Newcomer teams as a junior.

Despite the absence of these players, the youthful Wildcats topped the 100-point barrier for the first time this season in the 100-76 win over North Florida.  The team closed out the month of December with its 24th consecutive non-conference victory at Bramlage Coliseum, which dates back to a 76-66 loss to Rutgers on Dec. 28, 2004.  Starting three sophomores and a freshman for the third consecutive contest, the team raced out to a 57-41 halftime edge behind 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range then maintained their hot shooting in the second half to extend their Bramlage Coliseum winning streak against non-conference foes to 31 games.  It was the most points in a first half since scoring 58 against Gardner-Webb in 2008 and the first game to top 50 points in a half since the Oklahoma State game on March 11, 2010.  Since posting its worst two-game scoring stretch (51.5 ppg.) since 2006 in losses to Florida and UNLV, the Wildcats are averaging 90 points in the last two games on 48.1 percent shooting (64-of-133), including 58.3 percent (21-of-36) from 3-point range.  The team also tallied double-digits 3-pointers for second consecutive games against the Ospreys, marking the first time since January 2009 that they have had back-to-back games of 10 or more 3-point field goals.  The squad controlled the boards once again with 42 rebounds, including 18 offensive boards, while posting 40 points in the paint for the second time this season.  It marked the ninth time that the team has collected 40 or more rebounds.

The Wildcats got another balanced scoring efforts against North Florida, as five players scored in double figures led by the 20-point outings of junior Jamar Samuels and sophomore Wally Judge.  The two players combined to score 48 points on 70.8 percent (17-of-24) shooting, as they became the first Wildcat duo to each record 20-point outings since Denis Clemente, Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly each topped the barrier in the double-overtime win over Xavier in the NCAA Tournament.  Samuels posted just his second 20-point game of his career, as he came up just one short of his career-high of 27 against Oklahoma State last season.  He went 11-of-15 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 23 minutes.  He has 10 assists to just one turnover in the past two games.  Judge turned in a career day, as he earned a career-high 22 points on 6-of-9 field goals with a team-high nine rebounds and three assists in a career-best 30 minutes.  He was also impressive from the free throw line, connecting on 10-of-13 shots, which marked not only a career-high but also the most by a Wildcat this season.  Judge, who missed some time this season dealing with personal issues, is averaging a double-double (18 ppg., 10 rpg.) in the last two games.  Freshman Will Spradling added double-digit points for the second consecutive game with 11 points, while reserves Juevol Myles and Victor Ojeleye each tallied a career-high 12 points.  The team has had 12 different players reach double figures in at least one game this season.    

K-State was disappointing on the defensive end against North Florida, allowing 70 or more points for just second time this season on nearly 49 percent shooting, including 40.9 percent from 3-point range.  It marked the first time since the Duke game that the team has allowed more than 70 points in game and the fifth time to allow an opponent to connect on 40 percent or more from the field.  Despite the poor game, the Wildcats have still held 11 opponents to 65 points or less, including eight of the last nine, while holding eight foes to under 40 percent shooting from the field.  The team did hold the Ospreys to just 15 rebounds in the game, which is fewest rebounds by an opponent in Bramlage Coliseum history. 
The Wildcats are ranked No. 17 in the seventh editions of both The Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls released on Dec. 27 after starting the season at No. 3 for their highest ever preseason rankings in both polls.  The No. 3 ranking was the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the team ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962.  The squad fell out of the Top 10 on Dec. 20 for the first time in 13 consecutive polls since ranking No. 11 on Jan. 25, 2010.  Overall, the school has appeared in 22 consecutive AP polls dating back to Dec. 14, 2009.  K-State is 232-83 (.737) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 14-3 (.824) as 17th-ranked team.

The Book on Savannah State
Savannah State enters Monday’s game with a 2-14 overall record after dropping a 64-54 decision at Southern Miss on Dec. 30.  The Tigers have played 12 of their 16 games away from home, including 11 true road games.  The squad allowed the Golden Eagles to score just 64 points on 38.6 percent shooting, including 40 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 13 turnovers.  Before the loss at Southern Miss, the team ended a 13-game losing streak on Dec. 29 with a 74-65 victory over SE Louisiana.  It was their first win since opening the season with a 61-33 victory over Brewton-Parker on Nov. 12.  During the season, the squad has played against the likes of Dayton (59-61), Cincinnati (41-54), Indiana (57-79), Georgia Tech (59-69), and Clemson (40-61) with only two games being decided by more than 20 points.  The team returns six lettermen from a squad that posted an 11-15 overall record in 2009-10.  

The Tigers are averaging 54.4 points on 37.9 percent shooting from the field, including 32.2 percent from 3-point range, with 31.8 rebounds, 9.6 assists, 6.8 steals and 3.0 blocks per game.  They rank near the bottom nationally in every offensive category, including 343rd in scoring, 339th in assists and 329th in field goal percentage.  The squad is solid defensively, yielding just 60.9 points on 40.2 percent shooting, including 32.8 percent from beyond the arc, while forcing 15.3 turnovers per game.  The Tigers have a balanced scoring attack with three players averaging in double figures led by senior Jovonni Shuler’s 16.9 points per game.  Shuler is one of three players with 20 or more 3-point field goals, while adding 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.  Sophomore Preston Blackmon is second in scoring at 12.4 points per game, while freshman Jyles Smith is top is rebounding (6.8 rpg.) and blocks (1.8 bpg.). 

Savannah State is led by sixth-year coach Horace Broadnax, who has guided the school to a 55-107 (.340) record.  He has a 97-195 (.332) mark in 10 years as a head coach, which includes a stint at Bethune-Cookman from 1997-2002.  He was a guard on Georgetown’s NCAA championship team in 1984 and won 115 games during his four-year playing career for John Thompson II.  Broadnax also has a law degree from Florida State.        

Series vs. Savannah State
This will be third all-time meeting between K-State and Savannah State on the hardwood and the first since an 85-25 win by the Wildcats in 2008.  The 60-point margin of victory ranks as the second-most in school history behind the 61 over Delaware State in 1991, while the 25 points is the fewest scored by an opponent in Bramlage Coliseum history and fewest by an opponent in the modern era.  The Tigers also set four other marks for futity, including fewest points in a half (four), fewest field goals (nine), lowest field goal percentage (15.5; 9-of-58) and lowest field goal percentage in a half (4.3; 1-of-23).  The only other meeting with Savannah State came in 2004 with the Wildcats earning a 92-51 victory.     

Next Up: at Oklahoma State
K-State opens Big 12 Conference play on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Oklahoma State (11-2) to play the Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena at noon.  The team has lost 10 consecutive games in Stillwater with their last win coming in overtime (75-62) on Jan. 9, 1993.

‘Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play this season in the month of January, where the Wildcats have won 22 of their last 32 games.  The squad is 368-306 (.545) all-time in January with 20 wins in their last 27 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season.  The team has won 11 of their last 13 non-conference games in January dating back to the 2000-01 season, including an impressive 11-0 mark at home.  The Wildcats have not lost a January non-conference contest since dropping a 70-64 loss to Long Beach State on Jan. 4, 2000.  Kansas State has won 17 of its last 26 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including an 8-4 mark on the road.  The squad has won four or more games in the month in each of the last six seasons (the team posted five in 2010), including a perfect 6-0 mark in 2007-08.  The Wildcats have posted a winning mark in January 59 times in school history, including a streak of eight straight season dating back to 2004-05. 

Bench Points
One of the definite advantage of this year’s Kansas State squad is its depth and versatility.  The Wildcats have played at least 10 players in each of its first 14 games, including a high of 14 against No. 18/22 Gonzaga (11/22), Texas Southern (11/26), Emporia State (11/29) and Alcorn State (12/6).  The team has used this depth to its advantage, averaging 28 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its 14 foes by a margin of 392-191.  The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 11 of 14 games, including a string of five straight games of at least 30 points from Nov. 16-26 for the first time under head coach Frank Martin, while it posted 40 or more points of production in back-to-back contests for just the second time under Martin and the first time since 2008-09.  The Wildcats scored 86 points from the bench against Duke (45) and Texas Southern (41), which is the most in consecutive games since they totaled 104 points in games against Idaho State (45, 1/3/09) and Chicago State (59, 1/5/09).  The team has seen 12 different players record 45 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including 16 coming off the bench from seven separate players.  Junior Jamar Samuels leads the way with six double-digit scoring efforts from the bench.           

Youngsters Stepping Up
Even before the suspension of seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly before the UNLV game on Dec. 21, the play of Kansas State’s freshmen and sophomores have played a major role in the team’s solid 11-3 start to the season.  This nucleus has scored 543 of the team’s 1045 points thus far (52 percent), while posting 288 of 590 rebounds (49 percent), 120 of 212 assists (57 percent) and 49 of 99 steals (49 percent).  The group boasts six of the team’s Top 10 scorers, while it includes two of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Twenty-one of 45 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who paces the team in 3-point field goals (32) and rebounding (6.7 rpg.) and is second in minutes played (28.7 mpg.).  McGruder is second in scoring at 11.2 points per game, while fellow sophomores Martavious Irving and Wally Judge are tied for fifth at 6.2 points per game.  Will Spradling, who became just the second rookie guard to earn a start under head coach Frank Martin, is seventh in scoring at 5.9 points per game, while he is second in assists (2.1 apg.) and free throw percentage (82.4).  This group has been even more impressive in the last three games, in which, the Wildcats have averaged nearly 80 points per game (79.7 ppg.), including the school’s first 100-point game of the season, while connecting on 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.  During this period, the team has started three sophomores, one true freshman and one junior with three of the four double-digit scorers being either sophomores or freshmen led by McGruder’s 14.7 points per game.     

Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes.  Since he became coach, the Wildcats have scored 2,223 points off of 1,976 turnovers in 118 games, an average of 18.8 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which, the team has outscored its foes, 247-197.  The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in four games, including a season-best 33 points against Emporia State on Nov. 29.  The team has pressured their foes into 15 or more turnovers in 10 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison.  Before the North Florida game on Friday, the Wildcats were one of just four schools (Louisville, Washington and Cincinnati) to force each of their opponents into more turnovers than assists in every game.  The team’s streak of 17 consecutive games (which led the nation) holding a foe to more turnovers than assists ended on Friday when the Ospreys tallied 14 assists to just 11 turnovers.  It marked the first positive opponent assist-to-turnover ratio since Kansas had 16 assists and 11 turnovers in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 13, 2010.

In 2007-08, K-State averaged 18.9 points off of 16.2 turnovers per game, while in 2008-09, the team scored 25.7 points off of an average of 17.0 turnovers.  The 2009-10 season was no different with the squad averaging 19.9 points off of 16.9 turnovers per game.  K-State scored 20+ points off of turnovers 17 times a year ago, including a school-record 40 against South Dakota.  The team scored 20 or more points off of turnovers versus several marquee opponents, including UNLV (26), Alabama (22), Texas A&M (23), Colorado (23 and 26), Nebraska (22 and 29), Oklahoma (23), Missouri (21), Oklahoma State (23) and Baylor (22).  The Wildcats have a 47-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Martin.
Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
The accolades for Jacob Pullen continue to mount, as the senior was named a preseason first team All-American by The Associated Press earlier this month.  Pullen, who has been selected to a number of All-American teams, was joined on the first team by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Duke’s Kyle Singler.  Pullen was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading Kansas State to its first Elite Eight since 1988.  He has already been named a preseason All-American by a number of media outlets, including to the first team by ESPN.com, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, to the second team by Dick Vitale and to the third team by Athlon Sports.  He was also selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, while he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T on Nov. 16.  Pullen is also a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given to the nation’s top all-around senior basketball player.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior guard Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his fourth and final season at K-State.  With his game-high 19 points against Florida on Saturday, he moved past Bob Boozer (1,685, 1956-59) into fourth place on the school’s all-time scoring chart.  This came after his 19-point output at Loyola Chicago on Dec. 11 moved him past Steve Henson (1,655, 1987-90).  Just the sixth player in school history and the first since Askia Jones in 1993 to top the 1,600-point barrier, Pullen’s current total of 1,688 points in 115 career games is less than 200 points behind Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81)and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94) for second and third places, respectively.  One of three players (Mike Evans and Rolando Blackman) in school history to score 1,500 points in his first three seasons, he has an outside chance (needs 427 points) to become the school’s all-time scoring champion, which is currently held by Mike Evans with 2,115 points from 1974-78. 

Pullen ranks among the Top 10 in 18 career categories, including 13 in the Top 5 in school history.  Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (701), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 246) in the win over Emporia State on Nov. 29 with four treys, breaking his second-place tie with Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) and passing former leader Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  His next record could come in steals, where his 182 career thefts trail Henson by eight.  With his six makes against the Gators, he became the first Wildcat since Boozer to connect on 400 free throws in a career.  He ranks third in assists (382), free throws attempted (527), steals per game (1.58) and consecutive games started (82), fourth in double-digit scoring games (85) and minutes (3,294) and fifth in consecutive games played (115) and starts (96).  In addition to his records, Pullen is the first player in school history to be named team captain three consecutive years.

‘Cats Picked to Win Big 12 Crown
A consensus Top 10 by a number of media outlets, K-State earned another first in October as the Wildcats were selected to win the Big 12 title for the first time in a vote of the league’s head coaches.  The school received 119 points and 10 first-place votes to out-distance rival and reigning champion Kansas, which was picked second with 109 points and the remaining two first-place votes.  Texas (99) and Baylor (96) followed closely in third and fourth place, respectively, while Missouri (82) and Texas A&M (69) rounded out the top 6.  The rest of the poll included Texas Tech (52), Oklahoma State (51), Colorado (46), Nebraska (31), Oklahoma (27) and Iowa State (11).  Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.  The previous high for K-State in the preseason poll was fourth in both 2007-08 and 2009-10.  The Wildcats, who tied for second place in the Big 12 a year ago, are one of only two teams to finish in the league’s top-4 and receive a bye at the Big 12 Championship each of the past four seasons.

K-State ranks No. 3 in Preseason AP, USA Today/ESPN polls
Kansas State earned its highest preseason ranking in both The Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, as the Wildcats appeared at No. 3 in both polls.  The No. 3 ranking ties for the highest of any of the major polls, in which, the squad is ranked in the Top 10 in nearly every poll.  It is the highest ever ranking for K-State in a preseason poll and the highest by the AP since it began preseason rankings in 1961.  The previous high for a preseason ranking came at No. 8 by the AP in both the 1961-62 and 1964-65 seasons.  The No. 3 ranking is the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the team ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962.  K-State was the highest rated Big 12 team in AP poll, which also included No. 7 Kansas, No. 15 Missouri and No. 16 Baylor.  The Wildcats have been ranked in the Top 10 in nearly every preseason poll, including No. 4 by Lindy’s Sports, No. 5 by Athlon Sports, ESPN.com, FOXSports.com and The Sporting News, No. 8 by Dick Vitale and No. 10 by Blue Ribbon Yearbook.

Season Tickets Sold Out
With preseason expectations for K-State at a near all-time high, officials announced on Oct. 22 that all reserved tickets for the 2010-11 season have been sold.  K-State has sold over 12,000 season tickets to the general public and students, surpassing last year’s total by over 750 tickets.  The school has ranked among the nation’s leaders in attendance in three of the last four seasons, including ranking 31st with an average of 11,884 fans per game to 17 home games in 2009-10.  The team also ranked fourth in attendance among Big 12 institutions and was second only to Kansas in sellouts with 14.  In addition, the school enjoyed the nation’s largest average attendance increase with nearly 3,000 more fans per game.  Three of the top-5 single-season attendance averages have come in the last four years.

Diaz, Gipson Sign with K-State for 2011-12
Head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of high school standouts Adrian Diaz (Miami, Fla./Hialeah-Miami Lakes) and Thomas Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 14.  Both players are listed on the Rivals150 by Rivals.com with the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Gipson listed at No. 142 and the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Diaz checking in at No. 145.  Gipson is listed 24th nationally among power forwards by Rivals.com, while Diaz ranks 17th among centers nationally. 
An emerging post prospect, Diaz is currently a senior at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in Hialeah, Fla.  As a junior, he averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Trojans, which posted a 5-15 overall record and 3-7 mark in league play in 2009-10.  He was named preseason honorable mention all-state by FloridaHoops.com.  He will be the third member of his family to play college basketball, following his brothers, Eric, who played at Eckerd College, and Andres (Andy), who currently is a sophomore forward at North Florida.  He received scholarship offers from a variety of schools, including Virginia Tech, South Florida and FIU, along with interest from Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Syracuse.

Rated as the 13th-best prospect in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com, Gipson is currently a senior at Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas.  As a junior, he led the team in scoring (16 ppg.) and rebounding (7.2 rpg.) en route to helping the Longhorns to a 28-4 overall record and a trip to the area round of the 2010 UIL (University Interscholastic League) Class 5A Tournament.  The team ranked as high as No. 6 in the TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) Class 5A state poll before losing to Lewisville, 84-82, in the area-round playoffs.  Gipson was a TABC first team Class 5A All-State selection and was co-MVP of District 7-5A.  He helped Cedar Hill to the 2009 Class 5A state final as a sophomore where he averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.  He was named first team All-Area by the Dallas Morning News and was the District 7-5A Sophomore of the Year.  He received scholarship offers from a number of schools, including Baylor, California, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.