No. 17 K-State Opens Big 12 Play at Oklahoma State

Sophomore Juevol Myles has 17 points in the last 2 games.

Jan. 6, 2011

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17/17 Kansas State (12-3, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. Oklahoma State (12-2, 0-0 Big 12)

Date: Saturday, January 8, 2011  |  Tipoff: 12 p.m. CT
Location: Stillwater, Okla.  |  Arena: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)  |  Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com  |  Internet: ESPN Full Court/ESPN3.com
Television: ESPN2 (Marc Kestecher, play-by-play; Fran Franchilla, analyst; Anthony Holeman, producer)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  | 
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 84-35 (.706) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Oklahoma State - Travis Ford (Kentucky ‘94) is 247-171 (.591) in his 14th season as a head coach and 57-25 (.695) in third season at the school.
Series: K-State leads 70-46 (23-27 on road)  |  Martin vs. Oklahoma State:  2-2  |   Martin vs. Ford:  1-2  |  K-State vs. Big 12:  91-133
Last Time Out:  K-State knocked off Savannah State, 92-61, at home on Jan. 3, while Oklahoma State defeated UTSA, 79-63, also on Monday.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 17 in both AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls released Monday, while Oklahoma State is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: Sold out.

K-State opens Big 12 play at Oklahoma State on Saturday
No. 17/17 Kansas State (12-3) tips off its 15th season of Big 12 Conference play on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State (12-2) at historic Gallagher-Iba Arena at noon.  The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 with Marc Kestecher (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call, while it will also be available on ESPN Full Court and on ESPN3.com. 

The Wildcats are 49-48 (.505) all-time in conference openers dating all the way back to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play in 1913-14, including a 16-30 (.348) mark when opening on the road.  The team is 5-9 (.357) in league openers in the Big 12 era, including 2-7 (.222) on the road.  The squad has lost their last two conference openers with their last win coming at Oklahoma, 84-82, on Jan. 12, 2008.  This will be the 10th meeting between K-State and Oklahoma State in a conference opener dating back to 1959, but just the second since the start of the Big 12.  The last time these two teams met in an opener came back on Jan. 2, 1999 when the 25th-ranked Cowboys earned a 75-69 win in overtime at Gallagher-Iba Arena.  Overall, the Wildcats hold a 6-3 edge over the Cowboys when meeting in an conference opener, including a 4-3 mark on the road.  Interestingly enough, K-State’s last win at Gallagher-Iba Arena came in a league opener way back on Jan. 9, 1993, as the team earned a 75-62 overtime win over OSU.  The squads have also met in league openers in 1961, 1968, 1970, 1980, 1984, 1992 and 1995.

K-State leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 70-46, which dates back to 1927.  The Cowboys are 27-23 at home in the series with wins in 14 of their last 15 games at Gallagher-Iba Arena.  The Wildcats have lost 10 consecutive on the road in the series with their last victory coming 75-62 in overtime on Jan. 9, 1993.  Last season, the two teams split a pair of meetings with OSU snapping Kansas State’s 14-game homecourt winning streak with a 73-69 win at Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 23 before the Wildcats earned a 83-64 victory in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on March 11.  This will be the last year that the two schools will play just once in the regular season, as the Big 12 expands to a new round-robin 18-game schedule in 2011-12.

K-State enters Saturday’s contest on a three-game winning streak after concluding non-conference play with a 92-61 victory over Savannah State on Monday.  The Wildcats have now won at least 12 non-conference games in each of the last three seasons under head coach Frank Martin, including 32 consecutive at Bramlage Coliseum.  The team has posted back-to-back games of 90 or more points for the first time since 2007 when the squad scored 90 against Winston-Salem State on Dec. 22 and 101 against Wagner on Dec. 29.  The Wildcats have averaged over 90 points (90.7 ppg.) on 47.7 percent shooting (95-of-199) from the field, including 55.6 percent (30-of-54) from 3-point range, during the winning streak with five players (Pullen, Judge, McGruder, Samuels and Spradling) averaging in double figures.  The 30 treys are the most in a three-game stretch since the squad also tallied 30 against Iowa State, Kansas and Missouri in 2008.  The Wildcats have also posted an impressive +20.3 rebounding margin (139-78) this span with an average of 38 points in the paint and 18.3 second-chance points.  In fact, the team’s defensive rebound total (78) equaled their opponents’ entire rebounding total (78).  The current 90.7 points per game streak came on the heels of one of the worst two-game stretches since 2006, as the squad averaged just 51.5 points in losses to Florida and UNLV.  

The game marked the return of senior captain Jacob Pullen, who missed the previous three games due to NCAA secondary rules violations.  Pullen left off where he started against the Tigers, recording his fourth 20-point game of the season with a team-high 24 points on a career-best 9-of-11 shooting from the field.  He also added four 3-pointers and a team-best five assists in 30 minutes of action.  His 81.8 field goal percentage topped his previous his of 72.7 percent (8-of-11) against Iowa State on March 8, 2008.  Pullen, who has led the team in scoring in 10 of his 12 games played this season, became the first player since Askia Jones in 1994 to eclipse the 1,700-point barrier.  His 1,712 points rank fourth all-time in school history and are less than 150 points behind Rolando Blackman and Askia Jones, who rank second and third, respectively. 

Pullen, along with fellow senior Curtis Kelly, were declared ineligible on Dec. 20 by K-State after athletic officials confirmed the two had received impermissible benefits on the purchase of clothing at a local department store.  The school learned prior to the UNLV game on 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 and would be eligible to return against Texas Tech 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.  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 before his suspension.  He was named to several All-Newcomer teams as a junior in 2009-10.

One game after setting season-highs in nearly every offensive category, K-State continued its hot shooting against Savannah State, connecting on 47 percent from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point line, to go with a solid 67.7 percent from the free throw line.  The Wildcats tallied 30 or more field goals for the second consecutive contest, while dishing out 20 or more assists for third game in a row.  In addition, the squad controlled the boards once again with 48 rebounds, while posting 40 points in the paint for the third time this season. 

Aside from Pullen’s 24 points, the Wildcats got solid contributions from Rodney McGruder, Wally Judge and Jamar Samuels against Savannah State, who all scored in double figures.  McGruder, who has two or more 3-pointers in 11 games, scored 15 points to go with seven rebounds, while fellow sophomore Wally Judge grabbed his second double-double in three games with 13 points and a career-best 14 rebounds.  Junior Jamar Samuels, making his second consecutive start, followed his 26-point effort against North Florida with 11 points.  

The Wildcats are ranked No. 17 in the eighth editions of both The Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls released on Monday 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 233-83 (.737) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 15-3 (.833) as 17th-ranked team.

The Book on Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State enters Saturday’s game with a 12-2 overall record after the Cowboys ran their homecourt record to a perfect 7-0 with a 79-63 win over Texas-San Antonio on Monday.  The squad connected on 60 percent from the field against the Roadrunners, including 64 percent in the first half, while holding an impressive 46-8 advantage in points in the paint.  Six players scored in double figures led by sophomore forward Jean-Paul Olukemi’s 16 points.  Senior forward Marshall Moses was an efficient 6-of-7 from the field with 14 points, while sophomore guard Reger Dowell added 12 points.  The win came on the heels of a 73-52 loss at Gonzaga on New Year’s Eve, which snapped the team’s seven-game win streak.  The team returns nine lettermen, including three starters, from a squad that posted a 22-11 overall record, including a 9-7 mark in Big 12 play.

The Cowboys are averaging 71.5 points on 46.4 percent shooting from the field, including 33 percent from 3-point range, with 37.0 rebounds, 11.4 assists, 6.1 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.  The squad is shooting an impressive 71.5 percent from the free throw line.  They are also a solid team defensively, yielding 62.9 points on 39.7 percent shooting, including 33.7 percent from beyond the arc, while forcing 11 turnovers per game.  OSU is led by one of the league’s top forward in Moses, who is averaging a team-best 17.1 points on 58 percent shooting to go with 8.1 rebounds per game.  Junior Keiton Page is second in scoring at 13.9 points per game, including a team-best 23 3-point field goals, while Olukemi is third in scoring at 10.1 points on 57.5 percent shooting.  Sophomore Ray Penn is averaging 8.4 points and a team-best 2.9 assists, while junior Darrell Williams chips in 7.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest.  

Oklahoma State is led by third-year coach Travis Ford, who has guided the school to a 57-25 (.695) record.  He has a 247-171 (.591) in 14 years as a head coach, which includes stints at Campbellsville (1997-2000), Eastern Kentucky (2000-05) and Massachusetts (2005-08).  He has led the Cowboys to consecutive trips to the postseason, including back-to-back trips to NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003-04 and 2004-05.  
       
Series vs. Oklahoma State
This will be 117th all-time meeting between K-State and Oklahoma State on the hardwood and the 51st in Stillwater.  The two teams have played at least once annually since 1958.  The Wildcats hold a 70-46 all-time record in this series, including a 23-27 mark in games played on the road.  Although the two teams have split the last four meetings, the Cowboys have controlled much of the series of late, winning 12 of the last 15 meetings since the start of the Big 12.  OSU has been even more dominate at Gallagher-Iba Arena, where they have won 14 of the last 15 meetings, including a current streak of 10 consecutive victories.  The last K-State win in the building came back on Jan. 9, 1993 in a 75-62 decision in overtime.  The last seven meetings have been competitive in Stillwater with the Cowboys winning by average of just under nine points.    

Last Meeting in Stillwater
The last meeting between the two schools at Gallagher-Iba was a tight one with Oklahoma State holding on for a 77-71 victory before 12,106 fans.  Byron Eaton led five starters in double figures with 25 points, while Wildcat guards Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen combined for 31 points.

‘Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play in the month of January this season, where the Wildcats have won 23 of their last 33 games.  The squad is 369-306 (.545) all-time in January with 21 wins in their last 28 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season.  K-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 seasons dating back to 2004-05.

Getting Defensive
K-State has been solid defensively this season, holding its opponents to 63.1 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting, including 32.9 percent from 3-point range, while forcing them into 17 turnovers per contest.  The Wildcats have held 12 opponents to 65 points or less, including nine of the last 10, while holding nine foes to under 40 percent shooting from the field.  The team also holds an impressive 10.7 rebounding margin against its foes, which ranks among the Top 10 nationally.  The squad is averaging 42.5 rebounds per game, including 16.7 offensive rebounds, while holding its opponents to 31.8 rebounds per game.  K-State leads the Big 12 in offensive rebounds, while it is second in both overall rebounds and margin.  The squad has paced in the league in offensive rebounds in each of Frank Martin’s three seasons as head coach.    

Topping Century Mark
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. 

Young ‘Cats Step 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 12-3 start to the season.  This nucleus has scored 593 of the team’s 1137 points thus far (52 percent), while posting 318 of 638 rebounds (50 percent), 133 of 234 assists (57 percent) and 52 of 104 steals (50 percent).  The group boasts six of the team’s Top 10 scorers, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Twenty-three of the team’s 49 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is second on the squad in double-figure scoring games with nine.  McGruder paces the team in 3-point field goals (35) and rebounding (6.7 rpg.), while he is second in scoring (11.5 ppg.), field goals (61), steals (15) and minutes played (28.5 mpg.).  Fellow sophomores Wally Judge and Martavious Irving rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in scoring at 6.8 and 6.0 points per game, while true freshman Will Spradling is seventh in scoring at 5.9 points per game and second in assists (2.2 apg.) and free throw percentage (84.0).  Judge has claimed two of the team’s three double-doubles (including two in the last three games), while Spradling is just the second rookie guard to earn a start under head coach Frank Martin

This group was even more impressive during Pullen’s three-game suspension (UNLV, UMKC and North Florida games), as the Wildcats 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 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.

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 15 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 27.7 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its 15 foes by a margin of 415-199.  The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 12 of 15 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 49 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.            
    
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 2,251 points off of 1,993 turnovers in 119 games, an average of 18.9 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, 275-209.  The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in five 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 11 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison on Nov. 12.  Before the North Florida game on New Year’s Eve, 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 Dec. 31 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.

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his final season at K-State.  In his return from a 3-game suspension to NCAA rules violations, he became the first Wildcat since Askia Jones in 1994 to eclipse the 1,700-point barrier in a career with his team-high 24-point effort vs. Savannah State.  His current total of 1,712 points in 116 career games ranks fourth all-time and is less than 150 points behind Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81)and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94), who rank second and third, respectively.  He has an outside chance (needs 403 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 19 career categories, including 14 in the Top 5 in school history.  Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (707), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 250) 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 183 career thefts trail Henson by seven.  With his six makes against Florida on Dec. 11, he became the first Wildcat since Bob Boozer (1956-59) to connect on 400 free throws in a career.  He ranks third in assists (387), free throws attempted (529), steals per game (1.58), minutes (3,324) and consecutive games started (82), fourth in double-digit scoring games (86) and fifth in consecutive games played (115) and starts (97).  In addition, he is the first player in school history to be named team captain three consecutive years.

Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
Senior guard Jacob Pullen became the first Wildcat to earn preseason All-American honors from the Associated Press, as he was named first team selection by the organization in early November.  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.  He was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading Kansas State to its first Elite Eight since 1988.  He was 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.
 
McGruder Takes Off
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been one of the team’s most consistent all-around players this season, averaging 11.5 points on 45 percent shooting, including 41.2 percent from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.5 minutes per game.  The only player to start all 15 games, McGruder also paces the team in 3-point field goals (35), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (nine), field goals (61), steals (15) and minutes.  He had a career day against UMKC on Dec. 23, setting highs in five categories, including points (24), field goals (eight), field goals attempted (14), 3-point field goals (seven) and 3-point field goals attempted.  His seven treys tied 10 others players for the fourth-most in a single-game in school history, while he was the first to do it since Jacob Pullen had seven against BYU in the NCAA Tournament.  Despite the presence of the school’s all-time leader in Pullen, McGruder has been the team’s best long range threat with at least two makes from 3-point range in 11 of his 15 games.  All of 6-foot-4, he has also been the best rebounder, posting at least five boards in 12 contests, including a career-high 10 against UNLV on Dec. 21.  He has led the team in department on seven occasions.   

From Bench to Starter
A reserve for much of his career, junior Jamar Samuels has made the most of his back-to-back starts against North Florida and Savannah State.  The reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, he is averaging 18.5 points in the span on 65.2 percent shooting (15-of-23), including 40 percent (2-of-5) from beyond the arc, to go with 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 22.5 minutes per game.  Pressed into action against North Florida due to an illness by Freddy Asprilla, Samuels earned his first start since the first game of his sophomore season with perhaps his best offensive day.  He 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 at the Big 12 Championships.  He went 11-of-15 from the field against Ospreys, including 2-of-3 effort from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 23 minutes.  He followed that up with an 11-point effort against Savannah State.  For the season, he is averaging 10 points on 42 percent shooting with 6.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 22.4 minutes per game.  He has eight double-digit scoring efforts, including six off the bench.      

Here Comes the Judge
Sophomore Wally Judge has started to come into his own in the past three games, where he is averaging 16.3 points on 43.2 percent shooting to go with a team-best 11.3 rebounds per game.  A starter in the team’s first seven games, he was hampered by personal issues for much of late November and December, but has seemed to have come out it a stronger player.  Pressed back into the line-up after the suspension of senior Curtis Kelly, Judge responded with his first career double-double against UMKC on Dec. 23 with 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 25 minutes.  He turned in a career day against North Florida on Dec. 31 with a career-high 22 points on 6-of-9 field goals to go with a team-high nine rebounds 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.  He continued his strong play against Savannah State with yet another double-double with 13 points and a career-best 14 rebounds.  He has 49 points and 34 rebounds in the past three games compared to just 32 points and 21 rebounds in his previous nine.       
  
Coaching Staff Continuity
One of the main reasons that Kansas State has been able to win a school-record 72 games over the past three seasons has been its ability to not only keep head coach Frank Martin, who earned a new multi-year contract through the 2014-15 season during the off-season, but his entire staff, which includes associate head coach Dalonte Hill, assistants Matt Figger and Brad Underwood, director of operations Andy Assaley and strength coach Scott Greenawalt.  K-State is one of just two Big 12 schools (other being Missouri) to have kept their entire staff together for the last four seasons.  This has enabled the Wildcats to post 72 wins the past three seasons, which is the most by a coaching staff in their first three seasons and the most-ever by the school in that span.  They are the first staff to post three consecutive 20-win seasons since 1979-82 and just the second group to guide K-State to the postseason in each of their first three seasons.  The staff has also captured 30 Big 12 wins in last three years, which ties Jack Hartman’s staff from 1970-73 for the most in a three-year period.  They have also helped make the K-State one of just two in the Big 12 to finish in the top-4 in the league standings and receive a bye at the Big 12 Championship each of the past three years.

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.   

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 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.