11/10 K-State Opens Big 12 play at Mizzou

Game Information

11/10 KANSAS STATE (13-1, 0-0 Big 12)
at Missouri (12-3, 0-0 Big 12)

Date: Saturday, January 9, 2010
Tipoff: 1:05 p.m. CT
Location: Columbia, Mo.  |  Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)

Television: ESPN2 (Ron Franklin, play-by-play; Fran Fraschilla, analyst; Anthony Holeman, producer)  |  Channel Directory: DirecTV 209 (DirecTV HD 72), Dish Network 144, AT&T U-Verse 606, Cox 33   |  Internet: www.ESPN360.com

Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  |  Live Stats: www.mutigers.com  |  Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan)  |  Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 121

Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 56-25 (.691) in his third season at K-State.  Missouri - Mike Anderson (Tulsa '82) is 77-38 (.670) in his fourth season at Missouri and 166-79 (.678) in his seventh season overall as a head coach.      

Last Time Out: K-State defeated South Dakota, 91-69, on Jan. 3, while Missouri earned a 74-45 win over Savannah State on Wednesday.

Series: K-State leads 115-114 (41-62 on the road)  |  Last time: Missouri won 94-74 at home on Feb. 25, 2009  |  vs. Big 12 Conference: K-State trails 80-128 (21-83 on the road)  |  Frank Martin is 2-2 vs. Missouri, while Mike Anderson is 2-4 all-time vs. K-State.     

Rankings: K-State is ranked 11th in the AP Top 25 poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls.  Missouri is not ranked in either poll.  

Tickets: Sold out.

K-State opens Big 12 play at Missouri on Saturday
Kansas State (13-1) opens its 14th season of Big 12 Conference action on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers (12-3) at Mizzou Arena at 1 p.m. CT.  The game will not only match two of the league's top offensive teams (both average 83.5 ppg.), but also squads with impressive winning streaks.  The Wildcats, which are off to their best start since 1958-59, are the midst of their longest winning streak (10) under third-year head coach Frank Martin and their longest streak since winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season.  The Tigers have rebounded from a road loss at Oral Roberts on Dec. 9 to win seven straight, while they hold one of the nation's longest homecourt winning streaks at 29 games at Mizzou Arena.  K-State is 49-47 (.510) all-time in conference openers dating back to the old Missouri Valley in 1914, including a 16-29 (.355) mark in openers on the road.  The squad is 5-8 (.385) in Big 12 openers, including 2-6 (.250) in those on the road.  Despite playing 229 times in their respective histories, this will be just the 10th time that the two teams have met in a league opener, including just the eighth time in Columbia, Mo.  Saturday's match-up will be the first between the two rivals in a conference opener in Columbia, Mo., since 1993-94, when the Tigers ended the Wildcats' then 10-game winning streak with a 63-43 win at the Hearnes Center on Jan. 8, 1994.  K-State is 5-4 all-time vs. Missouri in league openers, including a 3-4 mark on the road.  The contest will be the first of back-to-back nationally-televised contests on ESPN2 with Ron Franklin (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) on the call.

The Wildcats earned their first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years on Monday, when the squad jumped two spots to No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.  It was the highest ranking for K-State in coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92.  Only 12 other teams in school history have reached the Top 10 at any point in a season -- 1949-50 (10th), 1950-51 (3rd), 1951-52 (2nd), 1952-53 (1st), 1956-57 (10th), 1957-58 (1st), 1958-59 (1st), 1960-61 (4th), 1961-62 (3rd), 1964-65 (8th), 1965-66 (10th) and 1972-73 (9th).  The team rose one spot in the AP poll to No. 11, marking their highest ranking in the poll since head coach Jack Hartman led the Wildcats to a No. 9 ranking in the poll on March 13, 1973 with a 23-5 record.  It is also the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll in 1965.  The squad, whose 14 non-conference foes boast a .615 winning percentage through Jan. 7, currently has a consensus Top 10 RPI and a strength of schedule ranked 38 or better.

K-State capped non-conference play on Sunday with a 91-69 win over South Dakota, which tied the 1993-94 team for the most non-conference wins (13) in school history.  Five players scored in double figures for the third consecutive games led by junior Jacob Pullen's seventh 20-point game of the season.  The team set season-highs in a number of categories, including points in the paint (56), points off turnovers (40) and fast-break points (35).    

A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (83.5 ppg.) on 47.7 percent shooting (387-of-812), including 36.9 percent from 3-point range (94-of-255), with 39.8 rebounds, 16.4 assists, 7.4 steals and 4.9 blocks per game.  The squad has topped 80 or more points in 11 of 14 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on nine occasions.  The 1,169 points scored are the second-most through 14 games in school history and the most since the 1986-87 squad scored 1,170 points.  The team is averaging over 36 points per game (36.6) in the paint (11 more than their opponents), while averaging the nation's second-most free throw makes (21.5) and attempts (33.1) per game.  They are out-scoring their opponents, 190-59, in fast-break points.  The defensive effort has also been solid, holding opponents to 67.7 points on 40.9 percent shooting while averaging 22.3 points off of 17.9 turnovers per game.  The team has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in eight games, including five consecutive contests, while the 40 points off turnovers against South Dakota were the most-ever since the statistic began being kept in 2005-06.  After allowing nearly 77 points in the previous three games, the Wildcats turned up the intensity against Cleveland State and South Dakota, holding the teams to 62.5 points on 40.8 percent shooting, including 22.5 percent from 3-point range, while posting a dominant 51.0-31.5 advantage on the boards.  The team grabbed 50 or more rebounds in back-to-back games for the first time since 2007-08.

The Wildcats are 13-1 for the first time under head coach Frank Martin and for the first time as a program since the 1958-59 squad also opened at 13-1 (also matched by the 1947-48 and 1957-58 squads).  Only one other team has fared better after 14 games in school history, as the 1918-19 team started the season with 17 straight wins.  This is just the fifth time in school history that the team has won 13 of their first 14 games.

Named a Mid-Season second team All-American by Yahoo! Sports, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 20.1 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (81), 3-point field goals (44), free throws (75), free throw percentage (79.8) and steals (20), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.1 points per game on 37.9 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (59) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.81).  The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (479) so far this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.5) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76.  Clemente topped the 1,000-point plateau for his career (which includes his two-year stint at Miami) with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28.  Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points with his 30-point effort against Alabama on Dec. 19.  His 1,072 points in 81 career games ranks 15th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 14 games and a team-best 53 times in his career.  Pullen needs just two more double-digit games to crack the school's all-time top 10 list.  

Junior transfer Curtis Kelly ranks third in scoring at 11.9 points per game on a team-best 60.4 percent shooting from the field.  He leads the team in double-doubles (two) as well as in rebounds per game (6.3).  He has scored in double figures in nine games and shot over 50 percent from the field on 10 occasions.  Sophomore Jamar Samuels is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.8 points per game.  Samuels, who has come off the bench in 12 of 13 games, ranks fourth in rebounding at 5.1 per game.  He has scored in double figures 11 times, including a career-best 21 points against Fort Hays State on Dec. 1.  Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 25 of his 26 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve.  Junior Dominique Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's best defenders, is averaging 8.0 points on 53.2 percent shooting to go with the third-most rebounds per game (5.6).  He has been stellar during the current 10-game winning streak, averaging 9.9 points on 55.1 percent shooting with a team-best 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals in 25.2 minutes per outing.  

Postgame Notes vs. South Dakota
--K-State moved to 7-0 all-time against South Dakota with all seven wins coming in Manhattan and by double figures... It was the first meeting since the 1986-87 season... The team moved to 13-1 on the season for the first time since the 1958-59 season... The 13 non-conference wins tied the 1993-94 team for the most in school history, while the 13-1 mark represents the best non-league winning percentage (.929) in school history.

--K-State posted its first 10-game winning streak since winning 10 in a row from Dec. 1, 1993 to Jan. 5, 1994... The 10-game streak equals five other squads for the ninth-longest streak and the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history... In addition, the team tied the longest streak in Bramlage Coliseum with its 12th straight victory, which dates back to the North Carolina Central game on Feb. 17, 2009... It matches a 12-game streak that spanned the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons... The team has won 23 consecutive non-conference home games since 2007-08.

--The Wildcats' starting lineup was junior guard Jacob Pullen, senior guard Denis Clemente, junior forward Dominique Sutton, freshman forward Wally Judge and junior forward Curtis Kelly... It marks the sixth time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 48 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 81.

--The 91 points gave K-State its fourth 90-point game of the season and marked the first time in school history that the team has turned in 11 80-point efforts in the first 14 games of the season... Five players scored in double figures for the Wildcats for the third consecutive game and fifth time overall this season... The team set or tied season-highs in 11 categories, including field goals (39), field goal attempted (88), 3-point field goals attempted (23), offensive rebounds (29), rebounds (52), assists (22), steals (14), points in the paint (56), points off turnovers (40), second chance points (25) and fast-break points (35)... The 88 field goal attempts are the most for any Wildcat team since 1970 when they attemped 94 against Houston in an NCAA Tournament game... The 52 rebounds are the most in a game since grabbing 53 against Florida A&M on Nov. 14, 2008. 

--Junior Jacob Pullen led five players in double figures with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range... Pullen has led the team in scoring nine times this year, including 21 times in his career... He has at least two 3-pointers in 12 consecutive games (span where he is shooting nearly 48.3 percent from that range)... Junior Curtis Kelly was solid all-around with 15 points, six rebounds, a career-high six blocks, four assists and three steals in 24 minutes... Junior Dominique Sutton collected his third career double-double and his first this season with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 10 rebounds... Senior Denis Clemente also added 14 points to go with a team-high eight assists and a career-best four steals... Sophomore Jamar Samuels posted his 11th double-digit scoring effort with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals.

The Book on Missouri
The Wildcats' second-oldest rival, Missouri enters Saturday's game with a 12-3 overall record after running its winning streak to seven with a 74-45 victory over Savannah State on Wednesday night.  The winning streak, which started in an 87-36 pummeling of Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 12, includes Arkansas-Pine Bluff (88-70), Illinois (81-68), Austin Peay (94-79), UMKC (91-57), Georgia (89-61) and Savannah State.  The team has won 29 straight at Mizzou Arena, which dates back to a double-overtime win over Iowa State on March 5, 2008.  The last loss came to Oklahoma State on Feb. 26, 2008.  The Tigers won their first four games before dropping back-to-back games against Richmond (52-59) and Vanderbilt (83-89) on Nov. 28 and Dec. 2.  The team then came home to crush Pac-10 foe Oregon (106-69) before a 60-59 loss at Oral Roberts on Dec. 9. 

Missouri is averaging just over 80 points per game (83.5) on the year on 47.5 percent shooting, including 40.1 percent from 3-point range, with 36.3 rebounds, 18.3 assists, a Big 12-best 13.1 steals and 5.2 blocks per game.  The team is shooting a solid 72.1 percent from the free throw line.  A squad that features just three seniors, the Tigers are a balanced team with seven players averaging seven or more points on the season.  The team is led by sophomore guard Kim English, who is averaging 15.9 points on 45.5 percent shooting and a team-best 36 3-point field goals to go with 1.9 steals per game.  Sophomore Marcus Denmon is second in scoring at 11.1 points on 43 percent shooting to go with 34 treys.  Fellow sophomore Laurence Bowers is third in scoring at 10.8 points per game on a team-best 62.6 percent shooting with 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.  Senior J.T. Tiller, who has battled the injury-bug this season, is averaging 9.4 points on 46 percent shooting to go with 3.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest.  Senior Keith Ramsey paces the team at 6.1 rebounds per game to go with 5.7 points per game.  

Missouri is led by veteran head coach Mike Anderson, who has posted 77-38 (.670) mark at the helm of the Tigers.  Last season, he led the school to a record 31 wins, a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament.  He has a 166-79 (.678) record in his seventh season as a head coach, which includes a four-year stint at UAB from 2002-06.  He led the Blazers to three NCAA Tournaments.

Series vs. Missouri
This will be the 229th all-time meeting between K-State and Missouri on the hardwood with the Wildcats holding a slight 115-114 edge in a series that dates back to 1907.  The Tigers lead the series in Columbia, 62-41, including a 4-2 mark in Mizzou Arena.  The two teams split their season series in 2008-09 with K-State winning 88-72 in Manhattan on Jan. 28 and Missouri winning 94-74 in Columbia on Feb. 25.  This will mark the 10th time (1931-1932-1934-1949-1951-1966-1973-1994-1998) that the two rivals have met in a conference opener, including the eighth time in Columbia.  The Wildcats hold a 5-4 edge in those openers, while the Tigers are 4-3 in those openers at home.        

'Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play this season in the month of January where the Wildcats have won 18 of their last 25 games.  The squad is 364-303 (.545) all-time in January with 18 wins in their last 23 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season.  The team has won 13 of its last 19 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including a 6-3 mark on the road.  K-State has won four or more games in the month in each of the last five seasons, including a 6-0 mark in 2007-08.  The team has posted a winning mark in January 58 times, including five straight seasons dating back to 2004-05.  The Wildcats have posted just nine unbeaten marks in the month, including the 1915-16 (5-0), 1918-19 (4-0), 1950-51 (5-0), 1951-52 (5-0), 1957-58 (4-0), 1958-59 (6-0), 1959-60 (6-0), 1969-70 (6-0) and 2007-08 (6-0) seasons. 

Inside the Win Streak
--Kansas State is averaging 84.1 points on 47.8 percent shooting (276-of-577), including 39.1 percent from 3-point range (72-of-184), during its 10-game winning streak... The Wildcats have scored at least 70 points in all 10 games and has connected on 45 percent or better in six contests... The squad is averaging 36.0 points in the paint (compared to 27.6 for its foes), 25.1 points off turnovers, 15.4 points in second chance points, 14.8 points in fast-break points and 23.3 points off the bench... The Wildcats have held their opponents to 68.8 points in the stretch on 43.2 percent shooting, including 31.9 percent from 3-point range... The team also holds an impressive averaging rebounding margin of 8.0 (39.3 to 31.3).

--During the winning streak, the Wildcats have earned wins over six teams with RPI ratings in the top 100, including four in the top 50 (according to RealTimeRPI.com)... The other win came against Fort Hays State, a Division II team that has posted a 13-1 record and ranks 10th nationally in the Division II Top 25 poll... Also included in those wins are two over Top 25 opponents (No. 18/21 Dayton and No. 18/17 UNLV), marking the first time in over 50 years that a Wildcat team has beaten two Top 25 foes during the non-conference season and first since the 1958-59 squad defeated No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958 in Kansas City, Mo.

--Junior Jacob Pullen paces three players in double figures during the 10-game streak at 22.5 points per game... He is shooting 49.2 percent from the field, including 51.4 percent from the 3-point range, while adding highs in both field goals (65), 3-point field goals (38) and steals (13)... Senior Denis Clemente is averaging 15.1 points on 40.7 percent shooting, including 30.9 percent from 3-point range with the team-high in assists (47)... The two have combined to average 37.6 points per game during the stretch... Sophomore Jamar Samuels is also in double figures at 12.3 points per game on a team-best 60 percent shooting... Juniors Curtis Kelly and Dominique Sutton are averaging 10.6 and 9.9 points per game.

Sizzling in the Second Half
Kansas State has proved itself to be a strong team in the second half this season, averaging nearly 45 points (44.8) on 51.2 percent shooting (194-of-379), including 42.4 percent (50-of-118) from 3-point range.  The team has scored 40 or more points in the second half in 13 of their 14 games, including 50 or more on three occasions, while they have connected on 50 percent or better from the field eight times (including 60 percent clips against Western Illinois, UNLV and Alabama).  This statistic has especially been a factor during the current 10-game winning streak where the Wildcats have connected on 50.8 percent (134-of-264) in the second half, including 43 percent (37-of-86) from beyond the arc.  In the last five games alone, K-State is averaging 45.8 points in the second half on 51.8 percent shooting (72-of-139), including 42.1 percent from 3-point range.

Seizing on its Opportunities
Kansas State has capitalized this season on its opportunities from the free throw line, where the Wildcats rank second nationally in both free throws made per game (21.5) and free throws attempted per game (33.1).  The team trails just Wyoming, which is first in both categories (23.1 free throws made and 33.9 free throws attempted per game).  The Wildcats have connected on 20 or more free throws in 10 of their 14 games, including six of the last seven contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in nine games.  The team tied its season high with 28 free throws against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 21 (also had 28 vs. Boston University on Nov. 19), while they attempted at least 40 free throws (42) for the fifth time this season.  The Wildcats also seem to make them in clutch situations, hitting on 71.8 percent in the last five minutes.   

Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent's miscues.  Since he became K-State's head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 1,556 points off of 1,364 turnovers in 81 games, an average of 19.2 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past three years have come off of offense generated from opponent turnovers.  In 2007-08, the Wildcats scored 18.9 points per game 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.  This year has not been any different with the squad averaging 22.3 points off of 17.9 opponent mistakes per game.  Eight times K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most since the stat has been kept starting in 2005-06.  The Wildcats also scored 20 or more off of miscues against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), Washington State (39), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29) and Cleveland State (30).    

Quite A Duo
Senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen have become quite the scoring duo for the Wildcats in their two seasons together.  The two have combined to score 1,431 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second in scoring in 2008-09.  They have combined to average 34.2 points per game through 14 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 20.1 points per game.  The 34.2-point combined average is the third-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and just ahead of Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5) and Steve Henson and Jean Derouillere in 1989-90 (33.1).  Historically, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 30.4) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76.  They have combined to score 20 or more points 41 times in 46 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 26 occasions.  They were perhaps at their best in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, as the two combined for 50 points on 57.1 percent shooting (16-of-28) from the field, including 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from 3-point range, in the win.  It marked the seventh time (now eighth) the pair has combined to score 40 or more points (in 46 career games together) with four of those games coming in last 10 outings.  The game against the Rebels was just the fourth in which both players have topped 20 or more points in the same contest following Kansas on Feb. 14, 2009, Dayton on Nov. 22 and Washington State on Dec. 5.

Clemente Dishes Out the Dimes
Known for his scoring ability, senior Denis Clemente has shifted his focus this season to set others up for scoring opportunities.  The team leader in assists at 59 through just 14 games, Clemente ranks 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 with a stellar 2.81 assist-to-turnover ratio.  He has had fewer than two turnovers in all but three games this season, while dishing out at least four assists in nine games.  His assist-to-turnover ratio has been even better in the last eight games, where he has handed out 44 assists to just 14 turnovers for a stunning 3.14 ratio.  Clemente posted a season-high nine assists in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV, while he tallied eight against South Dakota and seven against Cleveland State.

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season as a Wildcat.  With his team-best 23-point effort against South Dakota on Sunday, Pullen now has 1,072 career points, which ranks 15th all-time in school history.  He has a chance to crack into the school's all-time Top 10, where he is just 179 points short of 10th-place Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82).  His next milestone could be 1,100 career points, which has only been done by 12 players, including most recently by Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07).  Pullen became the 21st player to tally 1,000 career points, including the eighth guard to do so, with his fourth 3-point field goal of the first half against Alabama on Dec. 19. 

Pullen ranks in the top 5 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted in school history, ranking third in attempts with 452 and fourth in makes with 159.  After moving past Cartier Martin (446; 2003-07) in attempts against South Dakota, he will now look to eclipse two of the best 3-point shooters in school history in Askia Jones (237 makes on 624 attempts; 1989-94) and Steve Henson (240 makes on 537 attempts; 1987-90).  He still needs 20 3-point field goals to move past Cartier Martin (178; 2003-07) for third place all-time before challenging the records set by Jones and Henson.  Pullen has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 12 consecutive games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12.  In that span, he is connecting on 48.3 percent (42-of-87) of his shots from beyond the arc.   

More on Pullen
In addition to moving up several scoring charts, Jacob Pullen is also ascending the school's record book in both assists and steals.  He became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston University in the opener on Nov. 19 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off.  With his three thefts against Alabama, he now ranks fourth in school history in the categories and needs just six more to move ahead of Elliot Hatcher (118, 1994-96) for third-place all-time.  Pullen moved into the career Top 10 in assists with his 248th against Washington State on Dec. 5 and is now just four behind Ed Nealy (270; 1979-82) for eighth-place all-time.  He needs just 41 3-pointers to join Steve Henson (1987-90) and Askia Jones (1989-94) as the only players in school history with 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 250 assists and 100 steals.

If he continues his current pace, Pullen could become just the second Wildcat to average 20 points per game (20.1 ppg. through 14 games) in the last 25 seasons, following Michael Beasley, who set the school record with his 26.2-point average in 2007-08.  Prior to Beasley, the last Wildcat to average 20 points was Askia Jones in 1993-94 at 22.1 points and prior to that, it was Mitch Richmond in 1987-88 at 22.3 points.

The D Stands for Defense
Junior Dominique Sutton is starting to state his case as one of the premier defenders not just in the Big 12 but nationally.  Sutton, who has been regularly assigned the opponent's top offensive performer for much of his career, has really become a top-line defender for the Wildcats this year.  During a seven-game stretch that includes the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, UNLV's Derrick Jasper, Alabama's Senario Hillman and Cleveland State's D'Aundray Brown, he has held his opponents to a collective 36.3 shooting percentage (29-of-80), including a 15 percent (3-of-20) mark from 3-point range.  Thompson, who entered the game on Dec. 5 as the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, shot just 5-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-4 from long range, with one assist and nine turnovers.  Although Thompson scored 22 points in the contest, 11 of those came from the free throw line. Crawford, another pro prospect, managed 16 points (five from the line) against Sutton, but shot just 5-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-5 from 3-point range, with one assist and three turnovers.  Jasper was held scoreless for the first time in his UNLV career, going 0-of-3 from the field.  He held Hillman to just 3-of-9 shooting with just one 3-point field goal with 11 points, while Brown went 3-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-1 from 3-point range, with just six points.  Sutton's defense has helped boost his offensive game, where he is averaging 9.9 points on 55.1 percent shooting during the 10-game winning streak.  He earned just his third double-double of his career against South Dakota with 14 points on 7-of-11 field goals with a team-high 10 rebounds and three steals.

Kelly Becoming A Force Down Under
Junior Curtis Kelly is starting to develop his game down low for the Wildcats after sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from UConn.  A starter in all 14 games this season, Kelly is third on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game on a team-best 60.4 percent shooting to go with  team-bests in both rebounds (6.3) and blocks (1.9) per contest.  He leads the team with two double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort against Ole Miss on Nov. 20 and an 11-point, 11-rebound effort against IUPUI on Nov. 28.  Kelly has scored in double figures nine times this year including in back-to-back games in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the team in rebounding in six contests.  He has shot over 60 percent in eight games, including connecting on 81.8 percent (9-of-11) in the opener against Loyola Chicago with a career-best 22 points.  The team leader in blocked shots, he has at least one block in 12 games, including a career-best six against South Dakota.  The six blocks against the Coyotes tie Tony Kitt (1998-99) for the most by a junior in one game in school history.  He had perhaps his best all-around game last Sunday against South Dakota with 15 points (on 6-of-11 shooting), six rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals in just 24 minutes. 

Sixth Man
Sophomore Jamar Samuels has continued where he left off in 2008-09, becoming a key boost off the bench for the Wildcats.  Samuels, who is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game, has seen 25 of his 26 double-digit scoring efforts come as a reserve.  This season, he has scored 10 or more points 11 times with 10 of those coming off the bench, including six consecutive games.  Samuels' only start came in the opener against Loyola Chicago, where he scored 11 points on 3-of-6 field goals in just 14 minutes of action.  He scored a career-high 21 points from the bench in the win over Fort Hays State (No. 10 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, knocking down 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line.  He has also been a big force on the rebounding end for the squad, totaling five or more boards in eight games all off the bench. 

Colon Back To Action
Senior Luis Colon made his long awaited debut against No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, scoring one point and grabbing five rebounds in 11 minutes of action off the bench.  Colon, who was also hurt in the preseason, missed the first nine games off the season due to an off-the-court issue that has since been resolved.  A key component to the Wildcat attack last season, Colon was one of two players (along with Jacob Pullen) to start all 34 games a year ago, averaging 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds per game.  Colon, who has 26 rebounds in just five games, was solid in his first start of the season against Cleveland State with a career-tying 12 rebounds to go with four points, one steal and one block.

Clemente Tops 1,000
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28.  Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 678 points his two-year career on 39.7 percent shooting (234-of-589) from the field, including 34.1 percent (84-of-246) from 3-point range, in 46 games.  He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 125 points to tie Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96) for 10th place.  He scored 450 points in his two years as a Hurricane, connecting on 38.7 percent (167-of-432) of his field goals, including 31.5 percent (57-of-181) from beyond the arc, in 61 games.

Clemente Among 20 Finalists for Bob Cousy Award
Senior Denis Clemente was named one of 20 finalists for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award on Tuesday, which recognizes college basketball's top point guard.  The annual award, which is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy, is presented by The Hartford Financial Services and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.  Clemente was one of 72 candidates originally nominated for the award in early December, which included players from all Division I, II and III schools across the country. 

Clemente made the cut to the final 20, which includes only one other player from the Big 12 (Kansas' Sherron Collins).  The list also includes Ole Miss' Chris Warren, Cincinnati's Deonta Vaughn, South Carolina's Devan Downey, Maryland's Greivis Vasquez, Harvard's Jeremy Lin, Cal's Jerome Randle, Kentucky's John Wall, Duke's Jon Scheyer, Michigan State's Kalin Lucas, Connecticut's Kemba Walker, Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, Michigan's Manny Harris, Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin, Arizona's Nic Wise, Siena's Ronald Moore, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, Penn State's Talor Battle and Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes.

Clemente has helped guide K-State to its first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years with its current 13-1 record.  The winners of 10 straight, the Wildcats are off to the second-best start in school history and the best since the 1958-59 season.   The winning streak ties five others for the ninth-longest in school history and the longest since 1993-94 team won 10 from Dec. 1, 1993 to Jan. 5, 1994.  Clemente is the team's second-leading scorer (and 14th in the Big 12) at 14.1 points per game and has scored in double figures in 12 of the team's 14 games.  The team leader in assists at 4.21 per game, he is second on the team in field goals (67), 3-point field goals (25).  He ranks second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.81, while he is seventh in assists and tied for 10th in 3-point field goals made per game (1.79).

The list of 20 candidates will be narrowed down to a final 10 by Feb. 1 and a final five by March 1.  A Hall of Fame appointed screening committee will be narrowing down the candidates from 20 to 10 to 5 prior to the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee evaluating the final five candidates and ultimately choosing the winner.  The winner will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Monday, April 5 in Indianapolis as part of the NCAA Final Four weekend.  Previous winner of the Bob Cousy Award have included Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph's), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A&M), D.J. Augustin (Texas) and Ty Lawson (North Carolina).  For more information on the 2010 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, log onto www.cousyaward.com.

Martin Earns Coaching Honor From CollegeInsider.com
Head coach Frank Martin was honored for Kansas State's terrific start to the season on Thursday, as CollegeInsider.com named him the Jim Phelan award winner as the mid-season National Coach of the Year.

Martin has K-State off to its best start since the 1958-59 season and tied with three other teams for the second-best start in school history with its current 13-1 overall record.   Only one other squad - the 1918-19 team which won their first 17 games - has a better record after 14 games  The team earned its first Top 10 ranking in 35 years on Monday and its first since USA Today took ownership of the coaches' poll at No. 10.  The squad is No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, its highest ranking in that poll since being ranked No. 9 on March 13, 1973.  In addition, it is the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll in 1965.

K-State is in the midst of their longest winning streak (10) under Martin and their longest streak since also winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season.  The team completed the month of December perfect for just the eighth time in school history and the first time since the 1998-99 season with their 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Dec. 29.  Among the Wildcats' 13 wins are two over ranked non-conference teams (No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22 and No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12), a first for the program since the 1958-59 squad knocked off No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958.  The 13 non-conference wins tie for the 1993-94 team for the most in school history, while the .928 winning percentage in non-conference play is the best in school history.  In addition, the Wildcats have scored 80 or more points 11 times (including four 90-point games) in the first 14 games, which is the most by a team in school history.  The squad already has produced the second-most points (1,169) by a team after 14 games.  Martin became the third-fastest head coach in K-State history to 50 wins with an 86-69 win over Washington State on Dec. 5, trailing just Zora Clevenger (1916-20; 59 games) and Lon Kruger (1986-90; 71 games).    

The Jim Phelan award is presented annually to the top Division I coach in college basketball by Collegeinsider.com.  Prior to the 2003 season, the award was known simply as the CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year.  It was renamed to honor longtime Mount. St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan who retired following the 2002-03 season.  Previous winners of the award include John Calipari (Memphis, 2009), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2008), Tony Bennett (Washington State, 2007), Ben Howland (UCLA, 2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003).  The 2010 award will be presented on April 2 at the Final Four in Indianapolis.