K-State Heads North to Nebraska Saturday

Game Information

Kansas State (11-5, 0-2 Big 12)
at Nebraska (11-4, 1-1 Big 12)

Date: Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tipoff: 5:05 p.m. CT

Location: Lincoln, Neb.

Arena: Devaney Sports Center (1976)

Capacity: 13,595

Series: K-State leads 122-92
(Nebraska is 59-34 at home)

Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360

Steve Physioc (play-by-play)

Bryndon Manzer (analyst)

Steve Johnson (producer)

Dan McVan (director)

Channels: Metro (Kansas City), KSNT (Topeka), KMTW (Wichita)

Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio

Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)

Stan Weber (analyst)

Tickets: Available by calling (800) 824-4733       

 

Kansas State Wildcats

Record: 11-5 (0-2 Big 12)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--

Coach: Frank Martin

Alma Mater: Florida International, 93

Career Record: 32-17/1

School Record: 32-17/1

vs. Nebraska: 1-1

07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)

Last game: Jan. 13, 2009

Lost at Kansas, 87-71

SID: Tom Gilbert

Website: www.k-statesports.com

 

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Record: 11-4 (1-1 Big 12)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--

Coach: Doc Sadler

Alma Mater: Arkansas, 82

Career Record: 96-49/5

School Record: 48-31/3

vs. Kansas State: 2-2

07-08 Record: 20-13 (7-9 Big 12)

Last game: Jan. 14, 2009

Lost at Iowa State, 65-53

SID: Jerry Trickie

Website: www.huskers.com

 

Projected Starters

Kansas State (11-5, 0-2 Big 12)

G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)

G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)

F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6-5, 210, So.)

F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)

F - #50 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)

Nebraska (11-4, 1-1 Big 12)

G #4 Steve Harley (5-11, 180, Sr.)

G - #5 Sek Henry (6-3, 200, Jr.)

G - #11 Ade Dagunduro (6-5, 200, Sr.)

G - #24 Cookie Miller (5-7, 165, So.)

F - #32 Chris Balham (6-8, 235, Jr.)

 

Game Preview

Kansas State (11-5, 0-2 Big 12) continues its road trip this weekend, as the Wildcats head north to face Nebraska (11-4, 1-1 Big 12) at the Devaney Center on Saturday at 5 p.m.  It will mark consecutive road games for the first time this season after the team dropped an 87-71 decision at Kansas on Tuesday.  The Wildcats split their meetings with the Huskers last season, including a 71-64 loss in Lincoln on Feb. 20.   

Kansas State dropped consecutive games for just the second time this season, as a hot Kansas squad posted opponent highs for points (87) and field goals made (28) en route to an 87-71 win at home.  The Jayhawks raced out to an 18-0 lead before the Wildcats could register a basket.  K-State used an 18-8 run to start the second half to cut the deficit to 45-42 with just over 15 minutes to play, however, the team couldn’t get any closer in losing their fourth straight at Kansas.  The loss gave the program consecutive January losses for the first time since 2007.  The team saw their 14-game winning streak in the month end in the loss to Oklahoma on Jan. 10.

Sophomore Jacob Pullen led a trio of Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 13 points, while junior Luis Colon and redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels added 12 and 11 points, respectively.  Pullen has led the team in scoring a team-high five times this season, while he tallied double figures for a team-best 11th time.  In all, nine players registered points against Kansas.  Sophomore Ron Anderson paced the team in rebounding for the fifth time with eight boards and has now grabbed seven or more rebounds in six consecutive games. 
   

K-State remains the definition of balance with seven different leading scorers, eight different assist leaders and six different rebounding leaders.  Right now, six players are averaging eight or more points, while five players are averaging four or more rebounds.  There have been 57 double-digit scoring games by 10 players.  Of the 10 players, six have registered double figures six or more times this year.  

The Wildcats have continued to show their presence on the defense end, allowing just 62.6 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting.  Before allowing a season-high 87 points on 58.3 percent shooting against Kansas, the team had held its last seven opponents to an average of 56.1 points on just 35.7 percent shooting.  The squad has held eight of its 16 opponents to 60 points or less, while holding its foes to below 40 percent shooting 10 times. 

The contest against Nebraska will be televised on the newly-branded Big 12 Network with Steve Physioc (play-by-play) and Bryndon Manzer (analyst) calling the action.  Fans will also be able to watch the contest on the Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com. More information on the Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com, can be found at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/. It will the third of eight appearances on the Big 12 Network for the Wildcats this year.

Fans will also be able to listen to the audio broadcast on the 29-station K-State Sports Network (Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call.

Ticket Information

Available for Saturday’s game by calling (800) 824.4733.

Been Here Before

Kansas State has faced an 0-2 start to conference play before and has rebounded to have a successful season.  This season marks the 28th time that the Wildcats have started a conference season 0-2 dating back to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play in 1913, including the seventh time in the Big 12 era.  In those previous 27 seasons, the squad has rebounded to win its third game 14 times, including four straight seasons from 2003-04 to 2006-07.  The last time they started 0-2 in 2006-07, the Wildcats went on to win 10 of their last 14 conference games to finish 10-6 in league play.  The team has not started 0-3 in a league season since 2000-01.   
 

Cats in January

Kansas State is 360-301 (.545) all-time in the month of January, including wins in 14 of its last 19 games dating back to 2007.  The Wildcats saw their 14-game winning streak in January, including a nine-game homecourt winning streak, end with their 61-53 loss to No. 6 Oklahoma on Jan. 10.  It was the first loss in the month since a 62-52 loss to Texas Tech on Jan. 8, 2007.

Last season, K-State posted its seventh perfect mark in the month of January and first since 1970 by turning in a 6-0 mark.  The squad opened the month with an 85-25 win over Savannah State then earned five straight Big 12 wins against Oklahoma (84-82), No. 10 Texas A&M (75-54), Colorado (72-56), Iowa State (82-57) and No. 2 Kansas (84-75).  The team also went undefeated in 1919 (4-0), 1951 (5-0), 1952 (5-0), 1958 (4-0), 1959 (6-0) and 1960 (6-0).

Explosive Offense...

Kansas State has shown the ability to score early and often, as the Wildcats have totaled 1,265 points in their first 16 games, an average of nearly 80 points per game.  The team has scored 70 or more points in 13 of 16 games, including 80 or more points eight times.  The squad has posted three games of 90 or more points, including a 107-point output against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, which ranks as the most in a non-conference game since 1994 and the highest point total since the Wildcats scored 111 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998.  The three 90-point games are the most since the 1997-98 season.

The 1,265 points are the fourth-most through 16 games in school history, trailing just the 1986-87 (1,330), 1997-98 (1,285) and 1952-53 (1,282) squads and just ahead of the 1976-77 (1,201) team.  This year’s edition is the fourth fastest team in school history to collect 1,000 points in a season.  The Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in eight of their first 16 games for just the third time in its history, which also includes the 1952-53 and 1986-87 teams.

Since Frank Martin’s arrival in 2007, K-State has shown the ability to score points, totaling two of the most prolific scoring teams in school history.  Last year, the Wildcats set the school mark with 2,574 points, while also posting the second-most field goals attempted (2067) and the third-most field goals (916) and 3-point field goals made (210) as well as the third-highest scoring average (78.0).  The 2,467 points in 2006-07 rank as the fourth-most in school history.

And Stellar Defense

K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 16 opponents thus far to an average of 62.6 points per game.  The Wildcats have held 13 foes to less than 70 points, including eight to 60 points or less.  The team ranks among the best in the Big 12 in several defensive categories, including first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (30.0), rebounding (40.8) and rebounding margin (+7.8), fourth in field goal percentage defense (39.3) and fifth in scoring defense.  The 1,002 points yielded ties for the fewest through 16 games (1998-99 team) in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1982-83 team allowed just 845 points.  This year, 10 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while eight have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range.  Prior to allowing 87 points at Kansas, the team had held the previous seven foes to just 56.1 points.  
   

Diverse Offense

Unlike last season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team has shown a lot more diversity with its scoring output thus far. 

Through 16 games, all 12 players have totaled double-digit points with six scoring in triple digits.  Three players - sophomore Jacob Pullen,  junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Fred Brown - are averaging in double figures led by Pullen’s 14.2 points per game.  Six players are averaging eight or more points, including freshman Jamar Samuels (9.7 ppg.), senior Darren Kent (8.5 ppg.) and sophomore Dominique Sutton (8.3 ppg). 

Since statistics became available during the 1950-51 season, there has been just six teams to have four players average in double figures with the last coming in 2004-05.  Just one team - the 1955-56 squad - has had six players average eight or more points in a season. 

There have already been seven different leading scorers in 16 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings.  In all, there have been 57 double-digit scoring games with Pullen doing it a team-best 11 times.  Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it at least six times. 

Both Clemente and Pullen have led the Wildcats in scoring a team-best five times, while Brown and Samuels are the only other players to repeat as leading scorer.  Clemente has led the team against Florida A&M, Cleveland State, Oregon, Gardner-Webb and Oklahoma, while Pullen paced in three consecutive games against Oakland, Kentucky and Iowa then again against Wagner and Kansas.  Brown led in games against SE Missouri State, Emporia State and Chicago State, while Samuels did it against Gardner-Webb and IdahoState.  

Rebounding Still a Strength

Most critics wondered how Kansas State would replace two of the best Big 12 rebounders - Michael Beasley and Bill Walker - after the duo helped the program average 41.3 rebounds a year ago.  The duo plus departed seniors Clent Stewart and Blake Young averaged over 25 boards per game.  Despite their absence, rebounding continues to be a strength with seven players averaging at least two boards per game.

Through 16 games, K-State is averaging 40.8 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.8 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards per game.  The team ranks among the best in the Big 12 in four rebounding categories, including first in rebounds, offensive rebounds and margin (+7.8) and second in rebounding defense (33.1).  Four players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon, Darren Kent and Dominique Sutton - have grabbed double-digit rebounds eight times with Anderson averaging a team-best 6.1 rebounds per game. 

Kent has a team-leading four double-doubles thus far with 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri, 14 points and 10 rebounds against Cleveland State, 24 points and 10 rebounds against Centenary and 13 points and 12 rebounds against Chicago State. Anderson, Colon and Sutton each have one with Anderson tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds against Emporia State, Colon grabbing his first one against Southern Miss with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Sutton capturing his first with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Wagner.

 

Pressure is the Key

The core of Frank Martin’s coaching philosophy is pressure, whether its on the offensive or defensive end of the floor.  His theory is the more pressure you apply on a team, the more difficult you make it for your opponent.  In other words, pressure causes breakdowns.

Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 367 points (30 percent of their season total of 1,265 points) off 297 opponent turnovers.  The squad has also outscored its foes, 192-109, on fast-break opportunities.  K-State has scored 20 or more points off opponent turnovers in 11 of the team’s 16 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.  In its 11 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 278-120, in points off turnovers.  In contrast, the team is tied 89-all with its opponents in points off turnovers in their five losses.  In all, the Wildcats have forced seven foes into 20 or more turnovers.  The team is averaging 7.6 steals per contest with eight players grabbing at least five led by Jacob Pullen’s team-high 28 steals.

Dynamic Duo

After dominating the paint a year ago with the likes of Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, Kansas State’s strength has shifted to the backcourt where the Wildcats start two of the best at their positions in junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Jacob Pullen.

The duo, which has started 15 of 16 games, have combined for 412 points on 39.7 percent shooting (143-of-360), including 34.9 percent from 3-point range (58-of-166), with 106 of the team’s 243 assists.  Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (76), 3-point field goals made (36), assists (59), steals (28) and minutes (455).  Clemente is second in scoring at 12.3 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting, while is also second in assists (47), minutes (381) and free throw percentage (80.6) and third in 3-point field goals (22).

The two have scored in double figures six times in the same game with a combined 36 points against Florida A&M, 31 against both Cleveland State and Kentucky, 45 against Oakland, 34 against Gardner-Webb and 39 against Wagner.  Each has led the squad in scoring a team-best five times with Clemente scoring a season-best 20 points against Gardner-Webb and Pullen, who has scored in double figures a team-best 11 times, posting a career-best 26 against Oakland.

Samuels an Impact off the Bench

An unknown coming into the season, redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels has become an impact player off the bench for the Wildcats.  Despite starting only one game this season, he is fourth in scoring at 9.7 points on 58.6 percent shooting with 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game.  He ranks second in the number of double-figure scoring games with 10, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb.  He scored in double figures in four consecutive games to start the year and has collected 10 or more points in six of the last 10 contests.  He has five or more rebounds 10 times, including a season-best eight on three occasions.  He was solid all-around in his first start against Centenary with eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and a career-tying three blocks.

Sutton Steals the Show

After getting a late start to his time at K-State, sophomore Dominique Sutton has become an all-around factor for the Wildcats this season.  He is one of four players that have hit on 50 percent or better from the field, while he is second in steals (1.4 spg.) and third in rebounds (4.9 rpg.) and minutes (22.0 mpg.) and sixth in scoring (8.3 ppg.).  He has also scored in double figures six times.  Sutton tied the school single-game record for steals against Idaho State with eight, matching a mark set by Lynn Smith against South Dakota on Nov. 29, 1986 then followed by Elliot Hatcher against Wichita State on Jan. 2, 1996.  He also posted a career night against Wagner on Dec. 30, collecting highs in six categories, including points (21), rebounds (10), field goals (7), field goals attempted (11) and free throws (6).   

Brown from Outside

Sophomore Fred Brown has emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he paces the squad in 3-point field goal percentage (41.8) and is second in 3-point field goals (33).  He has at least one 3-pointer in 13 of 16 games, including two or more on 10 occasions.  He ranks third on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg.), field goals (58) and field goals attempted (138), while he is first among reserves in minutes (20.6 mpg.).  Almost 60 percent of his made (33) and attempted field goals (79) have come beyond the arc.  He has scored in double figures seven times, including a pair of 20-point outings against SE Missouri State (21) and Chicago State (26).

Kent Stepping up as a Senior

One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of senior forward Darren Kent.  Kent, the team’s only senior, has been a force on the boards, ranking second with 6.0 rebounds per game.  He is also averaging 8.5 points on 39.8 percent shooting (39-of-98) to go with 1.2 assists and 0.6 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game.  Kent, who entered the season averaging 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in his career, has totaled a team-best four double-doubles this year.  He had 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri before posting 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds at Cleveland State.  He grabbed his third one on a career day against Centenary with career-best 24 points with 10 rebounds.  He turned in his fourth double-double against Chicago State with 13 points and a career-tying 12 rebounds.

Nebraska Update

Nebraska enters Saturday’s game with an 11-4 overall record and 1-1 mark in Big 12 after dropping a 65-53 decision at Iowa State on Wednesday.  The Cornhuskers rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to cut the lead to 55-53 with 2:12 remaining, however, the Cyclones responded with a 10-0 run to end the game.  The squad shot 34.5 percent from the field, including just 25.8 percent in the first half, and scored 26 points off 17 Cyclone turnovers.  Senior Ade Dagunduro led three players in double figures with 13 points.

The Cornhuskers are averaging 66.5 points through 15 games on 46.1 percent shooting, including 37.4 percent from 3-point range, with 29.1 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 9.4 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.  The team averages nearly seven 3-point field goals per game. 

A balanced Nebraska squad is led by senior guard Steve Harley, who averages 12.5 points on 43.6 percent shooting with 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals in a team-best 31.1 minutes per game.  Fellow senior Ade Dagunduro is second in scoring at 11.0 points per game on 53.2 percent shooting, while junior guard Sek Henry is third at 9.5  percent per game on 50 percent shooting.  Senior Paul Velender has a team-best 40 3-point field goals to go with a 8.9 points per game average.  Junior Ryan Anderson paces in rebounding at 4.4 per game.

Nebraska returns 11 lettermen, including four starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 20-13 record and advanced to the second round of the Mastercard NIT.  

The Huskers are led by third-year head coach Doc Sadler, who has posted a 48-31 mark at the helm.  He has a 96-49 record in five years as a head coach, which includes a two-year stint at UTEP (2004-06).  Sadler is 2-2 against K-State, including a 2-0 record at home. 

Series Information

K-State and Nebraska will meeting for the 215th time on Saturday with the Wildcats holding a 122-92 mark in the all-time series.  The 214 meetings are the third-most against one opponent, while the 122 wins are the second-most against a foe.  The Huskers are 59-34 in games played at home in the series, including wins in nine of the last 12 meetings.  K-State is 14-11 since the inception of the Big 12, but just 3-9 in that span in Lincoln.  The Wildcats’ last win in Lincoln came on March 1, 2006 in a 66-64 victory. 

 

Last 5 meetings:

  3-1-06    K-State 66-64     Lincoln

 1-27-07    K-State 61-45     Manhattan

 2-13-07    Nebraska 74-63    Lincoln

  2-6-08    K-State 74-59     Manhattan

 2-20-08    Nebraska 71-64    Lincoln

Solid Non-Conference Season

Kansas State’s win against Chicago State on Jan. 5 gave the team 11 non-conference wins for the second consecutive season.  It marks the first time the team has posted consecutive seasons of at least 10 non-conference wins since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons.  The squad still has one more non-conference game on Feb. 17 against North Carolina Central.  The Wildcats have won at least 10 non-league contests four times in the last five seasons. 

Recruiting Class Praised

The four-man recruiting class that Kansas State pulled down on Nov. 12 has been rated among the best in the country.  The class, which includes ESPNU100 prospect and power forward Wally Judge, has been rated the 17th-best class by ESPN Scouts, Inc., as well as 21st- best class by Rivals.com.  The quartet includes Judge, fellow high school teammate Rodney McGruder, Dallas (Texas) point guard Nick Russell and prep school forward Jordan Henriquez.
   

Young Cats

Kansas State enters the 2008-09 season with one its youngest teams in recent history, as senior forward Darren Kent is the lone senior on a roster of 13 players.  When you factor in that four of the six juniors are either transfers from another Division I school or a junior college, the Wildcats are one of the youngest teams in its history.  Dating back to the 1981-82 season, there has been just one team - the 1983-84 squad which had no seniors - with fewer seniors on its roster.  The 1996-97 also had just one senior on its roster.

Martin Inks Stellar Class

Kansas State head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent on the second day of the fall signing period on Nov. 13.

The four-man recruiting class, which was ranked 16th nationally by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and 21st by Rivals.com, includes prep school standout Jordan Henriquez (Winchendon [Mass.] School/Port Chester, N.Y.) and high school seniors Wally Judge (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.), Rodney McGruder (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.) and Nick Russell (Grace Preparatory Academy/Arlington, Texas).

The headliner of this class, Wally Judge is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward originally from Washington, D.C., who is entering his second year at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla.  Considered one of the top power forwards in the high school ranks, Judge was rated as a top 25 recruit by several recruiting services, including the No. 17 prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 23 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  He was also rated as an ESPNU Top 100 recruit.  In addition, he is ranked among the top-10 at his position, including No. 6 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 9 by Rivals.com.   

Judge is in his second year at Florida powerhouse, Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, where he helped the Apaches to their fourth consecutive Class 2A state title with a 24-6 record in 2007-08.   Judge averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds and was named second team Class 2A All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association.

A teammate of Judge at Arlington Country Day, Rodney McGruder is considered one of the best shooting guards in the country.  The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 91 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  McGruder is also ranked among the top-35 at the position by a number of outlets, including No. 23 by Rivals.com and No. 31 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. 

McGruder transferred to Arlington Country Day in the off-season from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.  As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals in leading the Lions to a 16-10 overall record and an appearance in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) semifinals in 2007-08.  He was named to the Washington Post All-Met first team. 

One of the top point guard prospects in the country, Nick Russell comes to K-State from Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas.  The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 114 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  Russell is also ranked among the top-40 at his position by a number of outlets, including No. 20 by Rivals.com and No. 36 by ESPN Scouts, Inc.  In addition, he is rated the No. 4 player in the state of Texas for the Class of 2009 by Texashoops.com.

Russell helped Grace Prep to a 26-12 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in league play, as a junior in 2006-07.  He helped the Lions to a runner-up finish at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools) Class 5A state tournament, where they lost to Midland Christian, 74-60.  Russell averaged 23 points, six assists and five rebounds as a junior.  He was named first team TAPPS Class 5A all-state as well as co-most valuable player of the District 1-5A and first team all-district. 

Jordan Henriquez comes to Kansas State from The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he is playing a postgraduate year in 2008-09.  The 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from New Rochelle, N.Y. signed with the Wildcats this past May after finishing his career at Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y.  As a senior, he led the team to an 18-6 record and an 8-0 mark in league play en route to a runner-up finish at the Section I Championship.  In averaging a team-best 15.3 points, Henriquez scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games in 2007-08, including six 20-point contests. 

The recruiting class will join a loaded Kansas State squad in 2009-10, as the Wildcats will return all but one player.  They will be joined by junior forward Curtis Kelly, who is sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from University of Connecticut this past summer.