13/12 K-State Travels to Colorado Saturday

Game Information

13/12 KANSAS STATE (14-2, 1-1 Big 12)
vs. Colorado (10-6, 1-1 Big 12)

Date: Saturday, January 16, 2010
Tipoff: 3:01 p.m. CT
Location: Boulder, Colo.  |  Arena: Coors Events Center (11,064)

Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court (Chad McKee, play-by-play; Rich Zvosec, analyst; Steve Reintjes, producer) |  Channel Directory: KMCI-TV (Kansas City), KSAS-TV (Wichita), KSNT-TV (Topeka)   |  Internet: www.ESPN360.com

Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  |  Live Stats: www.cubuffs.com  |  Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan)  |  Satellite Radio: Sirius 126/XM 102

Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 57-26 (.687) in his third season at K-State.  Colorado - Jeff Bzdelik (Illinois-Chicago '76) is 31-48 (.392) in his third season at Colorado and 106-95 (.527) in his seventh season overall as a head coach.      

Last Time Out: K-State beat Texas A&M, 88-65, on Tuesday, while Colorado earned a 78-71 win over 22/24 Baylor at home, also on Tuesday.

Series: K-State leads 95-44 (32-31 on the road)  |  Last time: K-State won 76-64 at home on March 7, 2009  |  Series Trend: K-State has won seven in a row, including three straight in Boulder  |  Frank Martin is 4-0 vs. Colorado, while Jeff Bzdelik is 0-4 all-time vs. K-State.     

Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 13 in AP Top 25 and No. 12 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25.  Colorado is not ranked in either poll.  

Tickets: $10 (general admission), $15 (bench) and $20 (midcourt) at the Athletics Ticket Office at 800.87.BUFFS or via www.cubuffs.com.

K-State hits the road for another big test at Colorado
Kansas State (14-2, 1-1 Big 12) begins a difficult stretch on Saturday, as the Wildcats hit the road for a big test at surging Colorado (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) at the Coors Events Center at 3 p.m. CT.  The Buffaloes, who knocked off No. 22/23 Baylor, 78-71, on Tuesday night at home, are a perfect 9-0 at home this season, including wins over San Francisco, Cal State Northridge and Miami (Ohio).  The game will again match two very physical teams in the Big 12, as the squads rank among the top-5 in the conference in personal fouls drawn (25.8 to 21.1), free throws made (22.6 to 19.6) and free throw attempted (30.9 to 25.4), while Colorado leads the league in free throw percentage (77.1).  The Wildcats, who rebounded from its first loss in seven weeks with an 88-65 win over Texas A&M, has won 11 of their last 12 games, while the Buffaloes have won four of their last six outings.  The win against the Aggies moved the team to 14-2 overall this season, which ties for the fifth-best start in school history and the best since the 1981-82 squad also posted a 14-2 mark.  This will be the 140th all-time meeting between the two schools, including the 64th in Boulder, with the Wildcats holding a 92-44 advantage in the series, including a slight 32-31 edge on the road.  K-State has won seven consecutive games against Colorado, including three in a row at the Coors Events Center.  Last season, the Wildcats rallied for a 77-75 win in overtime over the Buffaloes on the road.  The contest will be televised regionally on the Big 12 Network as well as nationally on the ESPN Full Court package with Chad McKee (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst) on the call.

The Wildcats saw its first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years last just one week with Saturday's loss, as the squad tumbled two spots to No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll on Monday.  The Top 10 ranking was the highest for K-State in coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92 and marked just the 12th time that a Wildcat team had reached the Top 10 at any point in a season in school history.  The team dropped two spots in the AP poll to No. 13, which is still just the ninth Top 15 ranking in the last 35 seasons.  The squad, whose 16 opponents boast a .649 winning percentage through Jan. 15, has a consensus Top 10 RPI (in all five major RPI polls) and a strength of schedule ranked 17 or better nationally.

K-State rebounded nicely from its second loss of the season with a solid victory over Texas A&M.  The Wildcats led the entire way, including a lead as high as 24 points, in moving to a perfect 9-0 at home all-time against the Aggies.  Senior Denis Clemente led four players in double figures, as he scored 20 of his season-high 24 points in the first half.  He finished the game 9-of-22 from the field, including 5-of-12 from 3-point range.  Backcourt mate Jacob Pullen tossed in 15 points, marking the 12th time the duo has combined for 30 or more points this season. Sophomore Jamar Samuels had 19 points off the bench, while junior Dominique Sutton added his second double-double in the last three games with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (82.8 ppg.) on 47.3 percent shooting (436-of-921), including 36.6 percent from 3-point range (108-of-295), with 39.6 rebounds, 15.6 assists, 7.4 steals and 4.9 blocks per game.  The squad has topped 80 or more points in 12 of 16 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 10 occasions.  The 1,325 points scored are the second-most through 16 games and the most since the 1986-87 squad scored 1,330 points.  The team is averaging over 35 points per game (35.9) in the paint, while averaging the nation's most personal fouls drawn per game (25.8) and the second-most free throw made (21.6) and attempted (32.8) per game.  They are out-scoring their opponents, 209-63, in fast-break points.  The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 67.9 points on 40.7 percent shooting while averaging 22.1 points off of 17.8 turnovers per game.  The team has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in nine games, including six of the last seven 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 have turned up the intensity of late, holding the last four teams to 66.0 points on 40.3 percent shooting, including 23.3 percent from 3-point range, while posting an +12.3 rebounding edge.  The team grabbed 50 or more rebounds against Cleveland State and South Dakota for the first time in back-to-back games since 2007-08.

With the win against Texas A&M, the Wildcats' 14-2 overall record is the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best since the 1981-82 squad also opened at 14-2 (also matched by the 1950-51 and 1961-62 teams).  Only four other teams have fared better after 16 games in Kansas State history, as the 1918-19 team started 16-0 (on its way to 17 straight wins) and the 1947-48, 1957-58 and 1958-59 team all started 15-1.  This is just the seventh time in school history that the team has won 14 of their first 16 games. 

Dubbed a Mid-season second team All-American by both Yahoo! Sports and The Sporting News, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 19.8 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (89), 3-point field goals (49), free throws (90), free throw percentage (79.6) and steals (24), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.9 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (67) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.48).  The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (555) this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.7) 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 1,108 points in 83 career games ranks 13th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 16 games.  His team-best 55 career double-digit scoring games ties him for 10th all-time in K-State history.

Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 12.2 points per game on 60.2 percent shooting from the field.  Samuels, who has come off the bench in 14 of 15 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 4.9 per game.  He has scored in double figures in 13 of his 15 games played, 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, 27 of Samuels' 28 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve.  Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.1 points per game.  Kelly, who is tied with Dominique Sutton with two double-doubles apiece, is shooting a team-best 60.4 percent from the field and is tied for the team lead in rebounds at 6.2 per contest.  Dominique Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's best defenders, is averaging 8.1 points on 52.2 percent shooting to go with a team-leading 6.2 rebounds per game.  Sutton, who turned in his second double-double in the last three games against Texas A&M (which included a career-best 12 boards), is averaging a near double-double (10.3 ppg., 9.0 rpg.) in the last six games.

Postgame Notes vs. Texas A&M
--With its win over Texas A&M, Kansas State improved to 15-6 all-time in the series, including 11-7 since the start of the Big 12 in 1997... The Wildcats are a perfect 9-0 all-time against the Aggies at home, the only Big 12 school not to win at Bramlage Coliseum... The team also improved to 56-40 all-time in home conference openers dating back to the Missouri Valley Conference in 1914, including a 5-9 mark in Big 12 home openers.

--K-State has now won a Bramlage Coliseum-record 13 consecutive games, which broke a tie with a 12-game streak that spanned the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons (March 1, 1997 to Feb. 14, 1998)... The 13-game homecourt winning streak is now the ninth-longest home winning streak in school history... It is the longest at a home venue since the squad won 20 straight games at Ahearn Field House from Jan. 28, 1981 to Jan. 30, 1982... Head coach Frank Martin has a 42-5 (.894) record in games played at Bramlage Coliseum.

--The Wildcats' starting lineup was junior guard Jacob Pullen, senior guard Denis Clemente, junior forward Dominique Sutton, junior forward Curtis Kelly and senior center Luis Colon... It marked the just the fourth time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 50 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 83.

--A game after scoring just 68 points on 42 percent shooting, the Wildcats posted 88 points on 47.5 percent (28-of-59) shooting, including 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from 3-point range, while holding a 47-32 edge on the boards... The squad converted 15 Aggie turnovers into 23 points (marking the ninth time they have scored 20+ points off turnovers), while they had 20 second-chance points and a 15-0 edge in fast-break points... The team held Texas A&M to just 65 points (nearly 10 under their average) on 36.4 percent shooting, including 11.8 percent from 3-point range.

--Senior Denis Clemente led four players in double figures with a season-high 24 points on 9-of-22 shooting, including 5-of-12 from 3-point range... Clemente scored 20 of his 24 points in an electric first half, where he converted on 7-of-16 field goals, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc... Clemente has now led the team in scoring 16 times in his career... He has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games, including 14 of 16 games this season... Super sub Jamar Samuels topped double figures for the eighth straight game with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while he posted his 13th double-digit scoring effort of the season... Junior Jacob Pullen tallied double figures for the 55th time in his career with 15 points, while he continued his streak with at least two 3-point field goals in 14 consecutive games... Junior Dominique Sutton tallied his second double-double in the last three games with a 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting with a career-high 12 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

The Book onColorado
Colorado enters Saturday's game with a 10-6 overall record and 1-1 mark in Big 12 play after beating No. 22/23 Baylor, 78-71, on Tuesday night at the Coors Events Center.  The Buffaloes were extremely balanced in the win with five players in double figures led by junior Cory Higgins' 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting.  Junior Marcus Relphorde posted 17 points and seven rebounds, while freshman sensation Alex Burks added 16 points of 5-of-11 field goals.  The Buffaloes were incredibly efficient, shooting 50 percent for the contest, including 61.5 percent in the second half, and managing just five turnovers.  They forced the Bears into 18 miscues and capitalized by scoring 21 points off those turnovers.

The win was the ninth in a row for Colorado at home, where the Buffaloes are perfect with wins over San Francisco (78-54), Cal State Northridge (92-58), Yale (70-59) and Miami-Ohio (67-65).  The team has played a challenging schedule with all six losses coming away from Boulder,

including four true road games.  The Buffaloes nearly knocked off No. 17/14 Gonzaga (72-76) and Arizona (87-91 in OT) at the Maui Invitational    in November, while their other losses have come on the road at Oregon State (69-74), Colorado State (62-77), at Conference USA favorite Tulsa (59-84) and at current No. 1/1 Texas (86-103) last Saturday.

Colorado is averaging just under 80 points per game (77.2) on the year on 49 percent shooting, including 38.8 percent from 3-point range, with 29.3 rebounds, 14.9 assists, 8.5 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.  The team is shooting a Big 12-best 77.1 percent from the free throw line.  A squad that features just one senior, the Buffaloes are a balanced team with six players averaging six or more points on the season.  Higgins, a third team All-Big 12 selection a year ago, is averaging a team-best 18.2 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting to go with a team-tying 17 3-point field goals and a team-best 85 free throws.  Freshman standout Alec Burks, a native of Grandview, Mo., is second in scoring at 16.6 points per game on 54 percent shooting with a team-best 5.1 rebounds per outing.  Junior college transfer Marcus Relphorde also scores in double figures at 11.1 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting, while lone senior Dwight Thorne II averages 8.5 points on 50.7 percent shooting.  The Buffaloes are led by veteran head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who has posted 31-48 (.392) mark in his third season at the helm.  A former head coach of the Denver Nuggets, he has a 106-95 (.527) record in seven years as a head coach, which includes a two-year stint at the Air Force Academy (2005-07).

Series vs. Colorado
This will be the 140th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Colorado on the hardwood, including the 29th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 92-44 all-time edge in a series that dates back to 1933.  K-State holds a narrow 32-31 advantage in games played in Boulder, including three consecutive wins dating back to 2007.  Last season, the squad swept the season series for the third straight season with a 77-75 win in overtime at the Coors Events Center on Jan. 24, 2009.  Guard Jacob Pullen led four players in double figures with 17 points. 

'Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play this season in the month of January where the Wildcats have won 19 of their last 27 games.  The squad is 365-304 (.545) all-time in January with 19 wins in their last 24 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season.  The team has won 14 of its last 21 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including a 6-4 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. 

It's Over But Still a Big Accomplishment
Kansas State saw its 10-game winning streak end against Missouri on Jan. 9, ironically the same opponent that ended its last 10-game streak in 1993-94.  During the streak, K-State averaged 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 scored at least 70 points in all 10 games and connected on 45 percent or better in six contests. The squad averaged 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 held their opponents to 68.8 points during the stretch on 43.2 percent shooting, including 31.9 percent from 3-point range. The team also held an impressive averaging rebounding margin of 8.0 (39.3 to 31.3).

During the winning streak, the Wildcats 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 paced three players in double figures during the 10-game streak at 22.5 points per game. He connected on 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 averaged 15.1 points on 40.7 percent shooting with a team-high in assists (47). The two combined to average 37.6 points per game during the stretch.  Sophomore Jamar Samuels also scored double figures at 12.3 points per game on a team-best 60 percent shooting. 

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 (44.1) on 50.6 percent shooting (216-of-427), including 41.2 percent (54-of-131) from 3-point range.  The team has scored 40 or more points in the second half in 14 of their 16 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 was especially a factor during the 10-game winning streak where the Wildcats hit on 50.8 percent (134-of-264) in the second half, including 43 percent (37-of-86) from beyond the arc.  In the last seven games, K-State is averaging 43.9 points in the second half on 50.3 percent shooting (94-of-187), including 39.2 percent (20-of-51) 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 first nationally in fouls drawn per game (25.8) and second in both free throws made (21.6) and free throws attempted per game (32.8).  The team trails just Wyoming, which is first in both categories (22.6 free throws made and 30.9 free throws attempted per game).  The Wildcats have connected on 20 or more free throws in 12 of their 16 games, including eight of the last nine contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 11 games.  The team tied its season high with 28 free throws made against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 21 (also had 28 vs. Boston U. on Nov. 19), while they attempted at least 40 free throws (42) for the fifth time.  The Wildcats also seem to make them in clutch situations, hitting on 73 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 1,598 points off of 1,399 turnovers in 83 games, an average of 19.3 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 22.1 points off of 17.8 opponent mistakes per game.  K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers nine times, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most since the stat began being kept in 2005-06.  The Wildcats also scored 20 or more off of miscues against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), WSU (39), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29), Cleveland State (30) and Texas A&M (23).    

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 1,507 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second on the team in scoring in 2008-09.  They have combined to average 34.7 points per game through 16 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 19.8 points per game.  The 34.7-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).  As a pair, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 30.4) guard tandem in school history 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 43 times in 48 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 28 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 48 career games together).  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, No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22, 2009 and Washington State on Dec. 5, 2009.

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 67 through just 16 games, Clemente ranks 35th nationally and third in the Big 12 with a stellar 2.48 assist-to-turnover ratio.  He has had fewer than two turnovers in all but four games this season, while dishing out at least four assists in 10 games.  His assist-to-turnover ratio has been even better in the last 10 games, where he has handed out 52 assists to just 20 turnovers for a solid 2.60 ratio.  He 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 15-point effort against Texas A&M on Tuesday, Pullen became just the 13th player in school history to top 1,100 career points (1,108 points) and the first to accomplish the feat since current Golden State Warrior Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07).  He has a chance to crack into the school's all-time Top 10, where he is just 143 points short of 10th-place Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82).  He 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 467 and fourth in makes with 164.  After moving past Cartier Martin (446; 2003-07) in attempts against South Dakota on Jan. 3, he now sets his sights on eclipsing 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 15 3-point field goals to move past Cartier Martin (178; 2003-07) for third place all-time before challenging the 3-point field goal records set by Jones and Henson.  Pullen has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 14 consecutive games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12.  In that span, he is connecting on 46.1 percent (47-of-102) 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 on Nov. 19 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off.  With one steal against Texas A&M on Tuesday, he is now tied for third place in school history in the category with Elliot Hatcher (118. 1994-96) and needs just 16 more to move ahead of Askia Jones (133, 1989-94) for second place.  Pullen moved into the career Top 10 in assists with his 248th vs. Washington State on Dec. 5 and is now tied with Ed Nealy (270; 1979-82) for eighth place.  He needs just 36 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.

Although he slipped slightly below his 20-point average, Pullen has the opportunity to become just the second Wildcat to average 20 points 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 per game.  

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 established himself as a top-line defender this year.  During a stretch that has included the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, UNLV's Derrick Jasper, Alabama's Senario Hillman and Texas A&M's Khris Middleton, Sutton has held his opponents to a collective 38 shooting percentage (35-of-92), including a 23.1 percent (6-of-26) 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.  Sutton held Hillman to just 3-of-9 shooting with just one 3-point field goal with 11 points, while Cleveland State's D'Aundray Brown went 3-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-1 from 3-point range, with just six points.  He also played a role in the defense of Texas A&M star Donald Sloan, who was held to just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting with three turnovers.

Rebounding Magnet
Despite his smallish stature (6-foot-5), Dominique Sutton has become quite the rebounding magnet this season.  Tied for the team lead with 6.2 rebounds per game, Sutton has grabbed at least five boards in 11 of 16 games, including at least seven in each of the last six games.  He is tied with teammate Curtis Kelly for 14th in the Big 12 in rebounding and eighth in offensive rebounds.  He has an astounding 54 rebounds in that six-game span (an average of 9.0 per contest), including 33 on the defensive end, leading the team in the category five times.  He is averaging a near double-double in that span with 10.3 points per game on 51.2 percent shooting (22-of-43) and 9.0 rebounds per outing.  He earned his second double-double this season (and fourth of his career) against Texas A&M with 12 points on 4-of-8 field goals with a career-best 12 rebounds.  

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 16 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game on a team-best 60.4 percent shooting to go with  team-bests in both rebounds (6.2) and blocks (1.7) per contest.  He is tied for the team lead 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, 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 nine 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 13 games, including a career-best six against South Dakota.  The six blocks against the Coyotes tied Tony Kitt (1998-99) for the most by a junior in one game in school history.  He had perhaps his best all-around game on Jan. 3 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 third on the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game, has seen 27 of his 28 double-digit career scoring efforts come as a reserve.  This season, he has scored 10 or more points 13 times with 12 of those coming off the bench, including eight consecutive games.  He is averaging 9.6 points on 55.3 percent (145-of-262) in 46 games off the bench, including 12.2 points per game on 60.2 percent shooting this season.  His only start came in the opener against Loyola Chicago, where he scored 11 points on 3-of-6 field goals in 14 minutes.  After scoring a career-high 21 points against Fort Hays State (No. 10 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, he was again sharp against Texas A&M with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting with four rebounds.   

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 30 rebounds in seven 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 718 points his two-year career on 39.7 percent shooting (249-of-627) from the field, including 34 percent (91-of-267) from 3-point range, in 48 games.  He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 85 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, which recognizes college basketball's top point guard, on Jan. 5.  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, who helped guide K-State to its first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years earlier this season, has the Wildcats off to the fifth-best start in school history and the best since the 1981-82 season with its current 14-2 overall record.  The season has included a 10-game winning streak, which tied five other teams for the ninth-longest in school history and the longest since the 1993-94 team also won 10 in a row.  Clemente is the team's second-leading scorer (and 14th in the Big 12) at 14.9 points per game and has scored in double figures in 14 of the team's 16 games.  The team leader in assists at 4.19 per game, he is second on the team in field goals (82) and 3-point field goals (32).  He ranks third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.48, while he is eighth in assists and tied for 10th in 3-point field goals made per game (2.0).  

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 Dec. 30, 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 1981-82 season and tied with three other teams for the fifth-best start in school history with its current 14-2 overall record.   Only four other squads - 1918-19, 1947-48, 1957-58 and 1958-59 teams - have a better record after 16 games in school history.  The team earned its first Top 10 ranking in 35 years on Jan. 4 when the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll (including the first since USA Today took ownership of the poll in 1991-92) voted the Wildcats to No. 10.  The squad reached as high as No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll also on Jan. 4, which was its highest AP ranking since being ninth on March 13, 1973.  In addition, the No. 11 ranking was the highest prior to league play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the 1965 preseason poll.

Although it was ended at Missouri on Jan. 9, K-State posted its longest winning streak in more than 15 years earlier this season when the team won 10 straight from Nov. 22, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010.  The 10-game winning streak was the longest since also winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season and just the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history.  The squad completed the month of December perfect for just the eighth time and the first time since the 1998-99 season with their 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Dec. 29.  Among the 14 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.  The squad already has produced the second-most points (1,325) by a team after 16 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.