16/18 K-State Travels To TCU Wednesday

Senior Jordan Henriquez came off the bench to score nine points and a team-high seven rebounds in the win at West Virginia.

Jan. 15, 2013

Game Notes  |  Live Stats  |  Live Audio  |  ESPN3

Game 16
16/18 Kansas State (13-2, 2-0 Big 12) at TCU (9-7, 0-3 Big 12)
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 * 8:05 p.m. CT
Fort Worth, Texas * Daniel-Meyer Coliseum (7,201)

Television: ESPNU
Brad Sham (play-by-play); Matt Doherty (analyst)
Internet: www.ESPN3.com and WatchESPN.com
WatchESPN available on Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon and Brighthouse

Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 91/XM 91 (TCU broadcast)

Live Stats: http://www.kstatesports.com/multimedia/ksu-gt-live-stats.html
Live Audio: http://www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday

vs. Big 12: K-State leads 438-449 (151-233 on the road)
vs. TCU: K-State leads 3-2 (1-0 on the road)
Last Meeting: TCU won 72-71 (3/10/1999)

16/18 Kansas State (13-2, 2-0 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 13-2 (1st season)  * Career Record: 326-157 (15th season)  * vs. TCU: 0-0 

TCU (9-7, 0-3 Big 12)
Head coach: Trent Johnson (Boise State ‘83)
School Record: 9-7 (1st season)  * Career Record: 235-192 (14th season)  * vs. K-State: 0-0

No. 16/18 Kansas State (13-2, 2-0 Big 12) concludes its short two-game road trip on Wednesday, as the Wildcats make their first trip to TCU since 1969 with an 8 p.m. tip against the Horned Frogs (9-7, 0-3 Big 12) at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.  The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU with Brad Sham (play-by-play) and former Notre Dame, North Carolina and SMU head coach Matt Doherty (analyst) on the call.  Riding a season-long six-game winning streak, the Wildcats are 2-0 in Big 12 play for just the second time since the league’s inception in 1997 and for the first time since the 2007-08 team won its first five conference contests.  The overall six-game winning streak is the longest since the team won six in a row from Dec. 11, 2011.  Overall, K-State has posted 14 winning streaks of at least five games (including a 10-game streak from Nov. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010) in the last six seasons. 

The Wildcats will be playing just their third true road game of the season on Wednesday after winning contests at George Washington (65-62) on Dec. 8 and West Virginia (65-64) on Saturday.  Overall, the squad has won five consecutive road games, including four in a row in Big 12 play, dating back to last season, which is the longest since K-State rattled off six straight road wins (all in Big 12 play) from Jan. 16 to Feb. 23, 2010.  The Wildcats have improved their play on the road in the Big 12, posting a 26-24 record over the past seven seasons (which began in 2006-07) after winning just 10 of 80 road games in the league’s first 10 years (1997-2006). 

Wednesday’s contest will pit two of the Big 12’s best defensive teams, as TCU (55.3 ppg.) and K-State (57.3 ppg.) rank first and second, respectively, in scoring defense in overall games.  The two teams have combined to limit 17 teams to 60 points or less (TCU - 10 and K-State - 7) and are holding opponents to below 30 percent shooting from 3-point range.

K-State is ranked in both major polls, jumping two spots in The Associated Press Top 25 poll to No. 16 and moving five spots in the USA Today Coaches poll to No. 18.  It marks the fourth straight week that the Wildcats have been ranked in the AP poll, while the No. 16 ranking is the highest in the AP poll since placing 11th on Dec. 20, 2010.  The program has now been ranked at least one week in each of the last four years, which had not happened since doing it six straight years from 1972-78. 

TCU (9-7, 0-3 Big 12) has opened Big 12 play with three consecutive losses after entering league play with a three-game winning streak.  The Horned Frogs return home after losing back-to-back road games at Oklahoma State (45-63) and Baylor (40-51).  The team is averaging 55.2 points on 42.6 percent shooting, including 33.1 percent from 3-point range, while holding opponents to a Big 12-low 55.3 points on 40.4 percent shooting, including 29.5 percent from beyond the arc.  The Frogs are led by sophomore Kyan Anderson, who paces the team in nine categories, including scoring (12.1 ppg.), 3-point field goals (24), assists (3.7 apg.), steals (1.5 spg.) and minutes (33.7 mpg.).  Senior Garlon Green also averages in double figures at 11.3 points per game, while fellow senior Adrick McKinney adds 7.1 points per game to go with a team-best 6.8 rebounds per outing.  TCU led by first-year head coach Trent Johnson, who has a 235-192 record in his 14th season.  He has previously served as head coach at Nevada (1999-2004), Stanford (2004-08) and LSU?(2008-12), winning conference Coach of the Year honors in the WAC, Pac-10 and SEC.

Lee Nailon led four players in double figures with a game-high 22 points, as TCU held on for a 72-71 win over K-State in the last meeting between the two teams in the first round of the NIT on March 10, 1999 at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Horned Frogs led by as many as 12 points in the second half before the Wildcats ended the game on an 18-7 run, including a lay-up as time expired.  Three Wildcats scored in double figures led by Manny Dies’ team-best 15 points and game-high 11 rebounds.

This will be the sixth meeting between K-State and TCU on the hardwood and the first as conference opponents in a series that dates back to 1947.  The two teams haven’t met since March 10, 1999 when the Horned Frogs earned a 72-71 win at Bramlage Coliseum in the first round of the NIT.  This will be just the second meeting in Fort Worth and the first since the Wildcats posted a 75-65 victory on Dec. 19, 1969.  Interestingly enough, K-State is 3-0 in the series during the regular season and 0-2 when facing the Horned Frogs in the postseason (1968 NCAAs and 1999 NIT). Head coach Bruce Weber has never faced TCU in his career.

--Kansas State’s 13-2 start ties for the best to start a season in the last 25 seasons with the 2009-10 team, which also produced a 13-2 start.  The 2-0 start to Big 12 play is just the second since the league’s inception in 1997 and the first since the 2007-08 team won its first five conference contests.  The win over No. 22/21 Oklahoma State on Jan. 5 snapped a four-game losing streak in Big 12 openers and was the first since an 84-82 win at Oklahoma on Jan. 12, 2008.  It was also the first win in a home Big 12 opener since a 68-44 victory over Texas Tech on Jan. 11, 2002.  The Wildcats’ two losses are to Top 10 teams in current No. 5/5 Michigan and No. 8/8 Gonzaga.  The team faced three Top 15 teams (No. 4 Michigan, No. 14 Gonzaga and No. 8 Florida) in non-conference play for the first time in school history.  K-State posted double-digit non-conference games for the seventh straight season, including its first regular-season Top 10 non-conference win (No. 8 Florida) since 1981.

--Bruce Weber’s 13-2 record ties Zora Clevenger (1916-17) for the best start by a first-year K-State head coach in the program’s 109-year history.  The best campaign by a first-year head coach in school history is still held by Clevenger, who led the Wildcats to a 15-2 (.882) mark in his inaugural season in 1916-17. Clevenger made most of his impact on the gridiron, where he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was the founder of the East-West Shrine football game.

--K-State is having a stellar start to the 2012-13 athletics season, as the Wildcats have one of the best winning percentages among BCS schools when combining football and men’s and women’s basketball records.  As of Monday’s results, the school’s 34 wins tie for 16th nationally and its .773 winning percentage (34-10) places 13th.  K-State is one of 25 BCS schools (along with Big 12 brethren Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) with 30+ combined wins among its three major sports.  The Wildcat football team produced just its sixth 11-win in school history (second accomplished in regular season) and advanced to a BCS game (Fiesta Bowl) for the first time in eight years.  The men’s basketball team is off to its best start (13-2) in the past 25 seasons, while the women’s basketball team has won 10 of its first 16 games.  If you take into account the success of the women’s volleyball team, which won 20 matches and advanced to NCAA?Tournament, the Wildcats are 55-19 (.743) since August 24.

--The Wildcats are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season and the first since winning six in a row from Dec. 11-31, 2011.  The team has posted 14 winning streaks of at least five games (including a 10-game streak from Nov. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010) in the last six seasons.  The squad has not won seven straight games since winning seven in a row from Feb. 2-27, 2010.

--K-State received its first national ranking of the season on Dec. 24, appearing at No. 25 in The Associated Press Top 25 with 152 points, and jumped two spots to No. 16 (with 670 points) in the latest poll on Jan. 14.  The No. 16 ranking is the highest since checking in at No. 11 on Dec. 20, 2010.  In addition, the squad moved to No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches poll after debuting at No. 23 on Jan. 7.  Last week, all three Division I schools in the state of Kansas were ranked (No. 8 Kansas, No. 18 K-State and No. 23 Wichita State) in the AP poll for the first time since the 1964-65 preseason poll.  K-State has now been ranked in the AP poll at least one week in each of the last four seasons, a feat which has not happened since doing it six consecutive seasons from 1972-78.  The Wildcats have a 242-91 (.727) all-time record as a ranked team, including a 5-3 (.625) mark as the No. 16 team.

--K-State ranks in the Top 55 in nine categories nationally, including third in offensive rebounds (15.9), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.3), 19th in scoring defense (57.3) and rebounding margin (+8.5), 26th in rebounding (40.2), 32nd in assists (15.9), 38th in scoring margin (+12.1), 45th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.23) and 52nd in field goal percentage defense (39.3).  The Wildcats rank in the Top 5 in 15 of 21 Big 12 categories, including first in offensive rebounds and rebounding defense and second in scoring defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin.

--Nine of the 15 games have been at home (including a home game vs. No. 8/9 Florida in Kansas City’s Sprint Center), where the Wildcats have won 11 straight dating back to last season (including 10 in a row at Bramlage Coliseum).  The school extended its non-conference home winning streak to 48 after a win over South Dakota on Dec. 31.  K-State has won 29 straight non-conference home games in December and boast a 40-1 mark in the month at Bramlage Coliseum the past 10 seasons with the last loss coming to Rutgers on Dec. 28, 2004.  The team is a combined 96-21 (.821) in November/December home games since 2003-04. 

--K-State has a distinct advantage on offense and defense at home, averaging 73.7 points on 44.7 percent shooting, including 33.7 percent from 3-point range, while allowing just 53.2 points on 35.4 percent shooting, including 25 percent from beyond the arc, in 10 games.  In its five neutral and road games this season, the team is averaging nearly 13 points less (61.0 ppg.) on 38.7 percent shooting, including 31.3 percent from 3-point range, while allowing 65.6 points on 47.1 percent shooting.
--The Wildcats have been one of the best first-half defensive teams, holding its 15 opponents to just 24.5 points on 36.4 percent shooting, including 25.2 percent from 3-point range.  It has held four opponents to 20 points or less in the first half.  In contrast, the squad is allowing 32.9 points in the second half on 41.9 percent shooting, including 29.2 percent from beyond the arc.  

--Saturday’s meeting with West Virginia marked the ninth time K-State has faced a former head coach (Tex Winter, Lon Kruger and Huggins) with the Wildcats winning for just the second time in those occurrences.  The last win before Saturday was a 95-80 win over a Kruger-coached UNLV squad on Dec. 12, 2009.  The team will play at least three more such games this season.  K-State lost twice to Winter (Washington in 1971 and Long Beach State in 1978), while the Wildcats are 1-4 against Kruger in his stops at Illinois (1999), UNLV (2009, 2010) and Oklahoma (2012) and 1-1 against Huggins at West Virginia (2011).  Interestingly enough, the Wildcats are 5-0 against head coaches prior to them coming to K-State.  The school went 1-0 against Winter at Marquette (1953), 3-0 against Jack Hartman at Southern Illinois (1964, 1968 and 1969) and 1-0 against Huggins at Akron (1988). 

--The 67-61 win over No. 8/9 Florida in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic on Dec. 22 was the first regular-season, non-conference Top 10 victory since knocking off No. 8 Minnesota at home, 62-52, on Dec. 21, 1981.  Overall, it was just the 12th non-conference Top 10 win in school history (and the first since defeating No. 3 Purdue, 73-70, and then assistant coach Bruce Weber on March 25, 1988 in the NCAA Tournament), including the seventh in the regular season.  Aside from Minnesota in 1981 and Florida in 2012, the Wildcats have also beaten No. 4 Long Island (85-65) on Jan. 31, 1951, No. 7 Notre Dame (80-64) on Dec. 19, 1952, No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) on Dec. 19, 1958, No. 5 North Carolina (77-69) on Dec. 16, 1960 and No. 9 St. John’s (63-50) on Dec. 16, 1961.

--K-State had a tremendous semester in the classroom, as the team had a cumulative 2.839 GPA (the highest in 12 years) during the Fall 2012 semester.  A program-best eight players - Adrian Diaz, Rodney McGruder, Angel Rodriguez, Brian Rohleder, Ryan Schultz, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Nino Williams - were named to the Fall Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll on Jan. 9.  Rohleder was one of 31 student-athletes to post a perfect 4.0 GPA during the semester.

K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with seven players averaging five or more points, including just one in double figures, and seven averaging three or more rebounds per game.  Senior Rodney McGruder (14.9 ppg.) is the only Wildcat to average in double figures, while five others - Angel Rodriguez (9.5 ppg.), Will Spradling (8.4 ppg.), Thomas Gipson (7.5 ppg.), Shane Southwell (7.1 ppg.) and Nino Williams (7.0 ppg.) - are averaging better than seven points per contest.  The team has seen nine players collect 40 double-digit scoring games with McGruder (11) leading the way.  Only West Virginia (10) has more players with double-digit scoring efforts in the Big 12, while TCU also has nine players with 10+ points.  In all, the Wildcats have had six players lead or share the lead in scoring led by McGruder (seven).  Gipson (6.3 rpg.) paces the squad in
rebounding despite leading in a game just four times, while McGruder (5.5 rpg.), Nino Williams (5.2 rpg.) and Jordan Henriquez (4.5 rpg.) are averaging better than four rebounds per game.  The team has had eight players either lead or share the lead in rebounding with McGruder and Williams leading three times each and D.J. Johnson and Henriquez doing it two times apiece.

The Wildcats have also been diverse in other categories, including seven players with double-digit assists and five with double-digit steals.  Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 57 assists with six players either leading or sharing the lead in assists.  McGruder has a team-best 18 steals, while eight have either led or shared the lead in steals.  Five players -- McGruder (30.9 mpg.), Spradling (30.5), Rodriguez (23.2), Southwell (21.3) and Gipson (20.5) -- are each averaging more than 20 minutes, while six others are averaging double-digit minutes.  Seven players have at least one start with McGruder and Spradling starting all 15.

K-State has continued to be one of the best defensive teams not only in the Big 12, but nationally, where the squad entered the week ranking 11th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.3), 19th in scoring defense (57.3) and rebounding margin (+9.0), 26th in rebounding (40.2) and 52nd in field goal percentage defense (39.3).  In all, the Wildcats rank either first or second in four Big 12 defensive categories, including first in rebounding defense, second in scoring defense, rebounding margin and 3-point field goal percentage defense.  The team is third in rebounding and fourth in field goal percentage defense.

The 860 points surrendered through the first 15 games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 786 points (52.4 ppg.) through the first 15 games.  The team has held 11 of its 15 opponents to 65 points or less, including seven to 55 points or less, while six have been held to under 40 percent shooting and four to under 20 percent shooting from 3-point range.  The defensive effort was nearly historic in the 87-26 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, as the 26 points allowed were one shy of the Bramlage Coliseum record of 25 set against Savannah State on Jan. 7, 2008.  The Chargers’ 16.4 field goal percentage (9-of-55) was only surpassed by Savannah State’s 15.5 percentage.

K-State continues to be one of the best rebounding squads in the country, as the Wildcats tie for 26th nationally in rebounding (40.2), including third in offensive rebounds (15.9), and 19th in rebounding margin (+8.5).  The team ranks second in the Big 12 in rebounding margin and third in rebounding, while they are the clear leader in offensive rebounds (15.9 to Iowa State’s 14.9). 

Overall, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their foes by a 603-476 margin, including 238-155 on the offensive end.  The squad is 13-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.  K-State has at least 10 offensive rebounds in 14 of 15 games, including 20 or more on three occasions, with a season-high 29 against North Florida on Nov. 18.  Two players - Thomas Gipson (6.3 rpg., 12th) and Rodney McGruder (5.5 rpg., 16th) - rank in the Big 12’s Top 20 in rebounding.  K-State joins Baylor with three players in the league’s Top 15 in offensive boards, which includes Gipson (3.2, 1st), Nino Williams (2.5, 9th) and McGruder (2.3, 13th).  The team has collected 40+ rebounds in seven games, including a season-best 55 vs. UAH on Nov. 13.  The Wildcats grabbed 42 defensive rebounds vs. UAH, which ties for the second-most in school history and are the most since 1998.   

The Wildcats have taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 29.9 points in the paint and 14.9 points off of second-chance opportunities.  The team has at least 30 points in the paint in eight games, including a season-high 46 vs. Texas Southern on Dec. 18, while it has tallied at least 15 second-chance points eight times with a season-best 23 vs. USC Upstate.

A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams were their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes and Bruce Weber has continued that legacy in his first season.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 234-176 (an average of 15.6 points per game), through the first 15 games in points off of turnovers.  The squad has posted 10 or more points off of miscues in 12 of 15 games, including a season-best 34 vs. Lamar on Nov. 12.  They are 10-0 this season when scoring more points off of turnovers. 

K-State is forcing its opponents into 15.0 turnovers per game (ties for third-most in the Big 12), including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while turning the ball over an average of 12.9 times per game (fourth-lowest in the Big 12).  The 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 45th nationally and third in the Big 12 with junior Will Spradling boasting the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio.  In Martin’s five seasons, the Wildcats scored 3,081 points off of 2,763 turnovers in 169 games (an average of 18.2 points per game).  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in that period came off of offense generated from miscues.  The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons, including 577 (17.5 average per game) in 2011-12.

Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production it’s getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 23.5 points, including a 352-233 edge over opponents.  The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in nine games, including 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9.  Reserves have scored nearly half of the team’s points four times with Thomas Gipson tying for the scoring lead against North Dakota and Delaware and Shane Southwell leading the way with a career-best 16 points vs. Alabama-Huntsville.  Nino Williams posted a career-high 17 points off the bench in the win over No. 22/21 Oklahoma State.  The rebounding leader has come from the bench in seven games with D.J. Johnson posting a team-high vs. North Dakota (9) and Lamar (8), Southwell recording a career-high nine boards vs. UAH, Adrian Diaz grabbing a career-best 10 vs. North Florida, Gipson tying Will Spradling for the rebounding lead (6) vs. Delaware, Williams snagging seven boards vs. No. 8/9 Florida and Jordan Henriquez posting a team-high seven rebounds against West Virginia on Saturday.  Over 40 percent (258) of the team’s rebounding total and nearly 35 percent (362) of the scoring total has come from the bench.

Although K-State ranks 38th nationally in scoring margin (+12.1), the Wildcats have some experience with close games this season, posting a 7-0 record in games decided by 10 points or less and a 5-0 mark in games decided by six points or less, including its first two Big 12 wins.  The Wildcats have knocked down 70.1 percent (54-of-77) from the free throw line in the last five minutes of games, including 71.7 percent (38-of-53) in the last five minutes of these seven close games.  Junior Will Spradling, who went 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware (66-63), George Washington (65-62) and Texas Southern (78-69), paces the team in both free throws (19) and free throw attempts (24) in the last five minutes of games.  Junior Omari Lawrence (6-of-6), sophomore Angel Rodriguez (9-of-10), senior Rodney McGruder (6-of-8) and junior Shane Southwell (6-of-8) have all been solid in the last five minutes of games.  In the 65-64 win over West Virginia on Saturday, Southwell knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds and also blocked the game-winning shot with just one second left.   

K-State is averaging 17.3 personal fouls per game this season, including nearly 23 per game in its two Big 12 games.  Opponents have knocked down 172 free throws in 256 attempts, an average of 11.5 makes per game, with the Wildcats countering with 199 makes on 304 attempts for an average of 13.3 makes per game.  The two Big 12 opponents have combined to shoot 20 more free throws than K-State (51 to 31), while scoring 36 points to just 21 for the Wildcats from the line.  Oklahoma State knocked down 24-of-29 free throws, including 16-of-17 in the second half, while West Virginia went 12-of-22 from the charity stripe. 

K-State has been solid protecting the ball this season, as the squad ranks third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2) and fifth in turnover margin (+2.1).  Thus far, the Wildcats have produced 12.9 turnovers per game (fourth-lowest average in Big 12), while forcing its foes into an average of 15 turnovers (tied for third-most in the Big 12).  The team has 14 or fewer miscues in 10 games,while they have forced their foes into 19 or more turnovers four times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar on Nov. 12. 

Seven Wildcats have posted an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season, including its four primary ball-handlers (Angel Rodriguez, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling) combining for 173 assists to 80 turnovers (2.16 ratio).  The current ratio for the quartet is a solid improvement after posting a 1.4 ratio (302 assists to 211 turnovers) as a group in 2011-12.  Spradling (2.9, 1st) and Rodriguez (1.8, 3rd) both rank in the Big 12’s Top 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio and are two of six players in the league with a ratio above 1.8.  Spradling, who has 52 assists to just 18 turnovers, led the team with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, while Rodriguez has made a notable improvement (57 assists to 31 turnovers) in the area after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman.  Irving has also doubled his ratio (2.7 from 1.5) with 32 assists to 12 turnovers, while Southwell has a solid 1.7 ratio (32 assists to 19 turnovers) after posting a 1.6 ratio last season.

Senior Rodney McGruder (1,252 points and 549 rebounds) joined elite company against USC Upstate on Dec. 2, as he became the eighth Wildcat in school history with at least 1,100 points and 500 rebounds in a career.  He narrowed that company with his 1,200 career point against South Dakota on Dec. 31, making him one of just six with 1,200 points and 500 rebounds, along with Rolando Blackman (1,844 points and 607 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points and 824 rebounds), Cartier Martin (1,546 points and 546 rebounds), Ed Nealy (1,304 points and 1,069 rebounds) and Jamar Samuels (1,259 points and 716 rebounds). 

McGruder ranks 12th in scoring with 1,252 points (needing 52 points to tie Nealy for 10th), while he places in the Top 10 in eight career categories, including consecutive starts (82, 3rd), 3-point field goals (156, 5th), 3-point field goal percentage (38.8%, 6th), 3-point field goals attempted (402, 7th), minutes (3,000, 7th), starts (82, 8th), consecutive games (91, 9th) and field goals (453, 10th).  He is just outside the career Top 10 double-digit scoring games (68), steals (91) and games played (115).  One of eight players to rank in the Big 12’s Top 20 in both scoring (3rd) and rebounding (16th), he leads the Wildcats in scoring, field goals (89), double-digit scoring games (11) and steals (18).  He ranks in the Top 20 in five Big 12 categories, including scoring (3rd), field goal percentage (8th), offensive rebounds (13th), 3-point field goals made (15th) and rebounding (16th).

Senior Rodney McGruder earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the third time in five weeks on Jan. 7 after helping K-State to wins over South?Dakota and No. 22/21 Oklahoma State.  He was also named the ESPN.com National Player of the Week for his efforts.  The three Big 12 Player of the Week awards tie Michael Beasley (2007-08) for the most by a Wildcat in a single-season, while McGruder’s four overall weekly awards are the most-ever by a K-State player in the Big 12 era.  He won the first time as a junior on Dec. 26, 2011 then again on Dec. 10 and 24 of this year.  He averaged a team-best 21.5 points on 48.6 percent shooting (17-of-35), including 50 percent (8-of-16) from 3-point range, with 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 36.5 minutes per game last week.  He opened the week with a near double-double in the win over South Dakota with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds.  He scored a game-high 28 points, including 26 in the second half, in the win over OSU on 11-of-19 field goals, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, in 37 minutes.  It was his 16th career 20-point game, including the third this season.  The Wildcats are 14-2 in games where McGruder has 20 or more points.  McGruder’s 26 second-half points are the most by a Wildcat since Denis Clemente had 32 in a win at Texas on Jan. 31, 2009.  He went 10-of-13 from the field in the second half, including 5-of-5 from beyond the arc.  He had more field goals (10) than the Cowboys (nine) in the half.

After playing in just 15 games his first season (including a medical redshirt in 2010-11), sophomore Nino Williams is starting to emerge as an impact player for K-State.  He has played in 14 of 15 games with the third-most starts (11), averaging 7.0 points on 46.7 percent shooting (42-of-90) with 5.2 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game.  He is second to Rodney McGruder in field goals (42) and third to Thomas Gipson and McGruder in rebounding (5.2 rpg.), while he is one of six players to average more than seven points per game.  Williams had career week in two wins against South Dakota and No. 22/21 Oklahoma State, in which, he averaged 16.5 points on 66.7 percent shooting (14-of-21) with 6.0 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.  He opened the week with a career-best 16 points vs. South Dakota on 7-of-10 field goals before eclipsing that mark with 17 points off the bench against OSU on 7-of-11 field goals.  If you include the Kansas City game on Dec. 29, he is averaging 13.7 points on 51.5 percent shooting with 8.3 rebounds in three of the last four games in 25.7 minutes per game.

Junior Shane Southwell has made quite the jump in his productivity in year three, as he averages 7.1 points on 53 percent shooting, including 48.1 percent from 3-point range, with 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 21.3 minutes per game with six starts in 13 games played.  That production has been even more of factor in the last six games (all wins), as he is averaging 8.0 points on 50 percent shooting (18-of-36), including 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from 3-point range, with 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 28 minutes per game in six starts.  Southwell had a huge game in the win against West Virginia on Saturday, as he knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds to give the Wildcats the lead then blocked the game-winning shot with just one second remaining.  His 17 points were a career-high and gave him double-digit points for the seventh time in his career, including the third time this season.  He entered the 2012-13 campaign averaging just 2.5 points on 36.1 percent shooting, including 25 percent from 3-point range, with 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 14.8 minutes per game with 62 games played and 19 starts.    

Despite missing the last two non-conference games, sophomore Angel Rodriguez has continued his improvement from his freshman season in 2012-13, as he ranks first or second on the squad in six categories, including first in assists (57) and second in scoring (9.5 ppg.) and double-figure scoring games (7).  He has helped the Wildcats rank third in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, while he places in the league’s Top 15 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8, 5th), assists (4.4, 7th) and 3-point field goals (1.4, 14th).  He has scored in double figures seven times, including a career-best 19 points vs. Lamar to go with game-highs at George Washington (17) and Gonzaga (14).  He was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games in New York in helping the Wildcats to a second-place finish.

Junior Will Spradling has been a model of consistency from the free throw line, knocking down 33-of-38 opportunities, including  going 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware, George Washington and Texas Southern.  His effort has raised his career free throw percentage to 83.2 (158-of-190), which is the second-highest in school history behind Steve Henson (90.0; 361-of-401; 1986-90).  Spradling has not only been stellar on the free throw line, but he ranks 22nd nationally and first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.9).  He also places ninth in assists (3.5 apg.) in the Big 12.  He ranks first in 3-point field goals (21), second in double-digit scoring games (7) and assists (52) and third in scoring (8.4 ppg.), which includes a season-high 17 points in the win over No. 8/9 Florida on Dec. 22.  He also had a career-tying six rebounds and five assists against the Gators.

Sophomore Thomas Gipson is starting to emerge as the Wildcats’ go-to player in the post, averaging 7.2 points on 48.9 percent shooting (22-of-45) with 6.6 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game in his last nine starts.  After a poor game against No. 14/14 Gonzaga on Dec. 15, he rebounded to collect arguably his best all-around game of the season vs. Texas Southern on Dec. 18 with a season-high 14 points on 5-of-7 field goals to go with 12 rebounds and career-bests in blocks (4) and steals (3) in 26 minutes.  It marked his fourth career double-double, but the first of the season.  The 12-rebound effort tied his season-high that he also had against George Washington on Dec. 8.  The leader in rebounds at 6.3 per game, he ranks 12th in the Big 12 in overall rebounds, while his first in offensive rebounds at 3.2 per game.  He had a career-best seven offensive boards vs. Texas Southern.

Senior Rodney McGruder was selected as a preseason candidate for two of the most prestigious awards in college basketball, as he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award on Nov. 8 before he was selected to the early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy on Nov. 12.  The preseason lists, which reflects the early frontrunners for two of college basketball’s Premier Player of the Year awards, is based on last year’s individual performance.  McGruder becomes the first Wildcat named to the preseason list for both awards since Jacob Pullen was selected in 2010.  He was one of six Big 12 players selected to the Wooden list, which includes Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Kansas’ Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey and OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash, while he was one of five on the Naismith list, including Jackson, Withey, Kansas’ Ben McLemore and OSU’s Marcus Smart.

Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team released by the conference office on Oct. 4.  McGruder, who was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2011-12, was one of three unanimous picks by the league’s head coaches, joining Kansas’ Jeff Withey and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash.  The final two spots on the team went to Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Texas’ Myck Kabongo.  McGruder is the first Wildcat named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team since Jacob Pullen was named to the squad along with garnering Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2010-11.  It marks just the third time that a Wildcat (Manny Dies in 1998-99, Pullen and Curtis Kelly in 2010-11) has been selected to the preseason team. 

K-State got a jump start on its preparations for the 2012-13 men’s basketball season with its 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 8-17, 2012.  The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this was the first by the program since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2004.  Overall, it was the program’s fourth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981 and Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993.  K-State played four games during the trip, posting a 2-2 record as the squad had to adjust to international rules (four, eight-minute quarters among other differences with NCAA rules).  The Wildcats averaged 70 points on 41.9 percent shooting (99-of-236), including 31.4 percent (22-of-70) from the 3-point range, while connecting on 75.9 percent (60-of-79) from the free throw line.  The team averaged 37.5 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 17.5 turnovers, 4.8 blocks and 9.8 blocks per game.

Sophomore Angel Rodriguez paced all scorers in Brazil with a 10.3 points per game average on 40 percent shooting, including 35.7 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.  Three others - Nino Williams, Rodney McGruder and Adrian Diaz - all averaged 9.0 points per game, while junior Will Spradling and senior Jordan Henriquez added 8.5 points and 7.3 points per game averages.  Williams led the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg.), 3-point field goal percentage (40.0) and free throw percentage (83.3), while Diaz was tops in field goals (14), field goal percentage (58.3) and blocks (2.5 bpg.).  Freshman D.J. Johnson was second in rebounding (5.3 rpg.), while Diaz and Henriquez were third at 4.8 rebounds per game.  

UP NEXT: OKLAHOMA (11-3, 2-0 Big 12)
K-State will return home on Saturday to host former player and head coach Lon Kruger and his Oklahoma squad (11-3, 2-0 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum.  The game is set for 3 p.m. CT tip on the Big 12 Network.