K-State returns home to face Baylor Wednesday

Game 18

Baylor (11-5, 1-2 Big 12)
at Kansas State (11-6, 1-2 Big 12)

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007

Bramlage Coliseum (13,340) in Manhattan, Kan.

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 7:07 p.m. Central

Series: Kansas State leads 9-8
(K-State leads 6-3 in Manhattan, Kan.)

TV: Fox Sports Midwest
(Available only in Kansas City and state of Kansas)

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 660, Dish Network 449

Talent: Ben Boyle (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (Analyst)

Radio: K-State Sports Network (31 affiliates),
Yahoo! Radio

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Matt Walters (Analyst)

 

K-State returns to the road to face Missouri on Saturday

Kansas State (11-6, 1-2 Big 12) looks to carry the momentum gained in Saturday’s 85-81 win over Missouri, as the Wildcats return home on Wednesday night to face Baylor (11-5, 1-2 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 7 p.m.  The team will look to take advantage of a stretch of home games beginning with Wednesday’s contests, as four of the next five games will be in the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum, where the Wildcats are 6-1 on the season.

The game will be televised throughout the state and the Kansas City area by Fox Sports Midwest with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) calling the action.  The audio broadcast of the game can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (or via the internet at http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (color) on the call. 


Kansas
State snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday, as the Wildcats survived a furious Missouri comeback in an 85-81 win at Mizzou Arena on Saturday.  The win was just the second in the last 23 meeting against Missouri in Columbia, Mo., and the first since ending a 20-game losing on the road to the Tigers in 2005.  The Wildcats used a balanced offensive effort to post its third road win of the season, as five players scored in double figures led by junior Clent Stewart’s career-tying 19-point effort.  It marked the first time since the Cleveland State game on Dec. 5 that the team has had five players in double figures.

       

A Quick Look at the Wildcats

Kansas State ended its three-game slide on Saturday with an 85-81 win over Missouri at the Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo.  The Wildcats topped 80 points for the sixth time this season (the most in a season since the 2004-05 squad also posted six) and saw five players score in double figures for only the second time this season.  The team also earned its third road win of the season, which represents the wins on the road since the 1997-98 squad also captured three victories.  Overall, the Wildcats are averaging 72.0 points on 42.7 percent shooting and have four players averaging in double figures led by senior forward Cartier Martin’s 14.2 points per game.

 

Projected Starters

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

3       Lance Harris (G, 6-5, 205, Sr.)                    10.2      3.8

5       Clent Stewart (G, 6-4, 190, Jr.)                    5.6       2.0

15      David Hoskins (F, 6-5, 230, Jr.)                  14.0      5.3

20      Cartier Martin (F, 6-7, 225, Sr.)                  14.2      3.8

34      Akeem Wright (G, 6-6, 210, Sr.)                 7.3       5.9

 

Key Reserves

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

2       Blake Young (G, 6-2, 190, Jr.)                    6.8        2.2

14      Serge Afeli (F, 6-9, 235, Sr.)                      1.7        1.8

23      Jermaine Maybank (G, 6-4, 180, Sr.)          2.8        2.4

42      Darren Kent (F, 6-10, 215, So.)                  0.7        1.3

50      Luis Colon (C, 6-10, 275, Fr.)                     2.9        2.1

55      Jason Bennett (C, 7-3, 255, Fr.)                 2.6        3.4

 

Noting the Missouri game 

*With the win, Kansas State evened the all-time series with Missouri, 112-112... The series dates back to 1907... The Wildcats earned just their second win over the Tigers in Columbia in the last 23 meetings... It was the first win since breaking a streak of 20 consecutive defeats to Missouri in 2005... The last win prior to 2005 was March 2, 1985... The Wildcats have now won two of the three meetings since the opening of Mizzou Arena.

*For the fourth straight season, Kansas State won its third Big 12 game of the season (including its second straight on the road) after starting league play with a 0-2 record... The streak includes home wins over Texas A&M (2004) and Missouri (2005) and the streak-ending road win at Kansas (2006).


*K-State earned its third road win of the season in the 85-81 win over Missouri... It is the most wins on the road in a season since the 1997-98 season when the Wildcats also captured three victories... The last time K-State had more than three road wins in a season came when the 1995-96 team tallied five.


*K-State topped 80 points for the sixth time this season, which is the most in a season since the 2004-05 squad also had six... The Wildcats had five players score in double figures for just the second time this season and for the first time since the Cleveland State game on Dec. 5, 2005.


*Kansas State posted season-highs in free throws (37), free throws attempted (43) and free throw percentage (86.0) against Missouri... The 37 free throws and 43 attempts are the most in a game since the Wildcats collected 39 makes on 51 attempts against Baylor on Feb. 13, 1999... The free throw total (37) was also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958... The team made 14-of-16 free throws in the last five minutes. 


*Junior Clent Stewart tied his career-high with his team-high 19 points against Missouri... He also had 19 points against Baylor on Feb. 1, 2006... It marked just the second time this season he scored in double figures and the first time this year he paced the team in scoring... With 18 points against the Tigers, junior David Hoskins has now scored in double figures in 10 straight games dating back to Cleveland State on Dec. 5... In his final game in his hometown, senior Lance Harris chipped in 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting... Junior Blake Young scored 11 points for his first double figure in Big 12 play. 


Trio of Prolific Scorers

Kansas State has three players on its squad - seniors Cartier Martin and Lance Harris and junior David Hoskins - who rank among the school’s top 75 scorers.  Martin, who entered the school’s all-time top-10 with 15 points against Missouri on Saturday, now has 1,188 career points as a Wildcat.  Just the 19th player to total 1,000 career points, he needs just 12 points to become just the 10th player in school history with 1,200 career points and in the process become the fifth to collect 1,200 points and 400 rebounds in a career.  Harris ranks 35th all-time at K-State with 831 points in his four-year career and ranks just behind Martin (125) in fifth place in school history with 124 3-point field goals.  In just his second full-season as a Wildcat, Hoskins already has tied legend Ernie Barrett for 74th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 605 points. It marks the first time since 1987-88 season (Mitch Richmond, Will Scott and Charles Bledsoe) that the Wildcats have had a 1,000-point scorer and a pair of 500-point scorers on the same team. 


It’s Hard to Project this Line-up 

In an effort to find the right combination, head coach Bob Huggins has started 11 different line-ups this season, including a different one in 10 of the last 11 contests.  He has used all types of positional line-ups from three guards (Stewart, Harris and Wright against North Dakota State on Dec. 9) to three forwards (Hoskins, Walker and Martin against New Mexico on Dec. 23 and Xavier on Jan. 3).  The only constant in the line-up has been junior David Hoskins, who has started 39 consecutive contests, including all 17 games this season.  The different line-ups are in stark contrast to the past two seasons, when there were just six different line-ups (in 29 games) in 2004-05 and eight (in 28 games) in 2005-06.


Taking Advantage of Turnovers

One of the biggest factors in Kansas State’s improved play of late has been its ability to force its opponent into turnovers and then to capitalize with points off those miscues.  The Wildcats’ stifling defense has forced an average of 19.4 turnovers (194), including an average of 7.1 steals, in the last 10 games, while averaging 23.1 points off those turnovers. 

 

The team scored 65 points off a combined 51 turnovers in back-to-back wins over Kennesaw State and Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 17 and 19.  The 32 turnovers by UMES (which yielded 37 points) was just five short of the school record of 37 set by Vanderbilt in December 1969.  K-State continued with its pressure defense in the win over USC on Dec. 22, as the Wildcats forced a season-high 28 Trojan turnovers and converted those into 24 points.  The team scored 19 points off 15 New Mexico turnovers en route to capturing its first in-season tournament title since 1995.  K-State has continued the trend in the last four games by scoring 18 points off 19 Xavier turnovers, 22 points off 16 Texas A&M miscues, 19 points off 15 Texas Tech turnovers and 23 points off 16 Missouri miscues. 

 

The current average of 17.0 turnovers forced per game is the highest by a squad in nearly 13 years since Dana Altman’s final squad forced an average of 18.4 turnovers en route to a 20-14 overall record and the NIT Final Four.  

        

Lift From The Bench

Kansas State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 22.7 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 11 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 25.0 points off the bench and have outscored their opponent by a 275-185 margin.  The streak came on the heels of being outscored 67-47 off the bench in three games against New Mexico, Coppin State and California.


The most telling aspect of the recent bench play has been its diversity.  The team has gotten significant scoring from 10 different players off the bench and has helped several players (seniors Akeem Wright and Lance Harris and junior Clent Stewart) earn back their starting jobs after impressive play off the bench.  The stellar reserve play began with the Colorado State game on Dec. 2 when senior Serge Afeli collected a career-high 14 points to go with  solid play from Stewart (9) and Wright (7).  Wright followed with a season-high 13 points against Cleveland State on Dec. 5, while freshmen Jason Bennett and Luis Colon chipped in 11 and nine points, respectively.  Senior Cartier Martin then scored 18 points against NDSU in his first reserve play in more than two seasons to go with nine points from senior Jermaine Maybank.  Against USC, junior Blake Young scored nine points off the bench just 11 days after having knee surgery.  Harris then averaged 8.0 points on 56.3 percent shooting in reserve roles against New Mexico, Xavier (Ohio) and Texas A&M to earn his starting spot back against Texas Tech.  Stewart turned in 10 points off the bench against Texas A&M before starting the next two contests. 


Hoskins Emerging As A Leader

One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State’s improved play of late has been due to the emergence of junior David Hoskins.  He has averaged 16.3 points in the last 10 games on 54.7 percent shooting (47-of-86) with 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals.  His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 20 in three categories, including 10th in free throw percentage (77.6), 13th in scoring (14.0 ppg.) and 20th in rebounding (5.3 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he ranks eighth in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and free throw percentage (86.2) and 16th in rebounding (6.0 rpg.). 

 

The streak began with a 17-point effort on 6-of-9 shooting against Cleveland State on Dec. 5 and continued with 14 points against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  Hoskins continued his impressive play in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic, where he was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 15.8 points on 70 percent shooting to go with a team-best 5.8 rebounds.  He collected a team-high 19 points against USC in the semifinals to go with six rebounds and a team-best four steals then followed with 11 points against New Mexico in the title game.  Hoskins was team’s leading scorer against Xavier with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting.  After scoring 11 points against Texas A&M, he came through in a big way offensively against Texas Tech on Jan. 8.  He topped 20 points for the second time this season with 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes.  Hoskins continued his solid play with 18 points against Missouri on Saturday, which included a 12-of-12 effort from the free throw line. 

  

The Book on Baylor

Baylor enters Wednesday’s contest with an 11-5 overall record and 1-2 mark in Big 12 Conference play after earning a 73-70 win over Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon in Waco, Texas.  The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bears, where they played tight contests in losses at No. 9 Oklahoma State (81-77) on Jan. 6 and at home to No. 11 Texas A&M (61-51) on Jan. 9.  Despite fielding one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 with one junior and four sophomores in the starting line-up, the squad has already surpassed the win total of each of head coach Scott Drew’s first three seasons.


The Bears are averaging 78.4 points on 48.7 percent shooting with 37.0 rebounds and have a balanced scoring team with four players averaging in double figures and six connecting on 49 percent or better from the field.  The team is dangerous threat beyond the arc, where they are averaging 8.3 3-point field goals per game on 36.7 percent shooting.  Five players have posted 10 or more 3-pointers this season.  Sophomore forward Kevin Rogers paces the team in both scoring (13.6 ppg.) and rebounding (7.1 rpg.), while he has connected on 56.5 percent of his field goals.  Sophomore guards Curtis Jerrells and Henry Dugat average 12.3 and 11.5 points per game, respectively, while junior point guard Aaron Bruce adds 11.3 points to go with a team-best 4.1 assists per game.  Freshman guard Tweety Carter chips in 9.8 points per game along with a team-best 33 3-point field goals.


Baylor is led by fourth-year coach Scott Drew, who has compiled 32-58 record during his time in Waco and has a 52-69 record in his fifth season as a head coach.  He has posted a 1-2 mark against Kansas State during his career, including a 72-70 overtime win last season in Waco.


Series versus Baylor

This will be the 18th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Baylor in a series that dates back to 1948.  The Wildcats hold a slight 9-8 advantage in the all-time series, however, the Wildcats hold a 6-3 advantage in games played in Manhattan, Kan.  K-State won five of the first six meetings between 1948 and 1989, including five in a row.  Baylor handed the Wildcats their first loss in NCAA Tournament play in 1948, as the Bears posted a 60-52 win in the NCAA Western Regional Semifinals at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City on March 20.  Baylor holds a 6-5 advantage since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, but are just 2-4 during that span on the road.  After dropping six of the first eight meetings in league play with the Bears, the Wildcats have rebounded to win three of the last five meetings, including an 80-69 victory at home in  Feb. 23, 2005. 


Baylor snapped a two-game losing streak to K-State in the series and in the process earned its first win since Jan. 19, 2005 with a 72-70 overtime win in Waco, Texas on Feb. 1, 2006.  Guard Clent Stewart led all Wildcats in the loss with a career-tying 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, while forwards Cartier Martin and David Hoskins added 13 points.  K-State outperformed Baylor from the field (43.4 to 38.8 percent) and held a 41-38 advantage on the boards, however, the Wildcats allowed the Bears to hit 11 3-point field goals and tally 18 second-chance points. 

 

Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 11-6 record to start the season.  The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in four defensive categories in the Big 12, including second in 3-point percentage defense (29.8), third in offensive rebounds (14.06) and rebounding (37.9) and fifth in field goal percentage defense (40.9).  The squad is just outside the top 5 in scoring defense (66.4; 6th) and blocked shots (4.06; 7th).  The team has held 14 of its 17 opponents to below 80 points, including six of its last eight under 70 points.


After giving up an average of 81 points in back-to-back losses to California and Colorado State, the Wildcats have clamped down on defense during the last 10 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 65.2 points on 41.4 percent shooting (218-of-527), including just 24 percent from 3-point range (36-of-150), during the stretch.  In addition, K-State has forced an average of 19.4 turnovers and tallied an average of 7.1 steals during the stretch. 


The defensive effort is nothing new for the Wildcats this season.  In the win over Rutgers on Nov. 15, the team held the Scarlet Knight to a meager 41 points on just nine field goals and 19.1 percent shooting.  The nine field goals are the fewest since the Wildcats allowed Washburn a school-record low seven in a 23-15 K-State win on Dec. 6, 1940, while the 41 points are the fewest since Arkansas-Pine Bluff managed just 39 on Dec. 4, 2002.  It was the fewest points allowed on an opponent’s court since the shot clock and fewest since allowing Nebraska 39 on March 6, 1984.


Offense Taking Flight

Kansas State broke out of a three-game scoring slump against Missouri, posting 80 or more points for the sixth time this season and the first time since scoring 82 against Kennesaw State on Dec. 17.  Just 17 games into the 2006-07 season, the six 80-point games by Wildcats equal the season totals of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, while it surpasses the totals of five other recent seasons (4 in 2005-06 and 3 each in 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03).  The last time K-State posted more than six 80-point contests in a single-season was the 1998-99 season when the team collected seven such games.


Despite scoring just less than 70 points during a three-game stretch in early January, the team has still averaged averaged 75.3 points on 46.7 percent shooting (282-of-604) in the last 11 contests after averaging just 66.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting in the first six games.  The 828 points scored during the 11-game stretch are the most by a K-State squad since totaling 870 points in the first 11 games to open the 1991-92 season.  In doing so, the squad has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 11 of their last 22 halves of basketball, including 60 percent or better in four times.  During the first part of the streak, the Wildcats scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since the 1990-91 season.   Against Cleveland State, K-State shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the field and topped the 90-point barrier for just the second time this season.  It marked the first time in nearly two seasons that the squad shot 60 percent or better from the field since shooting 62.8 percent against Nebraska on Feb. 4, 2004.


Wright Stuff

One of the biggest reasons for the Wildcats’ success this season has been the play of senior guard Akeem Wright.  The Philadephia, Pa., native has averaged 7.3 points on 41.1 percent shooting to go with a team-high 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.6 steals in 25.2 minutes per game.  He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 11th in offensive rebounds and 15th in rebounding.  Known more for his defensive prowess, Wright spent the summer working on his jumpshot to complete his all-around game.  Wright has scored in double figures in four games this season, including a career-high 18 points against Texas A&M on Jan. 6.  He has also kept up his defensive effort, pacing the team in rebounds in six games this season.  Wright has grabbed six or more rebounds in each of the last six games.  For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 10 contests. 

 

During the last 10 games, Wright has topped his season average five times with two double-digit efforts.  He played perhaps in his best game of his career against Texas A&M on Jan. 6, as he posted a career-high 18 points on 8-of-15 field goals to go with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a career-best three steals.

 

Stewart Manning the Point

Junior guard Clent Stewart has been a steadying force for the Wildcats this season since emerging as the team’s primary point guard against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  During that span, Stewart has averaged 7.3 points on 44.7 percent shooting with 3.2 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 27.0 minutes per game in guiding the team to six wins.  He has been even better in Big 12 play, averaging 12.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting with 2.3 assists.

    

Martin Joins 1,000-Point Club; Cracks School’s Top 10

Senior forward Cartier Martin joined an elite fraternity at Kansas State in the win over Coppin State on Nov. 25, 2006, as he became the 19th player in school history and the first in the Big 12 era to score 1,000 career points.  The Houston, Texas, native hit the milestone at the 6:48 mark of the second half against the Eagles with a 3-pointer from the left corner to beat the shot clock.  It was the first of 11 points scored by Martin in the last seven minutes of the game.  He became the first Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point since Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season. 

           

Martin cracked the school’s top-10 list for scoring on Saturday against Missouri with his 15-point effort.  His 1,188 career points topped All-American and jersey retiree Jack Parr (1,184; 1955-58) for 10th in the school history.  Martin now needs 12 points to become just the 10th player in K-State history with 1,200 points, while he is 64 points away from Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1979-82) for ninth place.  Once he reaches 1,200 points, he will become just the fifth player in school history to top 1,200 points and 400 rebounds in a career, joining Ed Nealy (1,304 points, 1,069 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points, 824 rebounds), Rolando Blackman (1,844 points, 607 rebounds) and Askia Jones (1,834 points, 463 rebounds). 

 

Although he broke out of his recent scoring slump with 15 points against Missouri, Martin has still scored in double figures 11 times in the last 15 games, including five 20-point outings.  He began the streak by posting a career-high 28 points against Tennessee Tech, while he has also turned in 20-point efforts against Colorado State (21), Cleveland State (21), Md.-Eastern Shore (23) and New Mexico (23), which earned him MVP honors at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23. 

 

Harris Stepping Up His Game

Bob Huggins has always been a coach that has gotten the most out of his talent and senior guard Lance Harris has been a prime example of that influence.  Harris has averaged 10.2 points on 47.7 percent shooting, including a team-best 40.8 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.5 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (29) and 3-point field goal percentage (40.8), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in seven contests, including three 20-point efforts.  He opened the year with 22 points against William & Mary on Nov. 11 before posting a career-high 26 points against Coppin State on Nov. 25.  His 24 points against North Dakota State helped the Wildcats to a come-from-behind win on Dec. 9.  He has connected three or more 3-point field goals in six games.

    

Young Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery

Junior guard Blake Young underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 11 at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kan.  He suffered a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee during the Wildcats’ scrimmage in late October.  With no risk of further damage, Young had been playing with the injury throughout the first nine games.  After combining for 13 minutes against Kennesaw State and Maryland-Eastern Shore, he has recovered nicely from the surgery in averaging over 20 minutes in the four of the last six games, including 25 against Xavier on Jan. 3. 

He has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats this season after transferring from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College, where he was an honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06.  The Orlando, Fla., native is averaging 6.8 points, a team-best 2.5 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 22.3 minutes per game this season.  After ranking third in NJCAA in scoring at 23.2 points as a sophomore, he displayed his offensive potential with a big effort against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 21 with a season-high 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.   He has scored in double figures in five contests. 

            

Block Party

At no surprise, freshman center Jason Bennett, the tallest player in school history at 7-foot-3, has made an immediate impact on the defensive end of the court with a freshman-school record 28 blocked shots this season, including a season record-tying six in a loss at California on Nov. 29.  He tied the mark set first by Tony Kitt against Kansas on March 6, 1999 and then accomplished by Dramane Diarra against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005. 

 

With his three-block effort against Kennesaw State, Bennett broke the freshman mark for blocks in a season (24) set by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96 and now is just 32 away from eclipsing the school record of 59 set by Gerald Eaker in 1995-96.  He has recorded a blocked shot in nine of 17 games this year, while his 2.00 per game ties him for second in the Big 12.  Bennett’s four blocks against William & Mary were the most since Dramane Diarra had his school-tying six against S. F. Austin, while it was the most by a true freshman since Travis Canby registered four against Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002.

 

Huggins Effect

Although he has been Kansas State’s head coach for less than a season, the impact head coach Bob Huggins has had on the Wildcat program has been nothing short of monumental.  Huggins has not only gained the school widespread attention by media outlets, he has helped guide it to milestones not seen by the historically-rich program in some time. 

 

For his efforts, his hiring was dubbed the 2006 sports story of the year in the state of Kansas by The Associated Press in late December.  Below are a few of the milestones achieved by Huggins in barely his first season at the helm.           


*For the first time in the 19-year history of Bramlage Coliseum all available season ticket packages have been sold... Season tickets went from 6,500 in 2005-06 to 13,000 in 2006-07... The last time K-State could boast a sellout of season tickets was during the 1982-83 season when the Wildcats played in Ahearn Field House, while the previous high for season tickets in Bramlage Coliseum was 11,700 during the inaugural 1988-89 season.


*In addition to the season ticket sales, the school offered courtside seats for the first time in its history and sold out of the available 25 seats at $4,400 apiece with a waiting list... There are also plans in the works for loge boxes in the arena as well as other improvements, including a practice facility.


*Kansas State has or will play six nationally-televised games this season, including two as apart of ESPN’s “Big Monday” package and two on ABC Sports (both are firsts for the program)... It is the most nationally-televised games in a single-season for the Wildcats in school history.


*Kansas State earned its first in-season tournament title in more than 10 years by winning the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23... The win in the championship game gave the program 10 victories before Jan. 1 for the first time since the 1998-99 season (its last postseason appearance).

           

*Kansas State attracted the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the country in November according to Scout.com, Rivals.com and Sports Illustrated... The class referred to as the greatest-ever for the school included consensus top 10 prospects Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.


Walker Out for Season with ACL Injury

Tests revealed on Jan. 8 that freshman forward Bill Walker has sustained a complete rupture of the anterior crucial ligament (ACL) in his left knee and he will be out for the remainder of the season, according to head coach Bob Huggins.  Surgery has not yet been scheduled, but it is expected to take place in the next 7-14 days.  The rehabilitation process will begin immediately following surgery and is expected to take between six and eight months.

           

The highly-touted freshman had averaged 11.3 points on 40.0 percent shooting (26-of-65) in six games this season with 4.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game.  His scoring and rebounding averages rank third on the team.  Walker began his career by posting 15 points on 6-of-10 field goals against Kennesaw State on Dec. 17 to go with four rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes of action after just two practices under his belt.  It was the most points by a true freshman in his debut since Marques Hayden scored 20 points against BYU on Nov. 23, 2002.  Walker came through with perhaps in his best effort of the year on Dec. 22 against USC when he scored a season-high and game-tying 19 points.  He single-handedly rallied the team from its halftime deficit by scoring the first nine points of the second half en route to posting 15 points on 4-of-5 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws in 18 minutes.  Walker made it four straight double-digit scoring games to start his career with 13 points against New Mexico to go with a season-high eight rebounds.


Viva Las Vegas

*With its 72-56 win over New Mexico on Dec. 23, Kansas State captured its first in-season tournament title in over 10 years with the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic title... The Wildcats’ last tournament title came at the Otis Spunkmeyer Classic on Dec. 28-29, 1995 in Oakland, Calif.


*Kansas State’s six-game winning streak was the longest for the program since the team collected eight consecutive victories to start the 2004-05 season (Nov. 19 to Dec. 21, 2004)... The streak is even more impressive when you consider that only three of the games came at home... It marked the first time since 1995 that the Wildcats have put together a winning streak of more than five games when half of the games have come away from home.


*Kansas State was impressive on both ends of the court in the winning the tournament... The Wildcats averaged 75.2 points on 49.3 percent shooting with 36.0 rebounds and 15.8 assists, while holding their opponents to just 55.8 points on 36.9 percent shooting, including just 19.7 percent from 3-point range... The team held four straight opponent to 60 points or less for the first time since doing it in the first four games of the 2005-06 season.


*Senior forward Cartier Martin was named the most valuable player of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic after averaging 16.8 points in four games... He scored a team-high 23 points against the Lobos... Junior David Hoskins was named to the Classic’s all-tournament team after averaging 15.8 points.

     

K-State to retire jersey of Blackman, Knostman

Kansas State Director of Athletics Tim Weiser announced on Dec. 27 that the Wildcats will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman in a halftime ceremony during the Colorado game on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007.  The duo becomes the third class of jersey retirements at K-State following those of Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett and Jack Parr in 2005 and Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in 2006. 


A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Blackman is one of just two players to earn first team All-America honors in consecutive seasons in Kansas State history and one of just three (joining fellow retirees Mike Evans and Lon Kruger) to be named Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1980).  He is also just one of three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining Bob Boozer and Mike Evans) in the program’s history.  The school’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,844 points, Blackman was the last Wildcat to be selected as a first team All-American when he was named to the Helms Foundation, The Sporting News, Converse Yearbook and John R. Wooden Award All-American squads as a senior in 1981.   

           

The 6-foot-6 native of Wamego, Kan., Knostman is one of just 12 players in Kansas State history to be named a first team All-American.  He earned this recognition from the Helms Foundation, Look magazine and the Newspaper Enterprises Association as a senior in 1953 after averaging 22.7 points in helping the Wildcats to a 17-4 record and a final ranking of No. 12 in the AP poll.  One of the few Wildcats to average a double-double for his career with 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds, Knostman still ranks among the top 5 in 17 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history.

 

K-State appears on “Inside College Basketball”

Kansas State is one of four schools in the country to appear on the new ABC series, “Chase Card Services Presents FREE Ticket: Inside College Basketball,” which began Saturday, Jan. 13.  Created and produced by Intersport, the production team followed the Wildcats for a seven-day stretch beginning with their preparations for the Xavier game on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and concluding with the “Big Monday” game with Texas Tech on Monday, Jan. 8.  The team was given complete access to all practices and meetings and performed one-on-one interviews with Bob Huggins and numerous players and staff.  In addition to its premiere on ABC Sports on Saturday, Jan. 13, the show involving K-State will also be broadcast on four other times, including Thursday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. on ESPN2 and Saturday, Jan. 20 at 9:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21 at 10:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 4 a.m. on ESPNU. 

 

Created as an extension of Chase Card Services’ Freedom campaign, the series will offer fan unprecented access behind otherwise closed doors, capturing all aspects of the college basketball experience from practice and meetings to team travel and campus life.  The series, which will consist of eight half-hour episodes, will also chronicle Connecticut, Indiana and Texas A&M in later shows.


K-State to play Oregon as part of Big 12/Pac-10 Series

Kansas State will play Oregon on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007, as apart of a a four-year deal reached by the Big 12 and Pacific-10 Conferences on Jan. 11.  The agreement between the conferences provides a series of 12 annual games, starting with the 2007-08 season.  Other games set for next season include Oklahoma at USC (Nov. 29), Washington State at Baylor (Nov. 30), Iowa State at Oregon State (Nov. 30), Washington at Oklahoma State (Dec. 1), Missouri at California (Dec. 1), Arizona State at Nebraska (Dec. 2), Stanford at Colorado (Dec. 2), Texas at UCLA (Dec. 2) and Texas A&M at Arizona (Dec. 2).

           

“This series of games with the Pac-10 will showcase some of the best college basketball in the country,” Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg said. “Our two conferences annually produce highly rated teams and multiple NCAA Tournament teams. This series will provide quality match-ups that will help to build the strength of our teams’ non-conference schedules. We are excited to have the opportunity to do this with the Pac-10.”

           

The series will continue in 2008, with games slated for Dec. 4-7. The contests scheduled will be return games of the match-ups from 2007, but may not be scheduled for the same day. The games in the series in 2009 will be played Dec. 3-6, 2009, while matchups in 2010 will be played Dec. 2-5, 2010. 

 

Up Next: at Iowa State (11-6, 2-1 Big 12)

Iowa State enters Wednesday’s game against Colorado with an 11-6 overall record and 2-1 mark in Big 12 play.  The Cyclones saw their four-game winning streak end on Saturday, as sixth-ranked Kansas rallied to post a 68-64 win before 13,226 fans in Ames, Iowa.  The team is averaging 67.6 points on 42.3 percent shooting with 37.8 rebounds and has two players averaging in double figures.  Big 12 Newcomer of the Year candidate junior guard Mike Taylor paces the squad in scoring (16.7 ppg.), assists (4.4 apg.), steals (1.2 spg.) and minutes (33.4), while freshman forward Wesley Johnson averages 12.2 points and team-best 9.0 rebounds.  First-year head coach Greg McDermott has an 11-6 record in his initial season at Iowa State, while he has a 232-133 mark in 13th season as a head coach.  The Wildcats have lost seven straight to the Cyclones in Ames with their last win coming Feb. 6, 1999.