K-State travels to Iowa State Saturday

Game 19

Kansas State (12-6, 2-2 Big 12)
at Iowa State (11-7, 2-2 Big 12)

Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007

Hilton Coliseum (14,092) in Ames, Iowa

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 12:47 p.m. Central

Series: Kansas State leads 125-76
(Iowa State leads 45-44 in Ames, Iowa)

TV: ESPN Plus

Talent: Fred White (Play-by-Play) and
Bob Sundvold (Analyst)

Channels: KMCI (Kansas City), KSAS, Eagle (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka) 

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

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (Analyst)

 

K-State hits the road for fourth time this month to face Iowa State Saturday

Kansas State (12-6, 2-2 Big 12) returns to the road this weekend as the Wildcats travel to Ames, Iowa to face Iowa State (11-7, 2-2 Big 12) at Hilton Coliseum beginning at 12:47 p.m. on Saturday.  The team will look to continue their success on the road where the Wildcats have won five games away from Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since the 1998-99 season, while the three true’ road victories are the most since the 1997-98 squad also had three.  This will be a tough chore against Iowa State, which has won seven in a row against K-State at Hilton Coliseum.  The Wildcats’ last win in Ames came on Feb. 6, 1999.

The game will be televised regionally on ESPN Plus (KMCI - Kansas City; KSAS - Wichita; KSNT - Topeka) with Fred White (play-by-play) and Bob Sundvold (color) calling the action.  It will be the third of 12 regional broadcasts on the Big 12’s television package for the Wildcats.  The audio broadcast can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (via the internet at http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call. 


Kansas
State
made it back-to-back wins for the first time in the new year on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats rallied from an 11-point deficit against Baylor to post a 69-60 win.  Held without a field goal for nearly the first 10 minutes of the second half, K-State responded with a 27-9 run over the final 10 minutes to capture its seventh home win of the season.  Senior Lance Harris paced four Wildcats in double figures with 18 points, while senior Cartier Martin added 15 off the bench. 

  

A Quick Look at the Wildcats

Kansas State pushed its winning streak to two games on Wednesday with a 69-60 win over Baylor.  The Wildcats overcame an 11-point deficit for the second time this season and for the first time since the season opener with William & Mary on Nov. 11 to even their Big 12 record.  The team broke a nearly 10 minute drought from the field with junior David Hoskins’ driving lay-up with 10:14 remaining in the half and responded with a 27-9 run to end the game.  Hoskins was one of four players in double figures.  Overall, the Wildcats are averaging 71.8 points on 42.7 percent shooting and have three 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.)                   10.6      3.9

5       Clent Stewart (G, 6-4, 190, Jr.)                   6.0        2.1

15      David Hoskins (F, 6-5, 230, Jr.)                 13.9      5.4

20      Cartier Martin (F, 6-7, 225, Sr.)                 14.2      3.9

34      Akeem Wright (G, 6-6, 210, Sr.)                 7.0        5.8

 

Key Reserves

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

2       Blake Young (G, 6-2, 190, Jr.)                    6.6        2.1

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

23      Jermaine Maybank (G, 6-4, 180, Sr.)          2.6        2.2

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

50      Luis Colon (C, 6-10, 275, Fr.)                     3.0        2.1

55      Jason Bennett (C, 7-3, 255, Fr.)                 2.7        3.5

 

Noting the Baylor game 

*With the win, Kansas State now leads the all-time series with Baylor, 10-8... The Wildcats are 7-3 against the Bears in Manhattan.

 

*Kansas State rallied from an 11-point deficit against Baylor to post its second come-from-behind win of the season... The Wildcats were down 51-40 with 12:53 remaining in the second half before out-scoring the Bears, 27-9, in the final 10:14... The team was also down 11 points to William & Mary in the opener... The Tribe held an 18-7 advantage with 11:13 remaining in the first half... Ironically, K-State used a 27-9 run to take a 34-27 lead at halftime.

 

*After shooting better than 50 percent in the first half, both teams turned up the defensive pressure in the second half with Kansas State shooting 30.8 percent and Baylor connecting on just 21.6 percent... The Wildcats went nearly nearly 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half, while the Bears suffered through several droughts, including two four-minute stretches that enabled the Wildcats to get back into the contest.

 

*Senior Lance Harris paced four Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 18 points... It marked his 37th career double-figure scoring game, including his eighth this season... He also knocked in three 3-point field goals for the seventh time this season... He now ranks fourth on K-State’s all-time list with 127 treys, just one ahead of teammate Cartier Martin (126)... Harris already ranks third all-time with 359 3-point field goal attempts.

 

*Senior Cartier Martin became the 10th player in school history to post 1,200 career points, as he scored 15 points off the bench... It marked the fifth time this season that Martin has come off the bench for the Wildcats... He is averaging 13.6 points in those contests on 42.9 percent shooting.

 

*With 13 points against the Bears, junior David Hoskins has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games dating back to Cleveland State  on Dec. 5... He has reached double figures in a team-high 15 games this season and in 35 during his career.

 

Clutch Shooting

Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunites at the free throw in the past two games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 83.9 percent (52-of-62) from the charity stripe.  The team posted season-highs in free throws (37), free throws attempted (43) and free throw percentage (86.0) in the win over Missouri on Jan. 13.  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) is also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958.  The team has been particularly effective in the last five minutes from the free throw line, knocking down 80 percent (20-of-25), including 87.5 percent (14-of-16) against Missouri.

 

Road Warriors

After struggling for most of the past decade on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with five victories away from Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since the 1998-99 season.  The team also has three true’ road wins - at Rutgers, North Dakota State and Missouri - already this season for the first time since the 1997-98 season when the Wildcats also captured three victories.  The last time K-State had more than three true’ road wins in a season came during the 1995-96 season when the squad had five.  This is contrast to the previous seven seasons, in which, the team has posted no more than four wins away from Manhattan in a season and posted a 15-72 overall record, including a 10-63 mark in a true’ road venue.       

 

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 Jan. 13, became just the 10th player in school history to top 1,200 career points (1,203) with his 15-point effort against Baylor on Wednesday.  After his 18-point effort on Wednesday, Harris now ranks 31st all-time with 849 points in his four-year career and needs just 87 points to crack the school’s top 25.  He also passed Martin for fourth place (127) in school history in 3-point field goals with his three treys on Wednesday.  In just his second full-season as a Wildcat, Hoskins already ranks 71st on the school’s all-time scoring list with 618 points and can move into the top 50 with just 111 points the remainder of the year.  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 12 contests.  He has used all types of positional line-ups from three guards (Stewart, Harris and Wright against North Dakota State on Dec. 9 and Baylor on Jan. 17) 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 40 consecutive contests, including all 18 games this season.  The line-up variety is 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 18.7 turnovers (206), including an average of 6.6 steals, in the last 11 games, while averaging 21.8 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 16.7 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.  

           

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 16.0 points in the last 11 games on 50 percent shooting (49-of-98) with 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals.  His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 20 in four categories, including eighth in free throw percentage (78.6), 13th in scoring (13.9 ppg.) and 20th in rebounding (5.4 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he ranks seventh in free throw percentage (87.2), 10th in scoring (16.3 ppg.) and 16th in rebounding (6.3 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. 

Although he struggled from the field in the past two games (5-of-20), Hoskins has found away to score points in other ways, including the free throw line.  In the past two games, he has connected on 21-of-22 opportunities from the charity stripe, helping him score 18 against Missouri and 13 against Baylor.    

   

The Book on Iowa State

Iowa State enters Saturday’s contest with an 11-7 overall record and 2-2 mark in Big 12 Conference play after dropping a 74-65 decision at Colorado on Wednesday night.  The Cyclones have lost back-to-back Big 12 games after starting league play with wins at Missouri (66-65) and at home to Nebraska (71-62).  The team started the season with six straight victories before dropping five of their next six contests, including a three in a row to state rivals Northern Iowa, Drake and Iowa.  ISU then settled down to win five of its next seven, including a four-game winning streak from Dec. 23 to Jan. 10.   
  

The Cyclones are averaging 67.4 points on 42.2 percent shooting with 37.9 rebounds and have a balanced scoring team with three players averaging in double figures.  The team is led by a pair of newcomers in junior guard Mike Taylor and freshman forward Wesley Johnson.  A Big 12 Newcomer of the Year candidate, Taylor paces the squad in scoring (16.5 ppg.), 3-point field goals (49), assists (4.5 apg.), steals (1.2 spg.) and minutes (33.1), while Johnson averages 12.4 points and team-best 9.3 rebounds.  Junior center Jiri Hubalek adds 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.    


Iowa
State is led by first-year head coach Greg McDermott, who led Northern Iowa to 90 wins in five seasons and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.  McDermott is 232-134 in his 13th season as a head coach.  This will be his first meeting with both K-State and Bob Huggins in his career.

 

Series versus Iowa State

This will be the 202nd meeting between Kansas State and Iowa State in a series that dates back to 1909.  The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 125-76, but the Cyclones own a slight 45-44 edge in games played in Ames, Iowa (including their current seven-game winning streak).  Iowa State holds a 13-8 advantage since the inception of the Big 12, including a dominant 9-1 lead at home.  The teams have split their home-and-home season series each of the past five seasons with each squad winning on their own home floor.   The Cyclones have won seven in a row at home in the series, while the Wildcats have earned five straight victories at Bramlage Coliseum.  Last season, both home teams held off furious comebacks by the visitors to continue their dominance at home.  Iowa State posted a 72-70 win in Ames in the Big 12 opener on Jan. 7, 2006, while K-State earned a 66-63 victory in Manhattan on Feb. 8.


In its last meeting in Ames, Kansas State roared back from a 13-point deficit but couldn’t quite get over the hump in the final minute as Iowa State held on for a 72-70 victory over the Wildcats at Hilton Coliseum.  Forward David Hoskins scored a then career-high 25 points and forward Cartier Martin added 21, including a 3-pointer that pulled K-State to within a point of the Cyclones at 70-69 with just 49.5 seconds to play.  However, two critical Wildcat turnovers with a chance to take the lead inside the final 17 seconds helped the Cyclones escape.  Kansas State shot a season-high 57.4 percent from the field, including 71.4 percent in the second half, and held a 36-26 advantage on the boards, however, Iowa State took advantage of a season-high 24 turnovers by the Wildcats and convert them into 24 points.  Led by Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson, the Cyclones shot just 40 percent from the field.   

 

Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 12-6 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 (29.2), fourth in field goal percentage defense (40.5) and fifth in rebounding (37.8).  The squad has been just as impressive in league play, where they rank third in 3-point percentage defense (27.1) and fifth in field goal percentage defense (41.7).  The team has held 15 of its 18 opponents to below 80 points, including seven of its last nine 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 in the last 11 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 64.7 points on 40.6 percent shooting (239-of-588), including just 23.9 percent from 3-point range (43-of-180), during the stretch.  In addition, K-State has forced an average of 18.7 turnovers and tallied an average of 6.6 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 18 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 less than 70 points in four of five games this month, the team has still averaged averaged 74.8 points on 46.4 percent shooting (306-of-659) in the last 12 contests after averaging just 66.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting in the first six games.  In doing so, the squad has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 12 of their last 24 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, Kansas 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.


Lift From The Bench

Kansas State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 22.6 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 12 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 24.6 points off the bench and have outscored their opponent by a 295-206 margin.  The streak came on the heels of being outscored 67-47 off the bench in 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 reserve play.  In addition to the success enjoyed by these three individuals, senior Cartier Martin has performed well in a reserve role.  He has scored in double figures in three of the five games he has come off the bench for the Wildcats, including an 18-point effort against North Dakota State on Dec. 9, a 23-point output against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 19 and most recently a 15-point effort against Baylor on Jan. 17.  He is averaging 13.6 points off the bench. 

 

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 7.0 points on 41.2 percent shooting to go with a team-high 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.6 steals in 25.5 minutes per game.  He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 13th in defensive 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 six of the last seven games.  For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 10 contests. 

 

During the last 11 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 7.8 points on 47.3 percent shooting with 3.1 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 0.7 steals in 27.6 minutes per game in guiding the team to seven wins.  He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 12.0 points on 53.3 percent shooting (16-of-30), including 46.2 percent from 3-point range (6-of-13), with 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in a team-best 32.5 minutes per game.  Stewart has scored in double figures in three of the last four games, including tying his career-high with 19 points against Missouri on 5-of-9 shooting.  

    

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 Jan. 13 with his 15-point effort against Missouri, which topped All-American Jack Parr (1,184; 1955-58) for 10th in K-State history.  He became the 10th player with 1,200 career points with 15 against Baylor and moved to within 49 points of Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1979-82) for ninth place.  He is 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). 

 

Despite a recent slump, Martin has still scored in double figures 12 times in the last 16 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 10.6 points on 47.6 percent shooting, including a team-best 41.6 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.4 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (32) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.6), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in eight 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 seven games. 

 

A constant in the line-up, Harris is moving up several K-State career charts, including ranking third in 3-point field goal attempts (359), fourth in 3-point field goals (127) and 31st in scoring (849), while he is just outside the top 10 in both career games played (102) and minutes (2,164).

    

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 15 minutes in each of the last eight games, including 25 against Xavier.

 

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 6.6 points, a team-best 2.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 21.8 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 31 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.  He needs nine blocks to crack the school’s single-season top-10, while he is 18 swats away from the career top-10.  Bennett has recorded a block in 10 of 17 games this year, while his 2.10 per game average ranks first in the Big 12.  His four blocks against William & Mary were the most since Diarra had his school-tying six against Stephen F. Austin, while it was the most by a rookie 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: Chicago State (7-14)

Kansas State steps out of Big 12 play for the last time this season, as the Wildcats play host to independent Chicago State (7-14) on Monday at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 7 p.m.  The Cougars have posted a 7-14 overall record this season heading into their road games this week against Oral Roberts (Thursday) and Western Illinois (Saturday).  The team has played 18 of their 21 games away from campus, including road tilts at Texas, Wichita State, Indiana, DePaul, California and Michigan State.  CSU has six players scoring in double figures led by junior guard David Holston’s 16.0 points per game, while senior guard Royce Parran and senior forward Kourtney Calvin average 13.9 and 12.1 points per game, respectively.