K-State Returns Home to Face No. 23 Baylor

Game Information
Kansas State (11-6, 0-3 Big 12) vs.
rv/23 Baylor (14-3, 2-1 Big 12)

Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)
Capacity: 12,528

Series: K-State leads 10-9
(K-State is 7-3 at home)

Television: ESPN2/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360.com
Terry Gannon (play-by-play)
Steve Bardo (analyst)
Eric Mosley (producer)
Preben Martin (director)

Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)

Tickets: 500 tickets from student allotment went on sale Friday for $20 each at Athletics Ticket Office, by calling 1.800.221.CATS.  

Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 11-6 (0-3 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 32-18/1
School Record: 32-18/1
vs. Baylor: 0-1
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Jan. 17, 2009
Lost at Nebraska, 73-51
SID: Tom Gilbert
Website: www.k-statesports.com

Baylor Bears
Record: 14-3 (2-1 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): RV/23
Coach: Scott Drew
Alma Mater: Butler, 93
Career Record: 91-94/7
School Record: 71-83/6
vs. Kansas State: 2-3
07-08 Record: 21-11 (9-7 Big 12)
Last game: Jan. 17, 2009
Defeated Oklahoma State, 98-92 (OT)
SID: Chris Yandle
Website: www.BaylorBears.com 

Projected Starters
Kansas State (11-6, 0-3 Big 12)
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)
G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)
G - #31 Chris Merriewether (6-3, 210, Jr.)
F - #15 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)
F - #32 Jamar Samuels (6-7, 215, RFr.)

Baylor (14-3, 2-1 Big 12)
G - #0 Curtis Jerrells (6-1, 208, Sr.)
G - #5 Henry Dugat (6-0, 173, Sr.)
G - #45 Tweety Carter (5-11, 180, Jr.)
F - #4 Quincy Acy (6-7, 205, Fr.)
F - #23 Kevin Rogers (6-9, 250, Sr.)

Game Preview
Kansas State (11-6, 0-3 Big 12) returns home to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday when the Wildcats host No. 23 Baylor (14-3, 2-1 Big 12) at 7 p.m.  It will mark the team’s first home game since the Oklahoma game on Jan. 10 and one of just three in league play during the month of January.  K-State is 10-1 at home this season and has won 28 of its last 33 games in the building dating back to the start of the 2006-07 season, including a 69-60 win over Baylor in its last visit to Manhattan on Jan. 17, 2007.  Last season, the Bears won a shootout in Waco, 92-86, on Feb. 23, 2008.

Kansas State dropped to 0-3 in league play for the first time since 2001-02 on Saturday, as Nebraska won its fourth straight over the Wildcats in Lincoln with a 73-51 victory.  The Huskers used a 25-5 run over a 9:06 stretch overlapping the end of the first half to start of the second half to turn a 21-20 deficit into a 45-26 lead with just under 15 minutes to play.  The Wildcats posted season-lows for points (51), field goals made (17), field goals attempted (41), 3-point field goals made (4) and points in a half (21).  The 51 points were the fewest since scoring 48 against California on Nov. 26, 2006 and the fewest in a Big 12 game since scoring 42 against Nebraska on Jan. 11, 2006.  After averaging 81.5 points on 45.8 percent shooting during non-conference play, the team is averaging just 58.5 points on 37.5 percent shooting in its three Big 12 contests.

Junior Denis Clemente led a pair of Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 14 points, while senior Darren Kent added 10 points.  Clemente has led the team in scoring a team-high six times this season, while Kent registered double figures for the seventh time.  Junior Chris Merriewether and sophomore Ron Anderson paced the squad in rebounding with five boards each.     

K-State remains the definition of balance with seven different leading scorers, nine different assist leaders and seven different rebounding leaders.  Right now, six players are averaging seven or more points, while five players are averaging four or more rebounds.  There have been 59 double-digit scoring games by 10 players.  Of the 10 players, six have registered double figures six or more times.   

Despite their difficulties in Big 12 play, the Wildcats have still been a solid team defensively this season.  The squad is allowing just 63.2 points on 39.9 percent shooting, including 31.6 percent from 3-point range.  Since holding No. 5 Oklahoma to 20 points under its  season average on 41.4 percent shooting, the team has allowed 80 points on 54.2 percent shooting in losses at Kansas and Nebraska. 

Wednesday’s contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Terry Gannon (play-by-play) and Steve Bardo (analyst) calling the action.  It will mark the first of two appearances on ESPN2 and the second of six on the ABC family of networks this season.

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

Ticket Information
Approximately 500 unused tickets from the student allotment went on sale to the public on Friday for Wednesday’s contest.  Tickets are priced at $20 each.  Orders will be accepted in-person or by phone (800) 221.CATS.  The tickets are for general admission in Sections 21-25 of the arena.  There is also seating available in other locations for $30 each in reserved sections or $35 each in chairback areas.

Been Here Before
Kansas State is facing an 0-3 start to conference play for the third time in the Big 12 era and the 14th overall time dating back to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play in 1913.  In those previous 13 seasons, the Wildcats have rebounded to win its fourth game three times, including the last time in 2001-02 when the squad beat Iowa State, 63-52, at home on Jan. 19, 2002.  The team’s best finish after starting a conference season 0-3 came in 1983-84 and 1991-92 when the squad finished Big Eight play with 5-9 records.  The last time K-State started league play 0-3 - 2001-02 - the team went on to win six of its last 13 conference games to finish 6-10 and in a tie for seventh place.  The squad has not started 0-4 in a league season since 1996-97 when it lost its first nine games.    

Cats in January
Kansas State is 360-302 (.545) all-time in the month of January, including wins in 14 of its last 20 games dating back to 2007.  The Wildcats saw their 14-game winning streak in January, including a nine-game homecourt winning streak, end with their 61-53 loss to No. 6 Oklahoma on Jan. 10.  It was the first loss in the month since a 62-52 loss to Texas Tech on Jan. 8, 2007.

Last season, K-State posted its seventh perfect mark in the month of January and first since 1970 by turning in a 6-0 mark.  The Wildcats recorded wins over Savannah State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Colorado, Iowa State and Kansas.  The team also went undefeated in 1919 (4-0), 1951 (5-0), 1952 (5-0), 1958 (4-0), 1959 (6-0) and 1960 (6-0).

Well, Maybe Not as Explosive
Despite its struggles so far in Big 12 play, K-State is still averaging over 77 points points per game.  The team has scored 70 or more points in 13 of 17 games, including 80 or more points eight times.  The squad has posted three games of 90 or more points, including a 107-point output against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, which ranks as the most in a non-conference game since 1994 and the highest point total since the Wildcats scored 111 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998.  The three 90-point games are the most since the 1997-98 season. 

The 1,316 points are the fourth-most through 17 games in school history, trailing just the 1986-87 (1,408), 1997-98 (1,363) and 1952-53 (1,363) squads and just ahead of the 1976-77 (1,281) team.  This year’s edition is the fourth fastest team in school history to collect 1,000 points in a season.  The Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in eight of their first 17 games for just the third time in its
history, which also includes the 1952-53 and 1986-87 teams.

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

Solid D
K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 17 opponents thus far to an average of 63.2 points per game.  The Wildcats have held 13 foes to less than 70 points, including eight to 60 points or less.  The 1,075 points yielded are the second-fewest through 17 games in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1998-99 team allowed just 1,072 points.  This year, 10 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while eight have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range.  Prior to allowing 87 points at Kansas, the team had held the previous seven foes to just 56.1 points. 
    
Diverse Offense
Unlike last season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team has shown a lot more diversity with its scoring output thus far.  

Through 17 games, all 12 players have totaled double-digit points with six scoring in triple digits.  Two players - sophomore Jacob Pullen and junior Denis Clemente - are averaging in double figures led by Pullen’s 13.7 points per game.  Five players are averaging eight or more points, including sophomore Fred Brown (9.8 ppg.), freshman Jamar Samuels (9.3 ppg.) and senior Darren Kent (8.6 ppg.).  

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

There have already been seven different leading scorers in 17 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings.  In all, there have been 59 double-digit scoring games with Pullen doing it a team-best 11 times.  Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it at least six times this season.  

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

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

Through 17 games, K-State is averaging 40.4 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.5 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards per game.  The team ranks among the best in the Big 12 in four rebounding categories, including first in offensive rebounds, margin (+7.9) and rebounding defense (32.4) and second in overall rebounding.  Four players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon, Darren Kent and Dominique Sutton - have grabbed double-digit rebounds eight times with Anderson averaging a team-best 6.1 boards per game.  

Kent has a team-leading four double-doubles thus far with 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri, 14 points and 10 rebounds against Cleveland State, 24 points and 10 rebounds against Centenary and 13 points and 12 rebounds against Chicago State.  Anderson, Colon and Sutton each have one with Anderson tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds against Emporia State, Colon grabbing his first one against Southern Miss with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Sutton capturing his first with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Wagner.
 
Pressure is the Key
The core of Frank Martin’s coaching philosophy is pressure, whether its on the offensive or defensive end of the floor.  His theory is the more pressure you apply on a team, the more difficult you make it for your opponent.  In other words, pressure causes breakdowns.

Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 378 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 1,316 points) off 312 opponent turnovers.  The squad has also outscored its foes, 192-113, on fast-break opportunities.  

K-State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 11 of the team’s 17 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.  In its 11 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 278-120, in points off turnovers.  In contrast, the team has been outscored 123-100 in points off turnovers in its six losses.  In all, the Wildcats have forced seven foes into 20 or more turnovers.  The squad is averaging 7.5 steals per game with five players grabbing 10 or more this season led by Jacob Pullen’s 29 steals.

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

The duo, which has started 16 of 17 games, have combined for 432 points on 39.1 percent shooting (149-of-381), including 34.1 percent from 3-point range (60-of-176), with 107 of the team’s 248 assists.  Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game on 37.6 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (77), 3-point field goals made (36), assists (59), steals (29) and minutes (484).  Clemente is second in scoring at 12.4 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting, while is also second in assists (48) and minutes (417) and third in 3-point field goals (24). 

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

Samuels Earns Another Start
After his stellar play off the bench, redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels earned just his second start against Nebraska on Saturday.  Despite starting just two games this season, he is fourth in scoring at 9.3 points on 58.4 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 20.1 minutes per game.  He ranks second in the number of double-figure scoring games with 10, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb.  He scored in double figures in four consecutive games to start the year and has collected 10 or more points in six of the last 11 contests.  He has five or more rebounds 10 times, including a season-best eight on three occasions.  He was solid all-around in his first start against Centenary with eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and a career-tying three blocks.

Kent Stepping Up as a Senior
One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of senior forward Darren Kent.  Kent, the team’s only senior, has been a force on the boards, ranking second with 5.8 rebounds per game.  He is also averaging 8.6 points on 39.8 percent shooting (43-of-108) to go with 1.2 assists and 0.6 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game.  Kent, who entered the season averaging 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in his career, has totaled a team-best four double-doubles this year.  He had 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri before posting 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds at Cleveland State.  He grabbed his third one on a career day against Centenary with career-best 24 points with 10 rebounds.  He turned in his fourth double-double against Chicago State with 13 points and a career-tying 12 rebounds.

Brown From Outside
Sophomore Fred Brown has emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he paces the squad in 3-point field goal percentage (42.5) and is second in 3-point field goals (34).  He has at least one 3-pointer in 14 of 17 games, including two or more on 10 occasions.  He ranks third on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg.), field goals (59) and field goals attempted (139), while he is first among reserves in minutes (20.3 mpg.).  Almost 60 percent of his made (34) and attempted field goals (80) have come beyond the arc.  He has scored in double figures seven times, including a pair of 20-point outings against SE Missouri State (21) and Chicago State (26).

Sutton Steals the Show
After getting a late start to his time at K-State, sophomore Dominique Sutton has become an all-around factor for the Wildcats this season.  He is one of four players that have hit on 50 percent or better from the field, while he is second in steals (1.4 spg.), third in minutes (20.9 mpg.), fifth in rebounds (4.7 rpg.) and sixth in scoring (7.8 ppg.).  He has also scored in double figures six times.  Sutton tied the school single-game record for steals against Idaho State with eight, matching a mark set by Lynn Smith against South Dakota on Nov. 29, 1986 then followed by Elliot Hatcher against Wichita State on Jan. 2, 1996.  He also posted a career night against Wagner on Dec. 30, collecting highs in six categories, including points (21), rebounds (10), field goals (7), field goals attempted (11) and free throws (6).
   
Baylor Update
Baylor enters Wednesday’s game with a 14-3 overall record and 2-1 mark in Big 12 after rally for a 98-92 win in overtime over Oklahoma State on Saturday.  The Bears trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half before tying it at 82-all in regulation.  The squad dominated the overtime period, outscoring the Cowboys, 16-10, while shooting 83.3 percent from the field.  Senior Curtis Jerrells led six players in double figures with a season-high 31 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, and 10 assists. 

The high-scoring Bears are averaging 83.1 points through 17 games on a Big 12-best 49.2 percent shooting, including 38.5 percent from 3-point range, with 37.1 rebounds, 13.5 assists, 8.1 steals and 5.0 blocks per game.  The team averages nearly nine 3-pointers per game.  

A balanced Baylor squad is led by Big 12 Player of the Year candidate Curtis Jerrells, who averages 17.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting with 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals in a team-best 34.6 minutes per game.  Sophomore guard LaceDarius Dunn is second in scoring at 15.8 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting, while senior guard Henry Dugat is third at 13.4 points on 48.1 percent shooting.  Senior forward Kevin Rogers paces the squad in rebounding at 7.8 per contest, while averaging 12.4 points on 52.4 percent shooting.

Baylor returns eight lettermen, including four starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 21-11 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years.   

The Bears are led by sixth-year head coach Scott Drew, who has posted a 71-83 mark at the helm.  He has a 91-94 record in seven years as a head coach, which includes a one-year stint at Valparaiso.  Drew is 2-3 against K-State, including a 0-2 record on the road.  

Series Information
K-State and Baylor will be meeting for the 20th time on Wednesday with the Wildcats holding a 10-9 edge in the series. The Wildcats are 7-3 in the series at home, including consecutive wins in 2005 and 2007.  The series dates back to 1948 when Baylor beat Kansas State, 60-52, to advance to the NCAA Championship game in New York.  The Bears own an 8-5 advantage since the start of Big 12 play, including a 3-3 mark on the road.  The teams have split their last four meetings.  The last three meetings have been settled by single-digits. 
 
Last 5 meetings:
3/3/04 K-State 64-62 Waco
2/23/05 K-State 80-69 Manhattan
2/1/06 Baylor 72-70 (OT) Waco
1/17/07 K-State 69-60 Manhattan
2/23/08 Baylor 92-86 Waco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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