No. 25 K-State Looks To End Skid At OSU Saturday
No. 25 K-State Looks To End Skid At OSU Saturday
Jan. 20, 2012
25/RV KANSAS STATE (13-4, 2-3 Big 12) AT OKLAHOMA STATE (9-9, 2-3 Big 12)
Saturday, January 21, 2012 * 12:30 p.m. CST * Stillwater, Okla. * Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)
Television: Big 12 Network (ESPN Full Court)
Dave Armstrong (play-by-play); Stephen Howard (analyst)
Channels: KMCI (Kansas City), KSAS (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka)
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Brian Smoller (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 113/XM 193 (home team broadcast)
Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com/multimedia
Live Audio: www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday
NCAA RPI: K-State #33, Oklahoma State #98
K-State vs. Oklahoma State: 70-47 (L, 62-76, 1/8/11)
In Stillwater: 23-28 (L, 62-76, 1/8/11)
No. 25 Kansas State (13-4, 2-3 Big 12) hits the road for Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday, as the Wildcats face the Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-9, 2-3 Big 12) at 12:30 p.m. CST at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The game will be broadcast on the Big 12 Network (ESPN Full Court and ESPN3.com) with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Stephen Howard (analyst) on the call. Saturday's game begins a stretch of three road games in the next four outings for K-State, which includes trips to Texas Tech on Jan. 25 and Iowa State on Jan. 31. The Wildcats have yet to win a Big 12 road game after losses at Kansas (67-49) to kick off league play on Jan. 4 and at Oklahoma (82-73) last Saturday. The squad has won just three times in 16 Big 12 meetings against Oklahoma State since 1997, which includes an 11-game skid at Gallagher-Iba Arena. A K-State team has not won in Stillwater since a 75-62 overtime victory on Jan. 9, 1993, the longest active losing streak at a Big 12 venue. The Wildcats snapped a two-game skid on Wednesday night with an 84-80 win at home over Texas. The squad has now won four of the last five meetings with the Longhorns, including three straight dating back to 2010. Although K-State is allowing a Big 12-worst 72.6 points through five league games, the team was able to get the offense going against Texas with its first 80-point game of conference season and most since an 92-point outing against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Nov. 22. The Cowboys, who also boast a similar 2-3 mark in Big 12 play, are coming off a heartbreaking 71-68 loss at Iowa State, in which, the Cyclones banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to gain the victory.
Saturday's game will be the fourth of at least 10 regular-season broadcasts on the Big 12 Network. The league television package can be seen locally on KMCI-TV in Kansas City, KSAS-TV in Wichita, KSNT-TV in Topeka and KFJX-TV in Pittsburg. The contest can also seen throughout the Big 12 region on KPLR-TV in St. Louis, KOCB-TV in Oklahoma City, KTUL-TV in Tulsa, KBVO-TV in Austin, Texas, WOI-TV in Des Moines, KXVO-TV in Omaha and KZOU-TV in Columbia, Mo. It will also be on the YES Network in New York City and KDOC-TV in Los Angeles. All games on the Big 12 Network can be found on ESPN Full Court as well as ESPN3.com.
Oklahoma State enters Saturday's game with a 9-9 record and 2-3 mark in Big 12 play after dropping its third straight road gameat Iowa State on Wednesday. Under fourth-year head coach Travis Ford, the Cowboys have faced plenty of adversity this season with the loss of their third-leading scorer Jean-Paul Olukemi just 13 games into the season and the transfer of two guards. The youthful squad starts just one senior - Keiton Page - and three freshmen and one sophomore. OSU averages 66.4 points on 41.2 percent shooting, including 32.8 percent from 3-point range, to go with a 35.3 rebounds, 10.8 assists, 6.2 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. Page paces two players in double figures at 14.8 points per game on 41.3 percent shooting with a team-high 47 3-pointers on the season in nearly 34 minutes per game. Freshman phenom Le'Bryan Nash also averages in double figures at 12.9 points to go with 4.9 rebounds per outing, while Markel Brown and Cezar Guerrero average 8.3 and 6.4 points, respectively. Five players average at least four rebounds per game led by forward Philip Jurick's 5.8 average per game.
Saturday's game will be the 118th meeting between K-State and Oklahoma State dating back to Feb. 18, 1927 with the Wildcats holding a 70-47 (.598) lead in the series. OSU has won 13 of the last 16 meetings since the start of Big 12 play, including wins in three of the last four games. The Cowboys earned their 11th consecutive win over the Wildcats at Gallagher-Iba Arena in their last meeting, a 76-62 win on Jan. 8, 2011. This will mark the first of two regular-season contests between the two schools for the first time since the last season of the Big Eight in 1996. Overall, K-State is 23-28 (.451) in Stillwater with the last win coming in overtime on Jan. 9, 1993. Head coach Frank Martin is 2-3 (.400) against the Cowboys, including 0-2 on the road.
LAST TIME OUT: 25/RV KANSAS STATE 84, TEXAS 80
K-State snapped a two-game losing streak on Wednesday night at home with a 84-80 win over Texas. The victory marked the fourth win in the last five meetings with the Longhorns, including a streak of three straight wins. The Wildcats led by as many as seven points in the second half, including 80-73 with 1:14 remaining, but two 3-pointers by Texas coupled with poor free throw shooting (1-of-6) by K-State kept the game close. The Longhorns were down just 82-80 with 20 seconds remaining before Martavious Irving was able to steal the ball from freshman Myck Kabongo and feed to Rodney McGruder for the game's final points. The Wildcats were able to post their highest point total (84) in nearly two months since an 92-point outing against Maryland-Eastern Shore on nearly 47.5 percent shooting, including 52.2 percent in the second half. Four players scored in double figures led by McGruder's career-best 33-point outing, which came on 11-of-17 field goals, including 4-of-6 from long range, and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. He also had a team-best eight rebounds in 33 minutes. It marked the second 30-point game in three outings for McGruder, who is averaging 22.7 points on 58.3 percent shooting in the last seven games, including a Big 12-best 23.4 points through five conference games. Senior Jamar Samuels collected 14 points despite foul-problems, while Thomas Gipson and Will Spradling each added 11 points. It was Gipson's first double-digit scoring effort since Dec. 11.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Kansas State has been solid on the road in Big 12 play under head coach Frank Martin, posting a 16-18 (.471) since the 2007-08 season. Prior to Martin's arrival (which includes a 4-4 road mark as Bob Huggins' top assistant in 2006-07), the Wildcats won just 10 road games (out of 70) in their first 10 years of Big 12 play, including winless marks in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003. You would have to count up the last four years of the Big Eight (1992-96) and the first 10 in the Big 12 to get more than the 16 road wins that Martin has posted in his career. Last season, the Wildcats went 3-5 on the road, including an upset of No. 7 Texas in Austin on Feb. 28, 2010, which was the first over a Top 10 on the road since beating top-ranked Kansas on Jan. 17, 1994.
ANOTHER SLOW START
K-State is enduring another slow start to Big 12 play with its current 2-3 mark after five conference games. It marks the third time in the past four years that the Wildcats have struggled out of the gate, which includes a 1-4 record in 2008-09 and 1-4 mark in 2010-11. However, the team managed to rally in those previous two occasions to earn one of the four byes at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with the 2008-09 team winning six in a row after a 0-4 start and the 2010-11 team winning eight of its last nine after a 1-4 start to league play. K-State and Kansas are the only conference schools to earn a bye to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship each of the past four seasons. However, the format for the championship changes in 2011-12 with the top-6 seed all getting byes to the quarterfinals with seeds 8 and 9 and 7 and 10 playing each other in the first round.
One of the issues with the slow start to Big 12 play has been lapses on defense, which has allowed opponents to score 72.6 points on 46.6 percent shooting, including 34.5 percent from 3-point range. K-State currently ranks dead-last in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense and fifth in 3-point field goal percentage defense in league-only games. During non-conference play, the Wildcats were solid defensively, allowing opponents just 61.7 points per game on 36.7 percent shooting from the field, including 27.7 percent from 3-point range. Those numbers have been worse in the last three games, where K-State has allowed 79 points on 51.2 percent shooting and 36.2 percent from 3-point range in games against No. 4/4 Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas. In back-to-back games, the Wildcats have allowed an opponent to top the season-high for field goal percentage, as the Bears connected on 53.7 percent of its field goals before the Sooners shot 54.9 percent from the field. In the second half against Baylor and Oklahoma, K-State allowed a combined 66.7 percent (30-of-45) shooting from the field, including 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from 3-point range. By allowing 82 points to Oklahoma and 80 to Texas, the Wildcats yielded 80 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time since the end of the 2009-10 season when they allowed 82 to Kansas and 85 to Iowa State.
TURNOVERS AN EFFECT ON BOTH SIDES
K-State has been struck by the turnover bug in Big 12 play with the Wildcats averaging 15.6 turnovers and allowing 21.6 points off those miscues. The squad has had at least 12 turnovers in each of its five league games, including a season-worst 20 against No. 4/4 Baylor and another 19 against Oklahoma last week. Opponents have scored at least 11 points off these miscues, including 18 for Kansas and a Frank Martin era-worse 30 for both the Bears and Sooners. Over 30 percent (108) of the opponents' point total (363) have come directly from turnovers, including nearly 40 percent (60) against Baylor and Oklahoma. During the non-conference season, K-State averaged nearly 15 turnovers per outing (14.7) and allowed 14 points off those mistakes, while its opponents were forced into nearly 17 turnovers per game (16.7) with an average of 17.8 points scored off those miscues. On a positive note, the Wildcats have been able to force its five Big 12 foes into an average of 16.2 turnovers to go with an average of 19.8 points generated from those mistakes. The team has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in four consecutive games for the first time this season, including 21 against Missouri, 26 vs. Baylor, 20 vs. Oklahoma and 21 vs. Texas. The last time the Wildcats posted 20 or more points off of turnovers in more than four consecutive games was five games from Dec. 12, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010.
K-State has proved to be a balanced team across the board with seven players averaging five or more points, including three in double figures, and four averaging five or more rebounds per game. Just 4.6 points separates the team's leading scorer (Rodney McGruder - 15.7 ppg.) with the No. 2 and 3 scorers (Jamar Samuels and Will Spradling - 11.1 ppg.), while Samuels' team-leading 6.5 rebounds per game are just 1.4 more than Jordan Henriquez's No. 4 average of 5.1 boards. The team has seen 10 different players collect 57 double-digit scoring games with McGruder posting a team-leading 13 such games, while Samuels and Spradling are not far behind with 11 double-figure games each. The Wildcats are a much better team when three or more players register double-digit points (12-2 on the season), including a 7-1 mark when four or more players collect 10 or more points. In two of four losses this season, the squad had just two players (vs. Kansas and Baylor) in double-figure scoring.
K-State has had five different scoring leaders (with McGruder leading the way eight times) and four leading rebounders (with Samuels, McGruder and Henriquez each leading five times), while eight players have led or tied for the lead in assists. Nine players have collected double-figure assists this season, including 30 or more assists by Will Spradling (50), Shane Southwell (46) and Angel Rodriguez (36), and five players have double-figure steals led by McGruder's 22. In addition, K-State players have tallied eight double-doubles already with Gipson and Samuels each tallying three and McGruder also posting two.
K-State has taken advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line this season with nearly 25 percent of their points (300) coming from the line. The Wildcats rank fifth nationally in free throw attempts per game (27.2), trailing New Mexico State (34.0), LIU-Brooklyn (28.0), Maryland (27.5) and Oregon State (27.2), while they are 21st in the country in free throws made per game (17.6). K-State is first in the Big 12 with more than two more attempts per game than second-place Texas (24.9), while it is second in makes behind the Longhorns (18.1). Opponents are averaging 24.3 personal fouls per game, while they have 82 fewer free throws attempted and 39 fewer free throws made. The team has attempted at least 23 free throws in 15 of 17 games this season, including a season-best 39 against Texas on Wednesday night. The Wildcats have more free throws attempted than every opponent except West Virginia, UTEP, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, while they have more makes in 10 of 17 games. The squad has also converted on at least 20 free throws in six games, including a season-best 24 against Southern Illinois.
K-State is 78-11 (.875) under Frank Martin, including 11-1 this season, when the squad attempts more free throws, while they are just 30-35 (.462) under Martin, including 2-3 this year, when they equal or are surpassed by their opponent in attempts.
Although K-State has struggled of late, the squad has still been solid overall on defense, allowing opponents 64.9 points on 39.5 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent from 3-point range, to go with a Big 12-best 39.5 rebounds, 5.9 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. The Wildcats have held eight foes to under 65 points, including six below 60 points. The squad held No. 7/6 Missouri to a season-low 59 points (nearly 30 points below average) on 32.7 percent shooting, including 29.2 percent from 3-point range.
Heading to Saturday's game, K-State ranks among the Top 50 nationally in four defensive categories, including 36th in field goal percentage defense, 30th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 34th in blocked shots and 44th in scoring margin. The squad also places in the Big 12's Top 5 in six defensive categories, including first in rebounding and offensive rebounds, fourth in blocked shots and 3-point field goal percentage defense and fifth in scoring defense. Under head coach Frank Martin, the Wildcats have finished no lower than fourth in rebounding (twice leading the Big 12 in 2007-08 and 2008-09) and have led the league in offensive rebounds each season. K-State is the only Big 12 school to have four players rank in the Top 20 in rebounding (Jamar Samuels - 6th, Thomas Gipson - 11th, Rodney McGruder - 14th and Jordan Henriquez - 20th).
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent's mistakes. Since he became head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 2,849 points off of 2,542 turnovers in 155 games - an average of 18.4 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past five years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which the team has outscored its foes, 313-276. The squad is pressuring its foes into an average of 16.5 turnovers per game, including a season-high 22 by Charleston Southern and 21 by North Florida, while just five games into Big 12 play, foes are averaging 16.2 turnovers. Nine times the Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off miscues, including a season-best 26 against UMES and Baylor. The team has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in four consecutive games for the first time this season, including 21 against Missouri, 26 vs. Baylor, 20 vs. Oklahoma and 21 vs. Texas. The last time the Wildcats posted 20 or more points off of turnovers in more than four consecutive games was five games from Dec. 12, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010.
Turnovers have been particularly key in the last three games, in which, the squads have combined for 98 turnovers with 146 of the 467 points coming directly from those miscues. Baylor converted 20 K-State turnovers into 30 points, while the Wildcats scored 26 points off 18 Bear mistakes. Oklahoma scored 30 points off of 19 K-State turnovers, while the Wildcats tallied 20 points off 13 Sooner miscues. K-State posted 21 points off 16 Texas turnovers, while the Longhorns had 19 points off 12 Wildcat errors.
SECOND CHANCE POINTS
Kansas State has taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 33.4 points in the paint and 17.8 points off of second-chance opportunities. The Wildcats are averaging a Big 12-best 39.5 rebounds per game, including 15.5 on the offensive end, and have out-rebounded their opponent 13 times in 17 games, including 10 times in the last 11. The team has collected 40 or more rebounds in eight games, including a season-best 50 against George Washington and North Florida. K-State ranks 21st nationally in rebounds per game, including tops in the Big 12, while it ranks seventh nationally in offensive rebounds and tops in the league. The team is also 31st nationally (and second in the Big 12) in rebounding margin (+5.9).
K-State has posted at least 30 points in the paint in 14 of 17 games, including a combined 90 in overtime games with West Virginia (44) and North Florida (46), and have outscored their foes, 568-432 in the paint. The team also made good use of its size advantage against Missouri on Jan. 7 by tying a season-high with 46 points in the paint. The Wildcats have collected 20 or more second-chance points five times, including a season-best 27 against North Florida and 25 each against George Washington and Oklahoma. These numbers were particularly important against North Florida on Dec. 11, as the team posted season-bests in both categories, including a 46-34 edge in points in the paint and a 27-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Adding to the K-State's balanced attack is the production it is getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 23 points this season, including 31.2 points during its six-game winning streak from Dec. 11-31. In wins over Alabama (35), Southern Illinois (48), UTEP (42) and Howard (34), the Wildcats received nearly half of their scoring from the bench (159 of 314 points),
including double-figure efforts by Angel Rodriguez (4), Jordan Henriquez (1), Jamar Samuels (1) and Jeremy Jones (1). In fact, Rodriguez collected double figures in each of those four games from the bench, including a season-best 17 against Southern Illinois, averaging a team-best 14.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting from the field. Against Oklahoma, the Wildcats finally got their bench back involved in the offense with their reserves totaling (33) nearly half of the team's 73 points. Most this production came from Jones (12) and freshman Nino Williams, who nearly posted his first career double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Williams tied or posted career-highs in 11 categories, including points, rebounds and minutes played (15) against the Sooners. Overall, the 48-point bench effort against the Salukis was the most of the Frank Martin era, while the 90 combined bench points (against Southern Illinois and UTEP) were the most in consecutive games under Martin.
With depth a significant strength for Kansas State in 2011-12, head coach Frank Martin has used six different starting lineups this season. The only constants in the lineup have been junior Rodney McGruder and sophomore Will Spradling, who are the only players to start each of the team's 17 games and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes played. Senior Jamar Samuels, junior Martavious Irving and freshman Thomas Gipson have started 14 games each, while junior Jordan Henriquez has six starts, sophomore Shane Southwell two and freshman Angel Rodriguez one. Five of the lineups have been used three or fewer times, while Martin has used the lineup of Spradling, Irving, McGruder, Samuels and Gipson the most at nine times. Against Texas, Rodriguez earned his first career start and shifted Spradling to shooting guard, while Gipson returned to the lineup.
MARTIN WINS 100
Head coach Frank Martin became the fourth K-State head coach to earn his 100th career victory, including the second-fastest, in the 69-61 win at Virginia Tech on Dec. 4. He joined Naismith Hall of Fame coaches Jack Gardner (147-81, 1939-42, 1946-53) and Fred "Tex" Winter (261-118, 1954-68) and all-time wins leader Jack Hartman (295-169; 1970-86). He is the first to do so since Hartman did it midway through the 1975-76 season. Martin accomplished the feat in just 143 games, which is one shy of the 142 it took Winter to produce his 100th victory midway through the 1958-59 season. Hartman's 100th win came in 149 games, while Gardner did it in his 170th game in his second stint as head coach in 1950-51. The 2009-10 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Martin is the first Wildcat coach to post a 20-win season in each of his first four years and joined (current Oklahoma head coach) Lon Kruger as the only head coaches in school history to guide teams to the postseason in his first four seasons.
Of note, Martin has posted a winning streak of at least five games on 10 different occasions in just five short seasons at K-State, including the team's recent streak of six straight wins. His longest streak of 10 games came during the 2009-10 season. The Wildcats have also won 14 straight at home, which is the one of four double-digit home winning streaks under Martin.
McGRUDER HEATING UP
After a roller coaster of a year shooting the ball, junior Rodney McGruder is starting to hit his stride in the last few games. He is averaging 22.7 points in the last seven games on 58.3 percent shooting (56-of-96), including 58.6 percent (17-of-29) from 3-point range, while he is shooting 85.7 percent (30-of-35) from the free throw line. During the streak, he has scored in double figures in each game with two 20-point outings and two 30-point efforts (with both in a three-game span) to go with a double-double (19 points and 10 rebounds vs. Oklahoma). He is also averaging 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.7 assists in the span. The streak began at Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 25 when he earned most valuable player honors after torching Long Beach State for 28 points in the championship game on near perfect 10-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with a 6-of-7 effort from the free throw line. He has led the team in scoring in each of the last seven games, which includes 14 points vs. Howard, 15 at No. 14/15 Kansas, 20 vs. No. 7/6 Missouri, 30 vs. No. 4/4 Baylor, 19 at Oklahoma and a career-high 33 vs. Texas. He is the first player since Jacob Pullen in 2009-10 to lead the team in scoring in at least seven consecutive games.
McGruder's 33-point effort against the Longhorns on Wednesday night marked the third time in seven games he has broken his career-high in scoring, as he connected on 11-of-17 field goals (4-of-6 from long range) and 7-of-10 from the free throw line in 33 minutes. He is the first Wildcat to have 30 or more points twice in a three-game span since Michael Beasley in 2007-08. He now has a team-leading 13 double-digit scoring games, including six games of 20 or more points. He ranks in the Big 12's Top 15 in both scoring (15.7 ppg; 6th) and rebounding (5.6 rpg; 14th), while he is sixth in field goal percentage (46.8), seventh in offensive rebounds (2.6 rpg.), ninth in minutes (31.2), 11th in steals (1.3 spg.), 13th in 3-point field goal percentage (37.1) and 15th in free throw percentage (75.0). Through five Big 12 games, he is first in the league in scoring (23.4 ppg.), second in 3-point field goal percentage (50.0), fifth in 3-point field goals made (2.2), sixth in field goal percentage (52.6), seventh in free throw percentage (85.7), eighth in steals (1.4 spg.) and rebounding (6.6 rpg.). Overall, he paces the Wildcats in five categories, including scoring, field goals (98), field goals attempted (203), steals (22) and minutes (31.2 mpg.). He and Will Spradling are the only players to start all 17 games this season and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes.
McGRUDER NAMED PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior Rodney McGruder followed up his most valuable player performance at the Diamond Head Classic with his first career Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week award on Dec. 26. In helping the Wildcats win their first regular-season tournament title since 2006, he averaged 15.0 points on 64 percent shooting, including 44.4 percent from 3-point range, with 6.0 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in two of three games, including a career-best 28 points in the championship game against Long Beach State on Christmas Day. He went a near perfect 10-of-11 from the field against the 49ers, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Remarkably, by making 10-of-11 field goals against LBSU, he posted one of the best shooting nights in school history. Only Joe Wright (11-of-11 vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 23, 1985) and Eddie Elder (11-of-11 vs. Colorado on Feb. 23, 1985) had a better field goal percentage when attempting more than 10 shots. McGruder is the third Wildcat to receive a weekly award from the Big 12 this season. Senior Jamar Samuels was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 5, while freshman Thomas Gipson was the league's Rookie of the Week on Dec. 12.
SAMUELS MAKING THE MOST OF HIS SENIOR SEASON
Senior Jamar Samuels has been a key component to the Wildcats' 13-4 start to season, leading the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg.) and ranking third in scoring (11.1 ppg.). Despite missing the exhibition game and the first two games due to violations of team rules, he responded well so far, collecting double-figure scoring games in 11 of 15 contests (including a stretch of seven consecutive such games from Dec. 11 to Jan. 4) and back-to-back double-doubles (vs. George Washington and Virginia Tech) for the first time in his career. His seven consecutive double-figure scoring games was the longest since he had 10 in a row in 2009-10. Playing the hometown Colonials, he picked up his first double-double this season with 10 points and 10 rebounds on Dec. 1 before he recorded 17 points and a career-tying 14 rebounds in the big road win at Virginia Tech on Dec. 4. Samuels also ranks first on the team in both free throws (65) and free throws attempted (92), while he is third in minutes (26.1). He was stellar in Hawai'i, earning Diamond Head Classic All-Tournament team honors after averaging 11.7 points, a team-best 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. He also took advantage of his opportunities from the free throw line in tournament, scoring 21 of his 35 points from the line on 77.8 percent (21-of-27) shooting. In the last 11 games, he has scored 53 of his 118 points from the charity stripe, while connecting on 74.6 percent (53-of-71) from the line.
SAMUELS JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB
Senior Jamar Samuels earned his 1,000 career point in the double-overtime loss to West Virginia on Dec. 8, becoming the 23rd player in school history and the third (Jacob Pullen & Denis Clemente) under head coach Frank Martin to eclipse the milestone. His current total of 1,126 points ranks 13th in school history, just 178 points from the all-time Top 10. He also ranks in the Top 5 all-time in school history in both career free throws (359) and free throws attempted (593). His 359 makes rank fourth on the all-time list (just three shy of passing Steve Henson), while his 593 attempts are third behind only Bob Boozer (702; 1956-59) and Jacob Pullen (684; 2007-11). Against Oklahoma, he cracked the career Top 10 in two additional categories, as he is now ninth in both career games played (118) and rebounds (615). He is one of just 11 players in school history to tally at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining the likes of Rolando Blackman (1977-81), Bob Boozer (1956-59), Ed Nealy (1978-82)and Jack Parr (1955-58) to accomplish the feat. Samuels also ranks ninth in both career steals (93) and blocks (83).
SAMUELS NAMED PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior Jamar Samuels was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 5 after averaging a double-double in wins over George Washington and Virginia Tech. Samuels, who earned the weekly honor for the first time in his career, averaged 13.5 points on 64.7 percent shooting (11-of-17), including 50 percent (1-of-2) from 3-point range, in the two wins with 12.0 rebounds in 27.0 minutes per game. He recorded double-doubles in each contest, marking the first time in his career he has done that in back-to-back games, and raised his career total to seven. He began the week with a 10-point, 10-rebound effort in the win over George Washington. Playing in front of numerous friends and family from nearly Washington, D.C., in the Wildcats' first road game, he was sensational in the clutch against Virginia Tech. He snagged a game-high 17 points on 7-of-8 field goals to go with a career-tying 14 rebounds in 28 minutes. After struggling in the first half due to foul problems, he registered a double-double in the second half alone with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 13 rebounds against the Hokies.
SPRADLING ON POINT
Sophomore Will Spradling has solidified the starting point guard spot so far this season, averaging 11.1 points on 41.9 percent shooting with a team-best 32 3-point field goals, 2.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 30.5 minutes per game in 17 starts. He joins McGruder as the only players to start all 17 games and the only ones to average 30 minutes per game. He has posted double figures in 11 of 17 games, including tying his career-high with 17 points against Long Beach State on Dec. 25. He also scored 16 points against West Virginia to go with a pair of 15-point efforts against Charleston Southern and Loyola Chicago. Spradling ranks among the Big 12 leaders in both 3-point field goal percentage (8th, 41.0) and 3-point field goals made per game (10th, 1.9), while he has at least one trey in every game this season. He collected a season-best four 3-pointers against the Mountaineers, while he had three each against LBSU, Howard and Missouri. He has also taken care of the ball, registering a 1.67 assist-to-turnover ratio (50-30). Since the opener where he turned it over three times, he has had three turnover-free games and four others where he had just one miscue. He has 14 assists to just two turnovers against North Florida and Alabama, including a near double-double against the Ospreys with a career-best nine assists (to just one turnover) to go with 12 points.
HURTS SO GOOD
In addition to his ball-handling skills, Will Spradling has continued to demonstrate his toughness on the court, registering a team-best 21 charges taken. He has posted at least one charge taken in 13 of 17 games this season, including a career-best three each on three occasions. He taken as many charges (21) as the entire rest of the team combined (20). For his career, Spradling has taken 42 charges in 51 games, which is four more than second-place Jamar Samuels (36). He saw his streak of 11 consecutive games with at least one charge taken end against Howard on Dec. 31.
Freshman Thomas Gipson has made an impact in just his first season as a Wildcat. A 6-foot-7, 275-pound forward, he ranks second on the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg.) to go with 8.9 points per game in 14 starts. He has scored in double figures in six games, leading the team against Loyola Chicago (19), UMES (13), George Washington (17) and North Florida (23), while collecting a team-high three double-doubles. He became the first freshman since Michael Beasley in 2007-08 to collect a double-double with 17 points and season-best 13 rebounds against George Washington on Dec. 1. He followed that up with his second double-double with 15 points in the loss to West Virginia on Dec. 8, earning Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors. He made it three double-doubles in four games against North Florida with a season-high 23 points and game-high 12 boards.
After struggling in the past six games (averaging 4.5 points on 30 percent shooting with 5.2 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game), he responded well in his first game as a reserve against Missouri, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds in a season-low 12 minutes. He scored in double figures for the first time in more than a month against Texas on Wednesday with 11 points on 4-of-7 field goals and six rebounds in 16 minutes. It was his first Big 12 start since the Kansas game on Jan. 4.
Although it has taken some time to adjust to the college level, freshman Angel Rodriguez is starting to make an impact on the floor, as he earned his first career start against Texas on Wednesday. He played just 15 minutes due to foul trouble, but did score four points with two assists, one rebound and one steal. The start came on the heels of seeing time in 15 of 16 games from the bench, where he scored in double figures four times, including a season-best 17-point effort on five treys in the win over Southern Illinois on Dec. 22. He followed that up with 16 points against UTEP on Dec. 23 before adding 11 points against Howard on Dec. 31. During the team's six-game winning streak from Dec. 11-31, he averaged 11.4 points on 44.7 percent shooting, including 52.4 percent from 3-point range, to go with 3.0 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. His shooting has also drastically improved. In the first seven games of the season, he was averaging 4.4 points on 20 percent shooting, including just 14.3 percent from 3-point range. He has nearly tripled his scoring output, while shooting nearly 25 points higher from the field, including nearly 40 point higher from long range.
SPECIAL WIN NO. 1500
The 75-59 win over No. 7/6 Missouri on Jan. 7 was significant in a number of ways, including serving as the program's milestone 1,500th victory. K-State currently stands at 1,500-1,058 (.586) in 108 seasons, which ranks 41st all-time in NCAA Division I history. The school becomes the sixth Big 12 program to eclipse the milestone, following Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri, while it is the fifth team to top 1,500 wins this season, joining St. Joseph's, Ohio State, Michigan State and Washington State. Overall, it was the 89th win over a Top 25 team in school history, including the 35th over the Top 10. The Wildcats have now posted 23 Top 25 wins at Bramlage Coliseum, including 11 wins over the Top 10. Three times in the last four seasons the squad has posted at least one home win over a Top 10 opponent (No. 1 Texas in 2010, No. 1 Kansas in 2011 and No. 7 Missouri in 2012). Frank Martin earned his 18th Top 25 win (18-19) in five seasons, including his sixth Top 10 win (6-10).
A LOOK BACK AT NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
K-State capped its non-conference schedule on New Year's Eve with a 82-46 win over Howard. The Wildcats have posted a 58-12 (.829) record in non-conference play under head coach Frank Martin, including five consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins. The 58 wins are the most over a five-year span in non-conference play in school history. Overall, the squad has collected 10 or more wins in non-conference play in six straight seasons dating back to 2006-07. The squad played just 12 non-conference games in 2011-12 due to the expanded 18-game Big 12 Conference slate. It is the fewest non-conference games in a single-season since playing 11 during the 2005-06 season. K-State was one of seven Big 12 teams to have reached double-digit wins in non-conference play.
RECAPPING THE DIAMOND HEAD CLASSIC
K-State earned its first regular-season tournament title since 2006, as the Wildcats captured the 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with wins over Southern Illinois (83-58), UTEP (78-70) and Long Beach State (77-60). It was the first tournament title since winning the 2006 Las Vegas Holiday Classic and the first under head coach Frank Martin. The squad averaged nearly 80 points (79.3 ppg.) during the three-game tournament on 49.7 percent shooting (78-of-157), including 51.3 percent (20-of-39) from 3-point range, while holding its opponents to just 62.7 points on 36.6 percent shooting (59-of-161).
Junior Rodney McGruder was named the tournament most valuable player (Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week two days later) after averaging 15.0 points on 64 percent shooting, including a career-best 28 points in the final against LBSU. Senior Jamar Samuels was also named to the all-tournament team after averaging 11.7 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game. Four players averaged in double figures, while eight averaged more than five points. It also marked the first time since the 1964 Big Eight Holiday Tournament in Kansas City that the Wildcats won three tournament games.
K-State capped its non-conference schedule with an 82-46 victory over Howard on Dec. 31, which extended the school's non-conference winning streak at Bramlage Coliseum to 39 games. The Wildcats also extended their homecourt winning streak in Manhattan in the month of December to 24 games at the "Octogon of Doom," including a 16-0 mark under Frank Martin. The last loss non-conference at home came to Rutgers, 76-66, on Dec. 28, 2004. Overall, K-State is 36-1 (.973) in December at Bramlage Coliseum the past nine years (2002-10). Martin has posted a stellar 28-6 (.824) record in the month since 2007-08. Overall, the Wildcats have won 14 consecutive games at home venues, including 13 straight at Bramlage Coliseum. The current 13-game winning streak is the second-longest in the arena's history to the 14-game streak from Feb. 17, 2009 to Jan. 18, 2010.
K-State played consecutive overtime games on Dec. 4 and 8 for the first time in nearly 50 years, as the Wildcats lost in two overtimes to West Virginia, 85-80, on Dec. 8 at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita before coming home to knock off a pesky North Florida squad, 79-68, in single overtime on Dec. 11. It marked just the second time in school history that the team has played in back-to-back overtime games and the first time since they played in three consecutive from Feb. 3-15, 1964 (all on the road and all wins). The two-overtime loss to the Mountaineers was just the 13th in school history to go at least two overtimes, while it was the first since the Wildcats knocked off Xavier, 101-96, in two overtimes to advance to the Elite Eight on March 25, 2010. Overall, the squad is now 66-39 (.629) in overtime games, including 30-11 (.732) at home. The North Florida game was the first home non-conference regular-season overtime contest since a 69-67 victory over Tennessee State on Nov. 28, 2000.
UP NEXT: AT TEXAS TECH (7-10, 0-5 BIG 12)
Kansas State continues its road trip on Wednesday, Jan. 25 against Texas Tech (7-10, 0-5 Big 12) at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Wildcats have won four of the last five meetings with the Red Raiders, including a 94-60 win in Manhattan last season.