K-State begins homestand with Chicago State Monday

Game 20

Chicago State (8-15)
at Kansas State (13-6, 3-2 Big 12)

Monday, Jan. 22, 2007

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

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 7:07 p.m. Central

Series: First Meeting
(K-State is 12-2 all-time against Independents)

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

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 660, Dish Network 449

Talent: Ben Boyle (Play-by-Play) and

Stan Weber (Analyst)

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

Yahoo! Radio

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and

Matt Walters (Analyst)

 

K-State begins three-game homestand on Monday against Chicago State

Kansas State (13-6, 3-2 Big 12) steps out of conference play one last time, as the Wildcats play host to Chicago State (8-15) on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 7:07 p.m.  The team has won 28 of its last 36 games against non-conference opponents, including a 24-1 (.960) mark at home.  The Wildcats have won 17 consecutive games against non-league foes at home dating back to an 81-63 win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2004.  K-State, which has already posted 10 wins in non-conference play for just the third time in the last 10 years, will look to tally its most non-league wins (11) since the 1998-99 season.


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


Kansas
State broke a seven-game losing streak at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats ran their winning streak to three games with a 69-60 victory over Iowa State.  The team has now won six games away from Bramlage Coliseum and has four true’ road victories for the first time since the 1995-96 season.  Junior David Hoskins’ first career double-double paced three players in double figures against the Cyclones with 22 points and career-best 11 boards. 

 

A Quick Look at the Wildcats

Kansas State pushed its winning streak to three games on Saturday with a 69-60 win over Iowa State.  After trailing 3-2 with 18:15 remaining, the Wildcats took control and led the rest of the way in posting their first win in Ames since 1999.  The win also gave K-State six wins away from Manhattan and four true’ road wins for the first time since the 1995-96 season.  Junior guard David Hoskins continued to pace the team with his first career double-double with 22 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Iowa State.  Overall, the team is averaging 71.7 points on 42.8 percent shooting and has three players averaging in double figures led by Hoskins and senior forward Cartier Martin’s 14.4 points per game.

 

Projected Starters

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

3       Lance Harris (G, 6-5, 205, Sr.)                   11.0       3.8

5       Clent Stewart (G, 6-4, 190, Jr.)                    5.8       2.0

15      David Hoskins (F, 6-5, 230, Jr.)                 14.4       5.7

34      Akeem Wright (G, 6-6, 210, Sr.)                 7.1       6.1

50      Luis Colon (C, 6-10, 275, Fr.)                     2.8       2.0

 

Key Reserves

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

2       Blake Young (G, 6-2, 190, Jr.)                     6.3       2.1

14      Serge Afeli (F, 6-9, 235, Sr.)                      1.6        1.7

20      Cartier Martin (F, 6-7, 225, Sr.)                 14.4        4.1

23      Jermaine Maybank (G, 6-4, 180, Sr.)          2.4        2.1

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

55      Jason Bennett (C, 7-3, 255, Fr.)                 2.5        3.3

 

Noting the Iowa State game 

*With the win, Kansas State snapped a seven-game road losing streak to Iowa State and earned its first victory at Hilton Coliseum since a 67-62 win on Feb. 6, 1999... The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 126-76, over the Cyclones and evened their record in Ames to 45-45.

*Kansas State’s three-game Big 12 winning streak is the longest since the program beat Kansas, Texas A&M and Missouri in January 14-21 of 2006... The streak ties the 2005-06 squad for the longest since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, while it is the longest in league play for the Wildcats since winning five in a row in the Big Eight in the 1989-90 season... K-State has won two of its first three Big 12 road games for the first time since 1995-96.


*K-State posted just seven turnovers against Iowa State, which is the second-fewest this season, and fewest since having six against North Dakota State.


*Kansas State held Iowa State to just 16 first-half points... It is the fewest allowed to an opponent in a first half since Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored a Bramlage Coliseum-record low 10 points on Nov. 29, 2004... It was the fewest allowed a Big 12 opponent in a first half since Texas A&M scored 13 on Feb. 12, 2002... The Wildcats have held eight of their last 10 opponents under 70 points, while only three have connected on 45 percent or better from the field.


*Junior David Hoskins led three players in double figures with his 22-point effort... It marked his third 20-point performance of the season and his second in the past four games... He also collected his first career double-double with a career-high 11 rebounds... It marked the second straight season he posted a 20-point game at Iowa State... Hoskins has scored in double figures in 12 consecutive games dating back to the Cleveland State game on Dec. 5.


*Senior Lance Harris continued his impressive play of late with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting against Iowa State... He went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line... He has averaged 17.3 points during the three-game winning streak on 50 percent shooting.  Senior Cartier Martin came off the bench to score 17 points... He has come off the bench in four of the last five games... He has scored in double figures in each of the last three games.

 

Clutch Shooting

Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunites at the free throw in the past three games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 78.7 percent (70-of-89) 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 76.9 percent (30-of-39), 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 a Big 12-leading six victories away from Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since the 1995-96 season.  The team also has four true’ road wins - at Rutgers, North Dakota State, Missouri and Iowa State - already this season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Wildcats also captured five victories.  K-State also has won two of their first three conference road games for the first time since 1995-96.  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 (1,220) with his 15-point effort against Baylor on Jan. 17.  He now has 1,220 points after his 17-point effort against Iowa State on Saturday.  Harris now is tied for 30th all-time with 867 points in his four-year career after scoring 18 points against Iowa State and needs just 69 points to crack the school’s top 25.  Martin (129) and Harris (127) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals.  Hoskins already ranks 67th on the all-time scoring list with 640 points and can move into the top 50 with just 89 points.  It marks the first time since 1987-88 season (Mitch Richmond, Will Scott and Charles Bledsoe) that the Wildcats have had a 1,000-point scorer and a pair of 500-point scorers on the same team. 

   

It’s Hard to Project this Line-up 

In an effort to find the right combination, head coach Bob Huggins has started 11 different line-ups this season, including a different one in 10 of the last 13 contests.  He has used all types of positional line-ups from three guards (Stewart, Harris and Wright against North Dakota State on Dec. 9, Baylor on Jan. 17 and Iowa State on Jan. 20) 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 41 consecutive contests, including all 19 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 18.1 turnovers (217), including an average of 6.4 steals, in the last 12 games, while averaging 20.7 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 continued the trend in the next 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 16.4 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 16.5 points in the last 12 games on 50 percent shooting (58-of-116) with 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals.  His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 20 in four categories, including ninth in free throw percentage (78.0), 12th in scoring (14.4 ppg.) and 17th in rebounding (5.7 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is pacing the squad in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 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 was team’s leading scorer against Xavier with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting. 

 

After scoring 11 points against Texas A&M, Hoskins came through in a big way offensively against Texas Tech on Jan. 8.  He topped 20 points for the second time this season with 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes.  Hoskins broke out of his recent slump from the field against Iowa State to post his first career double-double, as he scored 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting with a career-high 11 rebounds in a season-high 36 minutes.  He has been impressive from the free throw line of late, connecting on 25-of-28 opportunities from the charity stripe in scoring 18 against Missouri and 13 against Baylor.

      

The Book on Chicago State

Chicago State enters Monday’s contest with an 8-15 overall record after earning an 82-72 win on the road at Western Illinois on Saturday night.  The Cougars have won three of their last four games after losing five in a row from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6.  The team has played 19 of their 22 games away from campus, including road tilts at Texas (92-66), Wichita State (76-64), Indiana (90-69), DePaul (83-56), California (75-51) and Michigan State (69-61).  CSU won just five of its first 16 games, but did record impressive road wins against St. Bonaventure (98-95), Texas-El Paso (86-82) and Cleveland State (82-77).    


The Cougars are averaging 72.2 points on 44 percent shooting with 32.1 rebounds and have a balanced scoring team with six players averaging in double figures.  The senior-laden squad is led by a junior -- guard David Holston -- who is averaging 16.9 points and has connected on a team-best 78 3-point field goals this season.  Senior guard Royce Parran averages 13.4 points on 37 3-pointers to go with a team-best 4.4 assists per game, while junior guard John Cantrell adds 11.8 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting.  Senior forward Kourtney Calvin averages 11.5 points on 51.5 percent shooting to go with a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game, while senior Cam-Ron Clay posts 10.9 points per game on a team-best 64.6 percent shooting.  


Chicago
State
is led by fourth-year head coach Kevin Jones, who has posted a 40-85 record during his tenure at the school as well as overall.  This will be his first meeting with both Kansas State and Bob Huggins in his career.

 

Series versus Chicago State

This will be the first meeting between Kansas State and Chicago State in their respective histories.  The Wildcats have posted a 12-2 record against independent squads in their history, including an 83-81 win over North Dakota State earlier this season on Dec. 9.  The program is 11-14 all-time against teams from the state of Illinois, including DePaul (3-2), Eastern Illinois (2-0), Illinois (2-8), Illinois State (1-0), Loyola-Chicago (2-4), Northwestern (1-2) and Western Illinois (1-0).  Head coach Bob Huggins has posted a 4-1 record in his career against Chicago State with three of those meetings happening during his tenure at Akron.  His Zips lost a 65-63 decision to the Cougars on Feb. 13, 1985, but rebounded to sweep a pair of games (61-56 on Jan. 25 and 78-58 on Feb. 20) during the 1987-88 season.  He faced the team twice at Cincinnati, winning 103-43 on Jan 19, 1993 and 103-49 on Jan. 5, 1994.


Non-Conference Play A Success

Even with one more game to play, Kansas State has already enjoyed another stellar non-conference season in 2006-07.  The Wildcats posted 10 wins during the non-conference portion of their schedule for the 17th time in their history and for the first time since the 2004-05 season.  The team also tallied 10 wins before January 1 for the first time since the 1998-99 season.  The program has now earned a winning record in non-conference play in 35 straight seasons dating back to the 1972-73 season and has totaled at least eight non-conference wins in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including each of the last five seasons.  K-State has won 28 of its last 36 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 24-1 (.960) mark at home.  A win against Chicago State on Monday night would give the Wildcats the most non-conference victories (11) since the 1998-99 season.      

     

Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 13-6 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 (28.6), fourth in field goal percentage defense (40.3) and fifth in rebounding (37.6).  The squad has been even more impressive in league play, where they rank first in 3-point percentage defense (25.3), fourth in field goal percentage defense (40.6) and fifth in both scoring defense (66.4) and rebounding margin (+1.6).  The team has held 16 of its 19 opponents to below 80 points, including eight of its last 10 under 70 points.  Only six opponents have shot better than 45 percent from the field.


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 12 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 64.3 points on 40.3 percent shooting (259-of-643), including just 23.4 percent (47-of-201) from 3-point range, during the stretch.  In addition, K-State has forced an average of 18.1 turnovers and tallied an average of 6.4 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.


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 five of six games this month, the team has still averaged averaged 74.3 points on 46.2 percent shooting (329-of-712) in the last 13 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 13 of their last 26 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 22.4 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 13 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 24.2 points off the bench and have outscored their opponent by a 314-209 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 four of the six 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 17-point effort against Iowa State on Jan. 20.  He is averaging 14.2 points off the bench. 

    

The 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 7.1 points on 41.7 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.6 steals in 25.2 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 seven games this season.  Wright has grabbed six or more rebounds in seven of the last eight games.  For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 11 contests. 

 

During the last 12 games, Wright has topped his season average six times with two double-digit efforts.  He played perhaps in his best game of his career against Texas A&M on Jan. 6, as he posted a career-high 18 points on 8-of-15 field goals to go with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a career-best three steals. 

   

Stewart Manning the Point

Junior guard Clent Stewart has been a steadying force for the Wildcats this season since emerging as the team’s primary point guard against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  During that span, Stewart has averaged 7.3 points on 45.0 percent shooting with 2.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 0.6 steals in 26.6 minutes per game in guiding the team to eight wins.  He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 10.0 points on 48.6 percent shooting (17-of-35), including 40 percent from 3-point range (6-of-15), with 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 29.4 minutes per game.  Stewart has scored in double figures in three of the last five 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 is now within 32 points of Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1979-82) for ninth place after scoring 17 against Iowa State.  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). 

 

Martin has scored in double figures 13 times in the last 17 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), UMES (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 11.0 points on 48.4 percent shooting, including a team-best 41.0 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.5 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (32) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.0), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in nine 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 (360), fifth in 3-point field goals (127) and 30th in scoring (867), while he is just outside the top 10 in both career games played (103) and minutes (2,201).

       

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 nine games, including 25 against Xavier on Jan. 3. 

 

He has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats this season after transferring from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College, where he was an honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06.  The Orlando, Fla., native is averaging 6.3 points, a team-best 2.5 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 21.5 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 16 games this year, while his 1.93 per game average ranks third 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: Nebraska (12-5, 1-2 Big 12)

Kansas State returns to Big 12 play this weekend, as the Wildcats play host to Nebraska (12-5, 1-2 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 5 p.m.  The Cornhuskers have won three of their last five contests heading into Wednesday’s game with Texas.  The team is coming off an impressive 71-50 win over Colorado on Saturday.  The team is averaging 71.7 points on 50.1 percent shooting with 29.1 rebounds and has a balanced scoring team with three players averaging in double figures.  Junior center Aleks Maric paces the squad in scoring (17.5 ppg.), rebounding (7.6 rpg.), field goal percentage (62.1) and blocked shots (1.3 bpg.).  Freshman guard Ryan Anderson and sophomore guard Jamel White average 11.6 and 10.3 points, respectively.