No. 11/13 K-State Travels To Iowa State Saturday

Sophomore Angel Rodriguez is averaging 12 points and 8.5 assists in the last two games.

Jan. 25, 2013

Game Notes  |  Live Audio  |  Live Stats  |  ESPN3  | 
Big 12 Network Clearance List

Game 19
11/13 Kansas State (15-3, 4-1 Big 12 at Iowa State (13-5, 3-2 Big 12)
Saturday, January 26, 2013 * 12:47 p.m. CT
Ames, Iowa * Hilton Coliseum (14,356)

Television: Big 12 Network (ESPN Full Court)
Mitch Holthus (play-by-play); Chris Piper (analyst)
Channels: KSHB (Kansas City), KSAS (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka)
Internet: and WatchESPN

Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 138/XM 194 (home broadcast)

Live Stats:
Live Audio: (free)
Twitter Updates:

vs. Big 12: K-State leads 440-450 (152-233 on the road)
vs. Iowa State: K-State leads 135-79 (50-45 on the road)
Last Meeting: Iowa State won 65-61 (2/25/2012)

11/13 Kansas State (15-3, 4-1 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 15-3 (1st season)  * Career Record: 328-158 (15th season)  * vs. Iowa State: 1-0

Iowa State (13-5, 3-2 Big 12)
Head coach: Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State ‘95)
School Record: 52-32 (3rd season)  * Career Record: 52-32 (3rd season)  * vs. K-State: 2-2

No. 11/13 Kansas State (15-3, 4-1 Big 12) returns to the road on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats travel to Ames, Iowa to face Iowa State (13-5, 3-2 Big 12) at Hilton Coliseum at 12:30 p.m.  The game will be broadcast on the Big 12 Network with Mitch Holthus (play-by-play) and Chris Piper (analyst) on the call. 

The team will attempt to rebound in one of the Big 12’s most hostile environments after seeing its season-long eight-game winning streak and 4-0 start to Big 12 play end in a 59-55 loss to No. 3/2 Kansas at home on Tuesday.  The setback not only ended the school’s longest winning streak since winning 10 in a row from Nov. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010, but also halted the Wildcats’ 12-game home winning streak and perfect 11-0 mark at Bramlage Coliseum this season. 

The Wildcats return to the road, where they have won six consecutive games, including five in a row in Big 12 play, dating back to last season.  The road winning streak is the longest since K-State rattled off six straight road wins (all in Big 12 play) from Jan. 16 to Feb. 23, 2010.  Saturday’s contest will be the team’s fourth true road game of the season after winning contests at George Washington (65-62) on Dec. 8, West Virginia (65-64) on Jan. 12 and TCU (67-54) on Jan. 16.  K-State has improved its play on the road in the Big 12, posting a 26-24 record over the past seven seasons (which began in 2006-07) after winning just 10 of 80 road games in the league’s first 10 years (1997-2006). 

Iowa State heads into Saturday’s game as the Big 12 leader in scoring offense (78.9 ppg.), 3-point field goals (9.0 per game), assists (16.4) and rebounding (41.2 rpg.), while K-State is second in scoring defense (57.4 ppg.) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.6) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (39.9).

Saturday’s contest will be the fifth of eight games on the Big 12 Network.  The league television package can be seen locally on KSHB-TV in Kansas City, KSAS-TV in Wichita and KSNT-TV in Topeka.  The game can also seen in the Big 12 region on KTXA-TV in Dallas, KTVI-TV in St. Louis, KOCB-TV in Oklahoma City, WOI-TV in Des Moines, KMYT-TV in Tulsa, KXVO-TV in Omaha, KUBE-TV in Houston and KCWX-TV in San Antonio.  All games on the Big 12 Network can be found on ESPN Full Court as well as

K-State is ranked in both major polls, jumping five spots in The Associated Press Top 25 poll to No. 11 and moving five spots in the USA Today Coaches poll to No. 13 on Monday.  It marks the fifth straight week that the Wildcats have been ranked in the AP poll, while the No. 11 ranking is the highest in the AP poll since also placing 11th on Dec. 20, 2010. 

Iowa State (13-5, 3-2 Big 12) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday, as the Cyclones dropped a road contest at Texas Tech, 56-51.  The squad is a perfect 10-0 at home this season, including victories over BYU, Texas and West Virginia, while just 2-4 away from Hilton Coliseum.  The Cyclones are averaging a Big 12-best 78.9 points on 44.9 percent shooting, including 35.3 percent from 3-point range, while holding foes to 66.8 points on 40.4 percent shooting, including 30 percent from beyond the arc.  One of the more balanced teams in the country, Iowa State has five players averaging in double figures led by senior transfer Will?Clyburn (13.9 ppg.).  Senior Tyrus McGee is one of the Big 12’s top reserves at 12.7 points per game and 2.7 treys per outing, while junior Melvin Ejim is the league’s best rebounder at 9.5 per games to go with 10.8 points per game.  Head coach Fred Hoiberg has a 52-32 (.619) mark since returning to his alma mater in 2010 and is 2-2 all-time against K-State.  

Senior Scott Christopherson registered a game-high 29 points, as Iowa State knocked down 11 3-pointers to complete a season sweep of Kansas State with a 65-61 win at Bramlage Coliseum in the team’s last meeting on Feb. 25, 2012.  The Wildcats, who went just 3-of-17 from long range, was led by Jordan Henriquez’s double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, while fellow junior Rodney McGruder had 13 points and freshman Angel Rodriguez added 11 points and a season-high eight assists. 

This will be the 215th meeting between K-State and Iowa State with the Wildcats holding a 135-79 edge in a series that dates back to 1909.  K-State is 50-45 all-time in games played in Ames, including a 19-22 mark at Hilton Coliseum.  The series is a tight one since the start of the Big 12 with the Wildcats holding a 17-16 edge, including 6-10 in Ames.  The Cyclones swept the season series for the first time since 2004 last season with a 72-70 win at home on Jan. 31 and a 65-61 victory in Manhattan on Feb. 25. 

--Kansas State’s 15-3 start ties the 1947-48 team for the seventh-best start in school history and the best since the 2009-10 team produced a 16-2 start after 18 games.  The 1918-19, 1957-58 and 1958-59 teams all posted the best start after 18 games (17-1), while the 1950-51, 1961-62 and 2009-10 squads were just one game back at 16-2.  The 4-1 start to Big 12 play is the second-best since the league’s inception in 1997 and the best since the 2007-08 team won its first five conference contests.  The Wildcats saw its season-best eight-game winning streak end at No. 3/2 Kansas on Tuesday, which was the longest winning streak since the team won 10 in a row from Nov. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010.  The team’s three losses are to Top 10 teams in No. 2/3 Michigan, No. 3/2 Kansas and No. 10/10 Gonzaga (all current rankings).  The team faced three Top 15 teams (No. 4 Michigan, No. 14 Gonzaga and No. 8 Florida) in non-conference play for the first time in school history.  K-State posted double-digit non-conference games for the seventh straight season, including its first regular-season Top 10 non-conference win (No. 8 Florida) since 1981.

--Bruce Weber’s 15-3 record is the second-best start by a first-year K-State head coach in the program’s 109-year history with only Zora Clevenger (15-2, 1916-17) posting a better mark.  The best campaign by a first-year head coach in school history is still held by Clevenger, who led the Wildcats to a 15-2 (.882) mark in his inaugural season in 1916-17.  The eight-game winning streak was the second-longest by a first-year head coach in school history and the longest since Clevenger’s 1916-17 squad ended the year with 13 consecutive wins from Jan. 25 to March 6, 1917.  Clevenger made most of his impact on the gridiron, where he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was the founder of the East-West Shrine game.

--K-State is having a stellar start to the 2012-13 athletics season, as the Wildcats have one of the best records among BCS schools when combining football and men’s and women’s basketball.  As of Thursday, the school’s 38 wins tie for ninth nationally and its .760 winning percentage (38-12) places 13th.  K-State is one of 16 BCS schools (along with the Big 12’s Baylor and Oklahoma) with 35+ combined wins among its three major sports.  The football team produced its second regular-season 11-win season and advanced to a BCS game (Fiesta Bowl) for the first time in eight years, while the women’s basketball team (12-7) has won back-to-back games, including a 76-70 overtime win over No. 12/11 Oklahoma State.  If you take into account the success of the volleyball team, which won 20 matches and advanced to NCAA?Tournament, the Wildcats are 59-21 (.738) since August 24.  

--Eleven of the 18 games have been at home (including a home game vs. No. 8/9 Florida in Kansas City’s Sprint Center), where the Wildcats saw its 12-game overall winning streak (including 11-game streak at Bramlage Coliseum) end in Tuesday’s 59-55 loss to No. 3/2 Kansas.  The 11-game winning streak tied three other teams for the fourth-longest (Feb. 23, 2005 to Jan. 11, 2006; Dec. 9, 2007 to Feb. 25, 2008; March 4, 2008 to Jan. 10, 2009) in the arena’s 25-year history, including the longest since K-State rattled off 14 consecutive wins (ties for the longest) from Jan. 15, 2011 to Jan. 7, 2012. 

--K-State received its first national ranking of the season on Dec. 24, appearing at No. 25 in The Associated Press Top 25 with 152 points, and jumped five spots to No. 11 (with 927 points) in the latest poll on Jan. 21.  The No. 11 ranking is the highest since also checking in at No. 11 on Dec. 20, 2010.  In addition, the squad moved to No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches poll after placing at No. 18 on Jan. 14.  K-State has now been ranked in the AP?poll at least one week in each of the last four seasons, a feat which has not happened since doing it six consecutive seasons from 1972-78.  The Wildcats have a 244-92 (.726) all-time record as a ranked team since first being ranked in 1949-50, including a 4-3 (.571) mark as the No. 11 team in The Associated Press poll.

--K-State ranks in the Top 55 in eight categories nationally, including seventh in 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.4), 17th in offensive rebounds (14.9), 24th in assists (16.1), 29th in rebounding margin (+6.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and 35th in scoring (+12.0) and 51st in rebounding (38.9).  Will Spradling ranks 14th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0).  The Wildcats rank in the Top 5 in 18 of 21 Big 12 categories, including first in assist-to-turnover ratio, turnover margin and rebounding defense and second in scoring defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, assists and offensive rebounds.  In Big 12-only games, the squad ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (37.6) and second in field goal percentage (44.5), turnover margin (+3.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5), while is in the Top 5 in 13 of 21 conference-only statistics.

--K-State is 3-0 in true road games this season after winning contests at George Washington (65-62) on Dec. 8, West Virginia (65-64) on Jan. 12 and TCU (67-54) on Jan. 16.  The squad has won six consecutive road games, including five in a row in Big 12 play, dating back to last season, which is the longest since K-State rattled off six straight road wins (all in Big 12 play) from Jan. 16 to Feb. 23, 2010.  The Wildcats have improved their play on the road in the Big 12, posting a 26-24 record over the past seven seasons (which began in 2006-07) after winning just 10 of 80 road games in the league’s first 10 years (1997-2006).
--The Wildcats have been one of the best first-half defensive teams, holding its 18 opponents to just 25 points on 37.9 percent shooting, including 27.2 percent from 3-point range.  It has held four opponents to 20 points or less in the first half.  In contrast, the squad is allowing 32.4 points in the second half on 41.9 percent shooting, including 27.9 percent from beyond the arc.  
--The Jan. 19 meeting with Oklahoma marked the 10th time K-State has faced a former head coach (Tex Winter, Lon Kruger and Bob Huggins) with the Wildcats winning for just the third time (including the second time this season) in those occurrences.  Prior to wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma, the last win over a former coach came in a 95-80 win over a Kruger-coached UNLV squad on Dec. 12, 2009.  The team will play at least two more such games (at Oklahoma on Feb. 2 and West Virginia at home on Feb. 18) this season.  K-State lost twice to Winter (Washington in 1971 and Long Beach State in 1978), while the Wildcats are now 3-4 against Kruger in his stops at Texas-Pan American (1986), Illinois (1999), UNLV (2009, 2010) and Oklahoma (2012, 2013) and 1-1 against Huggins at West Virginia (2011, 2013).  Interestingly enough, the Wildcats are 6-0 against head coaches prior to them coming to K-State.  The school went 1-0 against Winter at Marquette (1953), 3-0 against Jack Hartman at Southern Illinois (1964, 1968 and 1969), 1-0 against Kruger at Texas-Pan American (1986) and 1-0 against Huggins at Akron (1988).  

--The 67-61 win over No. 8/9 Florida in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic on Dec. 22 was the first regular-season, non-conference Top 10 victory since knocking off No. 8 Minnesota at home, 62-52, on Dec. 21, 1981.  Overall, it was just the 12th non-conference Top 10 win in school history (and the first since defeating No. 3 Purdue, 73-70, and then assistant coach Bruce Weber on March 25, 1988 in the NCAA Tournament), including the seventh in the regular season. 

--K-State had a tremendous semester in the classroom, as the team had a cumulative 2.839 GPA (the highest in 12 years) during the Fall 2012 semester.  A program-best eight players - Adrian Diaz, Rodney McGruder, Angel Rodriguez, Brian Rohleder, Ryan Schultz, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Nino Williams - were named to the Fall Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll on Jan. 9.  Rohleder was one of 31 student-athletes to post a perfect 4.0 GPA during the semester.

K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with seven players averaging five or more points, including just one in double figures, and six averaging three or more rebounds per game.  Senior Rodney McGruder (15.4 ppg.) is the only Wildcat to average in double figures (ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring), while five others - Angel Rodriguez (9.4 ppg.), Will Spradling (8.2 ppg.), Shane Southwell (8.1 ppg.) and Thomas Gipson (6.9 ppg.) - are averaging better than six points per contest.  The team has seen nine players collect 48 double-digit scoring games with McGruder (14) leading the way, while the squad has seven players with 35 or more field goals made with McGruder’s 108 makes tops in the Big 12.  Only West Virginia (10) has more players with double-digit scoring efforts in the Big 12 (Baylor and TCU also have nine different players with 10+ points), while K-State and Iowa State are the only league schools with seven players with 35 or more made field goals. 

In all, the Wildcats have had six players lead or share the lead in scoring led by McGruder (nine). Gipson (5.8 rpg.) paces the squad in rebounding despite leading in a game just four times, while McGruder (5.1 rpg.), Jordan Henriquez (4.8 rpg.) and Nino Williams (4.4 rpg.) are averaging better than four rebounds per game.  The team has had eight players either lead or share the lead in rebounding with Gipson leading four times and Henriquez, McGruder, Southwell and Williams doing it three times each.

The Wildcats have also been diverse in other categories, including seven players with double-digit assists and double-digit steals.  Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 77 assists (18 in the last two games) with six players either leading or sharing the lead in assists.  Rodriguez also has a team-best 20 steals, while eight have either led or shared the lead in steals.  Four players -- McGruder (31.8 mpg.), Spradling (30.4), Rodriguez (24.4) and Southwell (22.1) -- are each averaging more than 20 minutes, while seven others are averaging 10+ minutes.  Seven players have at least one start with only McGruder and Spradling starting all 18.

K-State has continued to be one of the best defensive teams not only in the Big 12, but nationally, where the squad entered the week ranking seventh nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.6), 16th in scoring defense (57.4), 29th in rebounding margin (+6.1), 35th in rebounding (38.3) and 54th in field goal percentage defense (39.9).  In all, the Wildcats rank either first or second in five Big 12 defensive categories, including first in turnover margin and rebounding defense and second in scoring defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin.  The team is fourth in field goal percentage defense.

The 1,033 points surrendered through the first 18 games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 973 points (54.1 ppg.) through the first 18 games.  The team has held 14 of its 18 opponents to 65 points or less, including eight to 55 points or less, while seven have been held to under 40 percent shooting and four to under 20 percent shooting from 3-point range.  The defensive effort was nearly historic in the 87-26 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, as the 26 points allowed were one shy of the Bramlage Coliseum record of 25 set against Savannah State on Jan. 7, 2008.  The Chargers’ 16.4 field goal percentage (9-of-55) was only surpassed by Savannah State’s 15.5 percentage.

A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams were their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes and Bruce Weber has continued that legacy.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 294-196 (an average of 16.3 points per game), through the first 18 games in points off of turnovers.  The squad has posted 10 or more points off of miscues in 15 of 18 games, including 20 or more points on four occasions, with a season-best 34 vs. Lamar on Nov. 12.  The team has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games (out-scoring TCU and Oklahoma, 46-12).  They are 12-1 when scoring more points off of turnovers. 

K-State is forcing its opponents into 14.8 turnovers per game (third-most in the Big 12), including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while turning the ball over an average of 12.2 times per game (lowest in the Big 12).  The 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 29th and first in the Big 12 with Will Spradling and Angel Rodriguez boasting the league’s top-2 assist-to-turnover ratios with Spradling ranking 14th nationally.  In Martin’s five seasons, the Wildcats averaged 18.2 points per game off of turnovers.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in that period came off of offense generated from miscues.  The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons, including 577 (17.5 average per game) in 2011-12.

K-State continues to be one of the best rebounding squads in the country, as the Wildcats tie for 45th nationally in rebounding (38.3), including 17th in offensive rebounds (14.7), and 29th in rebounding margin (+6.1).  The team ranks second in the Big 12 in rebounding margin and sixth in rebounding, while they rank second in offensive rebounds to West Virginia (15.4). 

Overall, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their foes by a 690-581 margin, including 264-191 on the offensive end.  The squad is 14-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.  K-State has at least 10 offensive rebounds in 16 of 18 games, including 20 or more on three occasions, with a season-high 29 against North Florida on Nov. 18.  Sophomore Thomas Gipson (5.8 rpg.) ranks 13th in the league in overall rebounding, while he is third (2.8) in offensive rebounds (2.8).  The team has collected 40+ rebounds in seven games, including a season-best 55 vs. UAH on Nov. 13.  The Wildcats grabbed 42 defensive rebounds vs. UAH, which ties for the second-most in school history and are the most since 1998.   

The Wildcats have taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 28.6 points in the paint and 14.0 points off of second-chance opportunities.  The team has at least 30 points in the paint in nine games, including a season-high 46 vs. Texas Southern on Dec. 18, while it has tallied at least 14 second-chance points nine times with a season-best 23 vs. USC Upstate.

Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production it’s getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 21.7 points, including a 391-280 edge over opponents.  The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in 10 of 18 games, including a season-high 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9. 

Reserves have scored nearly half of the team’s points four times with Thomas Gipson tying for the scoring lead against North Dakota and Delaware and Shane Southwell leading the way with a career-best 16 points vs. Alabama-Huntsville.  Nino Williams posted a career-high 17 points off the bench in the win over No. 22/21 Oklahoma State.  The rebounding leader has come from the bench in eight games with D.J. Johnson posting a team-high vs. North Dakota (9) and Lamar (8), Southwell recording a career-high nine boards vs. UAH, Adrian Diaz grabbing a career-best 10 vs. North Florida, Gipson tying Will Spradling for the rebounding lead (6) vs. Delaware, Williams snagging seven boards vs. No. 8/9 Florida and Jordan Henriquez posting the team-high against West Virginia and TCU.  Over 40 percent (287) of the team’s rebounding total and nearly 35 percent (401) of the scoring total has come from the bench.

Although K-State ranks 35th nationally in scoring margin (+12.0), the Wildcats have experience with close games this season, posting an 8-1 record in games decided by 10 points or less and a 5-1 mark in games decided by six points or less, including three of its four Big 12 wins.  The Wildcats have knocked down 68.1 percent (62-of-91) from the free throw line in the last five minutes of games, including 69.8 percent (44-of-63) in the last five minutes of these eight close games. 

Junior Will Spradling, who went 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware (66-63), George Washington (65-62) and Texas Southern (78-69), paces the team in both free throws (19) and free throw attempts (24) in the last five minutes of games.  Junior Omari Lawrence (6-of-6), senior Rodney McGruder (10-of-12), junior Shane Southwell (8-of-10) and sophomore Angel Rodriguez (9-of-12) have all been solid in the last five minutes of games.  In the 65-64 win over West Virginia on Jan. 12, Southwell knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds and also blocked the game-winning shot with just one second left.   

K-State is starting to find more of an offensive rhythm from the 3-point range, where the Wildcats rank first in 3-point field goal percentage (41-of-109, 37.6) and second in 3-point field goals made (8.2) after five Big 12 games.  The team combined to knock down just 34.2 percent (13-of-38) from beyond the arc against Oklahoma State and West Virginia in its first two league games, but have rebounded to shoot 39.4 percent (28-of-71) in its last three outings, including 30 attempts against Kansas (which is third-most in school history).  Rodney McGruder ranks first in Big 12 games in 3-point field goals (3.6) and is third in 3-point field goal percentage (45.0), while Shane Southwell is second in both makes (2.2) and percentage (50.0) in league-only games.

K-State has been solid protecting the ball this season, as the squad ranks first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and turnover margin (+2.6).  Thus far, the Wildcats have produced 12.2 turnovers per game (ties for lowest average in Big 12), while forcing its foes into an average of 14.8 turnovers (third-most in the Big 12).  The team has 14 or fewer miscues in 12 games,while they have forced their foes into 19 or more turnovers four times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar on Nov. 12. 

Seven Wildcats have posted an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season, including its four primary ball-handlers (Angel Rodriguez, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling) combining for 209 assists to 92 turnovers (2.27 ratio).  The current ratio for the quartet is a solid improvement after posting a 1.4 ratio (302 assists to 211 turnovers) as a group in 2011-12.  Spradling (2.9) and Rodriguez (2.3) rank first and second, respectively, in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio, while Spradling places 14th nationally.  Spradling, who has 56 assists to just 19 turnovers, led the team with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, while Rodriguez has made a notable improvement (77 assists to 34 turnovers) in the area after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman.  Irving has also nearly doubled his ratio (2.4 from 1.5) with 40 assists to 17 turnovers, while Southwell has a solid 1.6 ratio (36 assists to 22 turnovers) after posting the same 1.6 ratio last year.

Senior Rodney McGruder (1,306 points & 558 rebounds) became just the 11th player in K-State history to crack the 1,300-point plateau against Kansas, while also passing Ed Nealy (1,304 points) into the school’s all-time Top 10 scoring list.  He is now one of just six players in school history with at least 1,300 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining Rolando Blackman (1,844 points & 607 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points & 824 rebounds), Cartier Martin (1,546 points & 546 rebounds), Ed Nealy (1,304 points & 1,069 rebounds).  He ranks in the Top 10 of 10 other career categories, including consecutive starts (85, 3rd), 3-point field goals (166, 5th), 3-point field goal percentage (39%, 6th), 3-point field goals attempted (426, 6th), minutes (3,110, 6th), starts (85, 8th), consecutive games (94, 9th), field goals (472, 9th), double-digit scoring games (71, 9th) and games (118, 10th).  He is just outside the career Top 10 in steals (92). 

He ranks first in scoring in Big 12-only games (19.8 ppg.) and is third in overall scoring (15.4 ppg.), while he leads the team in scoring, field goals (108) and double-digit scoring games (14).  He ranks in the Top 20 in five Big 12 categories, including scoring (3rd), field goal percentage (4th), minutes (8th), 3-point field goal percentage (9th) and 3-point field goals (9th).  In addition to being first in scoring in league-only games, he is first in 3-point field goals (3.6) and third in field goal percentage (50.0) and 3-point field goal percentage (45.0)

Senior Rodney McGruder earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in seven weeks on Monday after helping K-State run its winning streak to eight games last week.  McGruder’s four Big 12 Player of the Week awards break his tie with Michael Beasley (three, 2007-08) for the most by a Wildcat in a single-season, while McGruder’s five overall weekly awards are the most-ever by a K-State player in the Big 12 era.  He first won the weekly honor as a junior on Dec. 26, 2011 then this season on Dec. 10 and 24, 2012 and again on Jan. 7. 

McGruder posted back-to-back 20-point outings for the first time this season, as he averaged a team-best 20.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting (15-of-27), including 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from 3-point range, with 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 36 minutes per game in wins over TCU and Oklahoma.  He has now scored in double figures in eight consecutive games with an average of 19.5 points per game.  McGruder opened the week with a 21-point effort in a road win at TCU, as he knocked down 9-of-15 field goals, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, with five rebounds, three assists and one steal in 32 minutes.  He followed with his fifth 20-point outing of the season in a win over Oklahoma, as he went 6-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, with three assists and one steal in playing all 40 minutes.  It was his 17th and 18th 20-point games of his career with the Wildcats posting an impressive 16-2 mark in those contests.

Junior Shane Southwell has made quite the jump in his productivity in year three, as he averages 8.1 points on 50.5 percent shooting, including 47.7 percent from 3-point range, with 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 22.1 minutes per game with nine starts in 16 games played.  That production has been even more of factor during the team’s last nine games (of which the team is 8-1), as he is averaging 9.6 points on 47.8 percent shooting, including 45.2 percent from 3-point range, with 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27.2 minutes per game in nine starts.  Southwell had a huge game in the win against West Virginia on Jan. 12, as he knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds to give the Wildcats the lead then blocked the game-winning shot with just one second remaining.  After 12-point effort vs. Oklahoma, he posted a career night against Kansas with a career-best 19 points to give him double-digit points for the ninth time in his career (8 K-State wins), including the fifth time this season.  He entered the 2012-13 campaign averaging just 2.5 points on 36.1 percent shooting, including 25 percent from 3-point range, with 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 14.8 minutes per game with 62 games played and 19 starts during his two-year career.  

Despite missing the last two non-conference games, sophomore Angel Rodriguez has continued his improvement from his freshman season in 2012-13, as he ranks first or second on the squad in six categories, including first in assists (77) and steals (21) and second in scoring (9.4 ppg.) and double-figure scoring games (9).  He has helped the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio and turnover margin and second in assists, while he places in the league’s Top 15 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3, 2nd), assists (4.8, 5th), steals (1.3, 10th) and 3-point field goals (1.3, 15th).  He has scored in double figures nine times, including a career-best 19 points vs. Lamar to go with game-highs at George Washington (17) and Gonzaga (14).  He nearly tallied his first career double-double in the win over Oklahoma with 12 points and a career-high nine assists before registering 12 points and a game-high eight assists against Kansas on Tuesday.  He was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games in New York, as the team finished in second place.

Junior Will Spradling has been a model of consistency from the free throw line, knocking down 33-of-38 opportunities, including  going 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware, George Washington and Texas Southern.  His effort has raised his career free throw percentage to 82.9 (160-of-193), which is the second-highest in school history behind Steve Henson (90.0; 361-of-401; 1986-90).  Spradling has not only been stellar on the free throw line, but he ranks 14th nationally and first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0).  He also places ninth in the Big 12 in assists (3.1 apg.).  He ranks second on the team in 3-point field goals (26) and assists (56) and third in scoring (8.2 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (8) and steals (17), which includes a season-high 17 points in the win over No. 8/9 Florida on Dec. 22.  After combining for just three points on 11.1 percent shooting (1-of-9), including 0-of-6 from 3-point range, in the first two Big 12 games, he has 21 points (10.5 ppg.) on 58.3 percent shooting (7-of-12), including 55.6 percent (5-of-9 ) from beyond the arc, in games against TCU and Oklahoma.

After playing in just 15 games his first season (including a medical redshirt in 2010-11), sophomore Nino Williams is starting to emerge as an impact player for K-State.  He has played in 17 of 18 games with the third-most starts (11), averaging 5.8 points on 44.2 percent shooting (42-of-95) with 4.4 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game.  He is fifth in field goals (42) and rebounding (4.4 rpg.), while he is one of seven players to average more than four points per game.  He had career week in wins against South Dakota and No. 22/21 Oklahoma State, in which, he averaged 16.5 points on 66.7 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.  He opened the week with a career-best 16 points vs. South Dakota on 7-of-10 field goals before eclipsing that mark with 17 points off the bench against OSU on 7-of-11 field goals.  If you include the Kansas City game, he averaged 13.7 points on 51.5 percent shooting with 8.3 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game in a three-game period from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.

Sophomore Thomas Gipson is starting to emerge as the Wildcats’ go-to player in the post, averaging 6.4 points on 49.1 percent shooting (27-of-55) with 5.7 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game in his last 12 starts.  After a poor game against No. 14/14 Gonzaga on Dec. 15, he rebounded to collect arguably his best all-around game of the season vs. Texas Southern on Dec. 18 with a season-high 14 points on 5-of-7 field goals to go with 12 rebounds and career-bests in blocks (4) and steals (3) in 26 minutes.  It marked his fourth career double-double, but the first of the season.  The 12-rebound effort tied his season-high that he also had against George Washington on Dec. 8.  The leader in rebounds at 5.9 per game, he ranks 13th in the Big 12 in overall rebounds, while his third in offensive rebounds at 2.8 per game.  He had a career-best seven offensive boards vs. Texas Southern.

Senior Rodney McGruder was selected as a preseason candidate for two of the most prestigious awards in college basketball, as he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award on Nov. 8 before he was selected to the early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy on Nov. 12.  The preseason lists, which reflects the early frontrunners for two of college basketball’s Premier Player of the Year awards, is based on last year’s individual performance.  McGruder becomes the first Wildcat named to the preseason list for both awards since Jacob Pullen was selected in 2010.  He was one of six Big 12 players selected to the Wooden list, which includes Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Kansas’ Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey and OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash, while he was one of five on the Naismith list, including Jackson, Withey, Kansas’ Ben McLemore and OSU’s Marcus Smart.

Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team released by the conference office on Oct. 4.  McGruder, who was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2011-12, was one of three unanimous picks by the league’s head coaches, joining Kansas’ Jeff Withey and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash.  The final two spots on the team went to Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Texas’ Myck Kabongo.  McGruder is the first Wildcat named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team since Jacob Pullen was named to the squad along with garnering Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2010-11.  It marks just the third time that a Wildcat (Manny Dies in 1998-99, Pullen and Curtis Kelly in 2010-11) has been selected to the preseason team. 

K-State got a jump start on its preparations for the 2012-13 men’s basketball season with its 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 8-17, 2012.  The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this was the first by the program since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2004.  Overall, it was the program’s fourth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981 and Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993.  K-State played four games during the trip, posting a 2-2 record as the squad had to adjust to international rules (four, eight-minute quarters among other differences with NCAA rules).  The Wildcats averaged 70 points on 41.9 percent shooting (99-of-236), including 31.4 percent (22-of-70) from the 3-point range, while connecting on 75.9 percent (60-of-79) from the free throw line.  The team averaged 37.5 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 17.5 turnovers, 4.8 blocks and 9.8 blocks per game.

Sophomore Angel Rodriguez paced all scorers in Brazil with a 10.3 points per game average on 40 percent shooting, including 35.7 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.  Three others - Nino Williams, Rodney McGruder and Adrian Diaz - all averaged 9.0 points per game, while junior Will Spradling and senior Jordan Henriquez added 8.5 points and 7.3 points per game averages.  Williams led the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg.), 3-point field goal percentage (40.0) and free throw percentage (83.3), while Diaz was tops in field goals (14), field goal percentage (58.3) and blocks (2.5 bpg.).  Freshman D.J. Johnson was second in rebounding (5.3 rpg.), while Diaz and Henriquez were third (4.8 rpg.).

UP NEXT: TEXAS (8-10, 0-5 BIG 12)
K-State returns home to Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday, as the squad plays host to Texas (8-10, 0-5 Big 12) at 8 p.m. on?ESPN2.