Cats Tangle with Tigers Wednesday

Game Information
Kansas State (12-7, 1-4 Big 12) vs.
rv/rv Missouri (17-3, 4-1 Big 12)

Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)
Capacity: 12,528

Series: K-State leads 114-113 (K-State is 58-44 at home)

Television: FOX Sports Kansas City/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360.com
Ben Boyle (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Max Leinwand (producer)
Satellite Channels: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 450

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

Tickets: 500 tickets from student allotment went on sale Monday for $20 each at Athletics Ticket Office, by calling 1.800.221.CATS on online at www.k-statesports.com.

Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 12-7 (1-4 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 33-19/1
School Record: 33-19/1
vs. Missouri: 1-1
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Jan. 24, 2009
Defeated Colorado, 77-75, in OT
SID: Tom Gilbert
Website: www.k-statesports.com

Missouri Tigers
Record: 17-3 (4-1 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): rv/rv
Coach: Mike Anderson
Alma Mater: Tulsa, 82
Career Record: 140-72/6
School Record: 51-31/3
vs. Kansas State: 1-3
07-08 Record: 16-16 (6-10 Big 12)
Last game: Jan. 24, 2009
Defeated Texas Tech, 97-86
SID: Dave Reiter
Website: www.mutigers.com

Projected Starters
Kansas State (12-7, 1-4 Big 12)
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)
G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)
F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6-5, 210, So.)
F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)
F - #15 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)

Missouri (17-3, 4-1 Big 12)
G - #4 J.T. Tiller (6-3, 200, Jr.)
G - #11 Zaire Taylor (6-4, 189, Jr.)
G - #24 Kim English (6-6, 200, So.)
F - #1 DeMarre Carroll (6-8, 225, Sr.)
F - #15 Keith Ramsey (6-9, 210, Jr.)

Game Preview
Kansas State (12-7, 1-4 Big 12) looks to continue its momentum on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats run home to face upstart Missouri (17-3, 4-1 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum at 8:10 p.m.  K-State is 10-2 at home this season, but has dropped consecutive Big 12 home games in the month of January for the first time since 2001.  The Wildcats have won six of the last eight meetings against the Tigers, including four in a row at home.  The four-game winning streak at home is the longest since K-State won 10 straight from 1966-75.  Last year, the teams split their two meetings with the Tigers winning 77-74 at home on Feb. 2 (halting the K-State’s 5-0 start to league play) and the Wildcats posting a 100-63 win at home on Feb. 16.   

Kansas State snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday, as the Wildcats held off a late Colorado rally to post a 77-75 victory in overtime at the Coors Events Center.  It was the team’s first overtime game of the season and the first since dropping an 80-77 decision to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2007.  K-State posted Big 12 highs for points, field goals (26), field goal percentage (46.4), assists (17) and free throws (18) and free throw attempted (28).  The team is 11-1 when posting a positive assist/turnover ratio this season.  The Wildcats extended their winning streak over Colorado to six games, including three in a row in Boulder for the first time since 1987-89.  

Sophomore Jacob Pullen led four Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 17 points, while backcourt mate Denis Clemente added 15 points and a team-best seven assists.  It marked the seventh time this season that the duo has posted double figures in the same game, including the first time since Wagner on Dec. 30, 2008.  The Wildcats are 7-0 are those contests.  Pullen has paced the squad in scoring in six games and registered double-figure scoring in a team-best 12 contests.  Clemente has scored in double figures 11 times, including four of the five Big 12 contests.  Senior Darren Kent posted 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while junior Luis Colon totaled 10 points on 4-of-5 field goals and four rebounds.   Kent has scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time in his career. 

K-State remains the definition of balance with seven different leading scorers, nine different assist leaders and seven different rebounding leaders.  Right now, five players are averaging eight or more points, while five players are averaging four or more rebounds.  There have been 66 double-digit scoring games by 10 players.  Of the 10 players, six have registered double figures seven or more times.   

Despite their difficulties in Big 12 play, the Wildcats have still been a solid team defensively this season.  The squad is allowing just 64.9 points on 41.4 percent shooting, including 34.4 percent from 3-point range.  Since holding No. 5 Oklahoma to 20 points under its  season average on 41.4 percent shooting, the team has allowed 79.5 points on 54.8 percent shooting in its last four games.

The contest against Missouri will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City (DirecTV 672 and Dish Network 450) with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action.  Fans will also be able to watch the contest on the ESPN Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com  For more information on the ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com, fans should consult ESPN’s website at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/. It will be the eighth of 10 appearances on the FSN Kansas City this season.

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

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

Digging Out
K-State is attempting to dig itself out of a 1-4 start to league play for the fifth time in the Big 12 era.  In those previous four seasons, the Wildcats have rebounded to win six or more conference games three times, including a 6-10 mark in its last occurrence back in 2003-04.  The team’s best finish after starting conference play 1-4 came in 1998-99 when the squad finished Big 12 play with a 7-9 mark and a trip to the Postseason NIT.  The squad continues to face one of the most difficult January schedules with games against six of the top seven teams, including each of the top 5.

Cats in January
Kansas State is 361-303 (.543) all-time in the month of January, including wins in 15 of its last 22 games dating back to 2007.  The Wildcats saw their 14-game winning streak in January, including a nine-game homecourt winning streak, end with their 61-53 loss to No. 6 Oklahoma on Jan. 10.  It was the first loss in the month since a 62-52 loss to Texas Tech on Jan. 8, 2007.  The team has not lost three Big 12 games in a row at home in the month since 1997.  Last season, the Wildcats posted their seventh perfect mark in the month of January and first since 1970 by turning in a 6-0 mark.  

Still Solid on Offense
Despite its struggles in Big 12 play, K-State is still averaging nearly 77 points points per game.  The team has scored 70 or more points in 14 of 19 games, including 80 or more points eight times.  The squad has posted three games of 90 or more points, including a 107-point output against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, which ranks as the most in a non-conference game since 1994 and the highest point total since the Wildcats scored 111 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998.  The three 90-point games are the most since the 1997-98 season. 

The 1,458 points are the fourth-most through 19 games in school history, trailing just the 1986-87 (1,560), 1952-53 (1,526) and 1997-98 (1,501) squads and ahead of the 1976-77 (1,404) team.  This year’s edition is the fourth fastest team in school history to collect 1,000 points in a season.  The Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in eight of their first 19 games for the third time in its history.

Since Frank Martin’s arrival in 2007, K-State has shown the ability to score points, totaling two of the most prolific scoring teams in school history.  Last year, the Wildcats set the school mark with 2,574 points, while also posting the second-most field goals attempted (2,067) and the third-most field goals (916) and 3-point field goals made (210) as well as the third-highest scoring average (78.0).  

A Work in Progress
K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 19 opponents thus far to an average of 64.9 points per game.  The Wildcats have held 13 foes to less than 70 points, including eight to 60 points or less.  The 1,233 points yielded are the second-fewest through 19 games in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1998-99 team allowed just 1,189 points.  This year, 10 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while eight have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range.  Prior to allowing 87 points at Kansas, the team had held the previous seven foes to just 56.1 points.     

Diverse Offense
Unlike last season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team has shown a lot more diversity with its scoring output thus far.  

Through 19 games, all 12 players have totaled double-digit points with seven scoring in triple digits.  Two players - sophomore Jacob Pullen and junior Denis Clemente - are averaging in double figures led by Pullen’s 13.6 points per game.  Six players are averaging seven or more points, including redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (9.2 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (9.0 ppg.) and senior Darren Kent (8.9 ppg.) and sophomore Dominique Sutton (7.9 ppg.). 

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

There have already been seven different leading scorers in 19 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings.  In all, there have been 66 double-digit scoring games with Pullen doing it a team-best 12 times.  Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it at least seven times this season.  

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

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

Through 19 games, K-State is averaging 39.3 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.2 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards.  The team ranks among the best in the Big 12 in four rebounding categories, including first in offensive rebounds, margin (+7.1) and rebounding defense (32.2) and third in rebounding.  Four players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon, Darren Kent and Dominique Sutton - have grabbed double-digit rebounds eight times with Kent averaging a team-best 5.7 boards per game.  

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

Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 407 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 1,458 points) off 343 opponent turnovers.  The squad has also outscored its foes, 200-130, on fast-break opportunities.  Kansas State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 12 of the team’s 19 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.  In its 12 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 299-138 (24.9 ppg.), in points off turnovers.  In contrast, the team has been outscored 132-108 (15.4 ppg.) in points off turnovers in its seven losses.  In all, the Wildcats have forced seven foes into 20 or more turnovers.  The squad is averaging 7.4 steals per game with seven players grabbing 10 or more this year led by Jacob Pullen’s 32 steals.

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

The duo, which has started 18 of 19 games, have combined for 490 points on 39.3 percent shooting (169-of-430), including 33.8 percent from 3-point range (68-of-201), with 120 of the team’s 276 assists.  Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 13.6 points per game on 38.2 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (86), 3-point field goals made (40), assists (64), steals (32) and minutes (549).  Clemente is second in scoring at 12.8 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting, while is also second in assists (56) and minutes (488) and third in 3-point field goals (28). 

The two have scored in double figures seven times in the same game (team is 7-0 in those games) with a combined 36 points against Florida A&M, 31 against both Cleveland State and Kentucky, 45 against Oakland, 34 against Gardner-Webb, 39 against Wagner and 32 against Colorado.  Clemente has led the squad in scoring a team-best seven times with a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb, while Pullen, who has scored in double figures a team-best 12 times, posted a career-best 26 against Oakland.

Samuels a Spark off the Bench
Redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels has provided a spark off the bench, averaging just over 20 minutes per contest despite just two starts this season.  He is third in scoring at 9.2 points on 57.6 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game.  He ranks third in the number of double-figure scoring games with 10, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14.  He scored in double figures in four consecutive games to start the year and has collected 10 or more points in six of the last 13 contests.  He has tallied five or more rebounds 12 times, including a season-best eight on three occasions.  He was solid all-around in his first start against Centenary on Dec. 20 with eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and a career-tying three blocks.

Kent Stepping Up as a Senior
One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of senior forward Darren Kent.  Kent, the team’s only senior, has been a force on the boards, ranking first with 5.7 rebounds per game.  He is also averaging 8.9 points on 41.8 percent shooting (51-of-122) to go with 1.3 assists and 0.6 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game.  His improvement has been evident this year, as he has already scored in double figures in nine games and totaled 170 points.  In contrast, he came into the year with 104 career points and just one double-figure scoring game.  Kent has also totaled his four career double-doubles all this season, which leads the squad.  He turned in a career day against Centenary on Dec. 20 with career-highs in points (24), field goals (nine) and field goals attempted (14).  

Sutton Steals the Show
After getting a late start to his time at K-State, sophomore Dominique Sutton has become an all-around factor for the Wildcats this season.  He is one of four players that have hit on 50 percent or better from the field, while he is second in steals (1.4 spg.), third in minutes (22.0 mpg.), fifth in rebounds (4.7 rpg.) and sixth in scoring (7.9 ppg.).  He tied the school single-game record for steals against Idaho State with eight, matching a mark set by Lynn Smith against South Dakota on Nov. 29, 1986 then followed by Elliot Hatcher against Wichita State on Jan. 2, 1996.  He posted a career night against Wagner on Dec. 30, posting highs in six categories, including points (21), rebounds (10), field goals (7), field goals attempted (11) and free throws (6).    

Brown From Outside
Sophomore Fred Brown has emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he ranks second on the squad in both 3-point field goals (35) and 3-point field goal percentage (40.2).  He has at least one 3-pointer in 15 of 19 games, including two or more on 10 occasions.  He ranks third in field goals (61) and field goals attempted (149) and fourth in scoring (9.0 ppg.), while he is second among reserves in minutes (20.2 mpg.).  Almost 60 percent of his made (35) and attempted field goals (87) have come beyond the arc.  He has scored in double figures seven times, including a pair of 20-point outings against SE Missouri State (21) and Chicago State (26).

Missouri Update
Missouri enters Wednesday’s game with a 17-3 overall record and 4-1 mark in Big 12 after posting its fourth straight victory with a 97-86 win at home over Texas Tech.  The Tigers have won 15 of their last 17 games, including eight of their last nine.  The squad topped 90 points for the eighth time, including the third time in five Big 12 games, in the win over the Red Raiders.  Senior forward DeMarre Carroll led four players in double figures with 27 points.   

The Tigers are averaging a Big 12-best 85.4 points through 20 games on 48.7 percent shooting, including 36.8 percent from 3-point range, with 38.7 rebounds, 19.7 assists, 11.3 steals and 4.2 blocks per game.  The team is nearly eight 3-pointers per game.  The squad ranks first in the Big 12 in six categories, including scoring margin (+20.3), field goal percentage, assists, steals, turnover margin (+7.1) and assists-to-turnover ratio (1.54).

Missouri is paced by forward DeMarre Carroll, who averages 16.3 points on 58.6 percent shooting with a team-high 7.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals in 25.6 minutes per game.  Senior Leo Lyons is second in scoring at 14.1 points on 50.9 percent shooting with 5.9 rebounds per contest.  Senior Matt Lawrence averages 9.1 points to go with a team-high 45 3-pointers, while freshman Marcus Dehmon and junior J.T. Tiller add 7.8 points and 7.7 points per game.   

Missouri returns seven lettermen, including four starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 16-16 record, including a 6-10 mark in Big 12 play.   

The Tigers are led by third-year head coach Mike Anderson, who has posted a 51-31 mark at the helm.  He has a 140-72 overall record in six years as a college head coach, which includes a stint at UAB.

Series Information
K-State and Missouri will be meeting for the 228th time on Wednesday with the Wildcats holding a 114-113 edge in the series. The 227 meetings are the second-most against one foe in school history, while the 114 victories are the third-most against one opponent.  The Wildcats hold a 58-44 edge in the series at home, including four consecutive wins.  The Tigers own a 15-10 advantage since the start of Big 12 play, including a 5-7 mark on the road.  K-State has won six of the last eight meetings since 2005.  
 
Last 5 meetings:
2/12/06 Missouri 74-71 Columbia
1/13/07 K-State 85-81 Columbia
1/31/07 K-State 80-73 Manhattan
2/2/08 Missouri 77-74 Columbia
2/16/08 K-State 100-63 Manhattan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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