K-State closes out homestand with Missouri

Game 22

Missouri (13-6, 2-4 Big 12)
at Kansas State (15-6, 4-2 Big 12)

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007

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

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. Central

Series: Tied 112-112
(K-State leads 56-44 in Manhattan, Kan.)

TV: ESPNU/ESPN Plus

Talent: Dave Armstrong (Play-by-Play) and
Chris Piper (Analyst)

Channels: Metro (Kansas City), KSAS, Eagle (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka)  

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

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and
Stan Weber (Analyst)

 

K-State looks to close out homestand with sweep of Missouri Wednesday

Two of the hottest teams in the Big 12 collide on Wednesday night, as Kansas State (15-6, 4-2 Big 12) puts its five-game winning streak to the test against a surging Missouri (13-6, 2-4 Big 12) squad at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 8:05 p.m.  It is the second five-game winning streak of the season for the Wildcats and the second longest behind a six-game streak from Dec. 5-23, 2006.  In the process, K-State has also strung together four straight wins in Big 12 play for the first time since the inception of the league and holds its longest conference win streak since winning five in a row during the 1989-90 season.  The Wildcats, which posted an 85-81 win in Columbia, Mo., on Jan. 13, will be looking for just their second sweep of the Tigers since 1984. 


The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and regionally on ESPN Plus (Metro Sports - Kansas City; KSAS - Wichita; KSNT - Topeka) with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Chris Piper (color) calling the action.  It will be the fourth of a school-record seven national broadcasts for the Wildcats this season, including the first-ever on ESPNU.  The audio broadcast can be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call.


Kansas
State once again used stifling defense to propel it to victory, as the Wildcats held Nebraska to a season-low in points in a 61-45 win.  The team has now held four straight opponents to 60 points or less.  

      

A Quick Look at the Wildcats

Kansas State pushed its winning streak to five games on Saturday with a 61-45 win over Nebraska.  With the victory, the Wildcats equaled their win total of the 2005-06 season (15-13) and posted their best record through 21 games since the 1997-98 season when the team also won 15 of its first 21.  K-State again used strong defense in gaining in the win, as the Wildcats held Nebraska to a season-low 45 points on just 36.7 percent shooting.  The team has now held 18 of its 21 opponents to below 80 points, including 10 of its last 12 under 70 points.  For the season, K-State is averaging 71.2 points on 42.8 percent shooting and has three players averaging in double figures led by senior forward Cartier Martin’s 14.7 points per game.

 

Projected Starters

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

3       Lance Harris (G, 6-5, 205, Sr.)                   10.9      3.7

5       Clent Stewart (G, 6-4, 190, Jr.)                   5.9        2.0

15      David Hoskins (F, 6-5, 230, Jr.)                 14.2      5.8

34      Akeem Wright (G, 6-6, 210, Sr.)                 7.2        6.1

50      Luis Colon (C, 6-10, 275, Fr.)                     2.6        2.4

 

Key Reserves

No.      Name                                                                         PPG        RPG      

2       Blake Young (G, 6-2, 190, Jr.)                    6.2        2.0

14      Serge Afeli (F, 6-9, 235, Sr.)                      1.5        1.6

20      Cartier Martin (F, 6-7, 225, Sr.)                  14.7      4.2

23      Jermaine Maybank (G, 6-4, 180, Sr.)          2.6        2.3

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

55      Jason Bennett (C, 7-3, 255, Fr.)                 2.4        3.2

 

Noting the Nebraska game 

*With the win, Kansas State equaled its win total of the 2005-06 season (15-13) and posted its best record through 21 games since the 1997-98 season when the Wildcats also won 15 of their first 21 contests... The 4-2 start in league play is the best-ever through six games since joining the Big 12, while the four-game winning streak is also the best-ever since joining the league and the longest since winning five in a row during the 1989-90 in the Big Eight.

*Kansas State used the same starting line-up (guards Clent Stewart, Lance Harris and Akeem Wright and forwards David Hoskins and Luis Colon) for the fifth time this season, including the fourth straight game.  Hoskins has been the only constant in the line-up, starting all 21 games.


*After setting the Bramlage Coliseum record for fewest combined points in game (99) last season, Kansas State and Nebraska came close to doing it again on Saturday with a combined 106 points... The 61 points by Kansas State are the second fewest scored by the Wildcats in a victory this season (K-State defeated Rutgers, 55-41, on Nov. 15)... Nebraska’s 45 points are a season-low and the fewest scored since dropping a 70-44 decision to Creighton on Dec. 11, 2005... The total is also fewest scored by the Huskers against the Wildcats since tallying the same number in a 62-45 loss on Feb. 24, 1999.


*In its last two games, Kansas State has held Chicago State and Nebraska to a combined 81 points... It is the lowest two-game point total yielded by the Wildcats since K-State held UMKC (39) and Coppin State (36) to a combined 75 points on Dec. 19 and 21, 1998.


*Kansas State limited Nebraska to just 20 first-half points on 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) shooting... K-State’s defense held the Huskers to without a point from the 10:53 mark until a free throw by Jamal White 3:13 before halftime... In the last three games, the Wildcats have held their foes to an average of 17.7 points in the first half on 29.9 percent shooting (20-of-67)... K-State has now held five opponents to 20 points or less in the first half.

 

*Junior Clent Stewart paced three Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc... It marked the fourth time this season has Stewart has scored in double figures with three of those coming in the last five games... Junior David Hoskins has now scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games dating back to the Cleveland State game on Dec. 5.

Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 15-6 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 (27.5), fourth in both rebounding (37.8) and field goal percentage defense (39.2) and fifth in scoring defense (63.3).  The squad has been even more impressive in league play, where they rank first in 3-point percentage defense (24.3), third in both scoring defense (62.8) and field goal percentage defense (40.0) and fourth in rebounding margin (2.7).  The team has held 18 of its 21 opponents to below 80 points, including 10 of its last 12 under 70 points.  Only six foes have shot 45 percent or better 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 14 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 60.9 points on 38.5 percent shooting (291-of-755), including just 22.5 percent (53-of-236) from 3-point range, during the stretch.  In addition, K-State has forced an average of 17.1 turnovers and tallied an average of 6.2 steals during the stretch. 


During the course of the season, the defensive effort has produced marks that the Wildcats haven’t seen in years and even decades.  In the last two games, Kansas State has held Chicago State and Nebraska to a combined 81 points; the lowest two-game point total since allowing UMKC (39) and Coppin State (36) a combined 75 points on Dec. 19 and 21, 1998.  Against Chicago State, the Wildcats held the Cougars to just 36 points on 22.2 percent shooting, marks which tied or set new marks for lows by an opponent in Bramlage Coliseum.  It marked the fewest points allowed an opponent since Coppin State also scored 36 on Dec. 21, 1999. 

 

In the win over Rutgers on Nov. 15, K-State held the Scarlet Knights to 41 points on just nine field goals and 19.1 percent shooting.  The nine field goals are the fewest allowed since the Wildcats held Washburn a school-record seven in a 23-15 win on Dec. 6, 1940, while the 41 points are the fewest points allowed on an opponent’s court since the shot clock and fewest since allowing Nebraska 39 on March 6, 1984.

 

Dissecting The Streak

It is easy to determine the reasons for Kansas State’s recent five-game winning streak, as the Wildcats have relied on their stars and stifling defense to post its second victory streak of five or more games this season.  The team’s top three scorers - Cartier Martin (16.4 ppg), David Hoskins (15.8 ppg.) and Lance Harris (14.2 ppg.) - have combined to score 232 of the Wildcats’ 357 points during the streak on 45.2 percent shooting (76-of-168).  The trio has also connected on a stunning 91.5 percent (65-of-71) of their free throw attempts.  The team has also held its last five foes to a combined 56.4 points per game on just 35.1 percent shooting (99-of-282), including just 21.7 percent (23-of-106) from 3-point range, while holding a 7.8 rebounding margin.

 

Block Party

Kansas State broke nearly every single-game block record on Jan. 22, as the Wildcats posted a Bramlage Coliseum-record 12 blocked shots, including an individual mark of eight by freshman Jason Bennett, in a 73-37 victory.  The 12 blocks surpassed the previous highs of 10 against UMKC on Dec. 19, 1998 and the 10 Colorado registered against K-State on Feb. 11, 2003 for the most in the building’s 19-year history.  Bennett’s eight swats not only broke the school mark of six that he already shared (at California on Nov. 29, 2006) with Tony Kitt (vs. Kansas on March 3, 1999) and Dramane Diarra (vs. Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005), but it also surpassed the arena marks of six by Diarra and seven by Nebraska’s Kimani Ffriend (Jan. 30, 2001). 


The team’s 91 blocks this season are just four short of the 95 recorded all of last season, while it already surpasses the totals of the 2003-04 (76) and 2004-05 (63) seasons.  The Wildcats are on pace for 134 blocks (4.33 per game) during the regular season, which would be the second-most in a single-season in Kansas State history behind the 146 recorded in 1998-99.  On the other hand, Bennett’s 41 blocked shots this season have already established a freshman school record, shattering the previous mark of 24 by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96.  He ranks ninth on school’s single-season top-10, while he is eight swats away from the career top-10.  Bennett is on pace for 64 blocks this season, which would break Gerald Eaker’s single-season mark of 59 set during the 1995-96 season.  He has recorded at least one block in 12 of 18 games, while his 2.28 per game average ranks first in the Big 12.  

   

Home Sweet Home

Kansas State has continued to make Bramlage Coliseum one of the toughest home venues in the Big 12, as the Wildcats have posted a 9-1 mark at home this season, including a perfect 7-0 mark in non-conference games.  The team has posted an impressive 70-24 (.745) mark at home since the start of 2001-02 season, including 10 or more wins each of the past five years.  With five home games remaining this season, the Wildcats have already clinched a winning record at home for the 61st consecutive season, which has spanned three arenas and nine head coaches dating back to the 1946-47 season.  The team has registered an 838-322 (.722) record in home games all-time, including a 210-81 (.722) mark in Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1988.


Clutch Shooting

Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunites at the free throw line in the past five games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 78.9 percent (105-of-133) 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 total (37) was also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958.  In addition, the Wildcats have been particularly effective in the last five minutes from the free throw line, knocking down 77 percent (47-of-61), including 87.5 percent against Missouri.

   

Finding the Right Combination 

After tinkering with the line-up for much of the season, head coach Bob Huggins has finally found a winning combination in each of the past four games with seniors Lance Harris and Akeem Wright manning the backcourt with junior point guard Clent Stewart, while junior David Hoskins and freshman Luis Colon battle down low in the frontcourt.  Before the last four games, Huggins had started 10 different line-ups, including a different one in 10 of 11 contests.  The only constant in the line-up has been David Hoskins, who has started 43 consecutive contests, including all 21 games this season. 

              

The Book on Missouri

Missouri enters Wednesday’s contest with a 13-6 overall record and 2-4 mark in Big 12 Conference play after posting an impressive 71-58 win over Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon at home.  The team shot 50 percent from the field and had three players in double figures led by junior guard Stefhon Hannah’s game-high 15 points.  The Tigers have won back-to-back Big 12 games after dropping four in a row to start league play.

 

Missouri is averaging 78.4 points on 46.5 percent shooting with 35.8 rebounds and 15.9 assists on the season.  The Tigers have six players averaging seven or more points, including three in double figures.  The odds-on favorite for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors, guard Stefhon Hannah leads the team in scoring (15.3 ppg.), assists (4.7 apg.) and steals (3.1 spg.).  He ranks third in the nation in steals and paces a squad that ranks second nationally in steals per game (11.4).  Junior guard Matt Lawrence averages 12.0 points on a team-leading 54 3-point field goals, while junior forward Marshall Brown adds 10.9 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting.  Junior center Kalen Grimes is the leader in both rebounds (6.1 rpg.) and blocks (1.1 bpg.). 


Missouri
is led by first-year coach Mike Anderson, who has a 13-6 mark in his initial season and 102-47 record in his fifth season overall as a head coach.  He came to the Tigers after a four-year stint at UAB.  Anderson is 1-3 all-time against Bob Huggins.  Huggins’ Cincinnati squad topped Anderson’s UAB team on two occasions, including 87-70, on March 5, 2003 and 72-69 on Feb. 19, 2005 in between an 80-69 setback on Feb. 18, 2004.

   

Series versus Missouri

This will be the 225th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Missouri in a series that dates back to 1907.  The all-time series is tied at 112-112, however, the Wildcats hold a 56-44 advantage in games played in Manhattan.  Earlier this season, K-State earned just its second win in Columbia, Mo., since 1984 by holding off a stiff challenge from Missouri for an 85-81 win.  The Wildcats, which set season-highs for free throws (37), free throw attempts (43) and free throw percentage (86.0), had five players score in double figures led by junior Clent Stewart’s career-tying 19 points.  The triple-threat of Cartier Martin (15), Lance Harris (16) and David Hoskins (18) combined for 49 points. 

 

K-State has won the last two games at Bramlage Coliseum and will be looking to make it three in a row at home for the first time since doing it in the 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.  Last season, the Wildcats earned a 79-64 win over the Tigers in Manhattan on Jan. 21, 2006, as forwards Cartier Martin (20) and David Hoskins (18) combined for 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting.  K-State shot 46.9 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the first half, and held a 38-29 advantage in rebounding.   

  

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 a team-leading 16.0 points in the last 14 games on 47.9 percent shooting (68-of-142) with 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 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 (78.4), 13th in scoring (14.2 ppg.) and 17th in rebounding (5.8 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is pacing the squad in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 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 before adding 11 points in a loss at Texas A&M.  Hoskins came through in a big way offensively against Texas Tech on Jan. 8, posting 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes.  After solid efforts against Missouri and Baylor, he stepped his game even more in wins over Iowa State and Chicago State with back-to-back double-doubles, posting 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting against the Cyclones with a career-high 11 rebounds in a season-high 36 minutes before totaling 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Cougars on Jan. 22. 

 

In addition, Hoskins has been impressive from the free throw line during the 14-game streak, connecting on 82.2 percent (83-of-101), including 82.1 percent (23-of-28) in the last five minutes. 

 

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 17.1 turnovers (239), including an average of 6.0 steals, in the last 14 games, while averaging 19.9 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 15.9 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.

    

Lift From The Bench

Kansas State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 22.9 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 15 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 24.7 points off the bench and have outscored their opponent by a 370-219 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.  Senior forward Cartier Martin has seemed to relish his opportunity coming off the bench.  He has scored in double figures in six of the eight games he has not started 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 a 17-point effort against Iowa State on Jan. 20 and most recently a 25-point output against Chicago State on Jan. 22.  Martin is averaging 15.0 points on 46.7 percent shooting (42-of-90) in eight games off the bench this season with 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in over 26 minutes per game.

 

Road Warriors

After struggling for most of the past decade on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with six victories away (second in the Big 12 behind Kansas’ seven) 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 wins.  K-State has also won back-to-back conference road games for the first time since 1995-96.  This is contrast to the previous seven seasons, in which, the team posted no more than four wins away from Manhattan in a season and compiled 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 with his 15-point effort against Baylor on Jan. 17.  He now has 1,255 points after his 10-point effort against Nebraska on Saturday.  Harris now ranks 28th all-time with 886 points in his four-year career after scoring seven points against Nebraska and needs just 50 points to crack the school’s top 25.  Martin (130) and Harris (130) are tied for fourth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals.  Hoskins already ranks 62nd on the all-time scoring list with 666 points and can move into the top 50 with just 52 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. 

     

Non-Conference Play A Success

Kansas State capped another stellar non-conference season in 2006-07 with its 73-36 win over Chicago State on Jan. 22.  The Wildcats posted at least 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 11 non-league victories are the most by a Wildcat squad since the 1998-99 squad also produced 11, while the program produced 10 wins before January 1 for the first time in nearly seven seasons.  K-State has now earned a winning record in non-conference play in 35 consecutive seasons dating back to 1972-73 and has totaled at least eight non-conference wins in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including each of the last five seasons.  The Wildcats have won 29 of their last 37 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 25-1 (.961) mark at home.              

 

Offense Taking Flight

Kansas State broke out of a three-game scoring slump against Missouri on Jan. 13, 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 21 games into the 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 seven of its last eight games, the team has still averaged averaged 73.3 points on 45.8 percent shooting (373-of-814) in the last 15 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 15 of their last 30 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.

 

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, topping All-American Jack Parr (1,184; 1955-58).  In sole possession of ninth place with 1,255 career points, he is within 49 points of Ed Nealy (1,304; 1979-82) for eighth place and 72 away from Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) for seventh.  Martin 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).  He has scored in double figures 15 times in the last 19 games, including six 20-point outings. 

 

Martin 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.  Martin came off the bench to post 25 against Chicago State on Jan. 22.

         

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 10.9 points on 47.7 percent shooting, including a team-best 39.3 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.5 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (35) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.3), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in 10 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 (371), fifth in 3-point field goals (130), ninth in minutes (2,253) and 28th in scoring (886), while he is just outside the top 10 in career games played (105).

 

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 7.2 points on 41.9 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.6 steals in 25.5 minutes per game.  He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 11th in defensive rebounds and 13th 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 five 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 eight games this season.  Wright has grabbed six or more rebounds in eight of the last 10 games.  For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 12 contests. 

 

During the last 14 games, Wright has topped his season average seven times with three 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 7.2 points on 43.1 percent shooting with 2.9 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 0.5 steals in 26.5 minutes per game in guiding the team to 10 wins in 13 games.  He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 10.7 points on 47.7 percent shooting (21-of-44), including 45 percent from 3-point range (9-of-20), with 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 29.8 minutes per game.  Stewart has scored in double figures in three of the last five games, including tying his career-high with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Missouri on Jan. 13.

 

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

 

A NJCAA honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06, he is averaging 6.2 points, a team-best 2.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 21.5 minutes per game this year.  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.        

                

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 Monday, Jan. 8 that freshman forward Bill Walker sustained a complete rupture of the anterior crucial ligament (ACL) in his left knee and leaving him out for the remainder of the season, according to head coach Bob Huggins.  Surgery was successfully performed on Friday, Jan. 19 and Walker has already begun his rehabilitation process.  It is expected to take between six and eight months.

 

The highly-touted freshman averaged 11.3 points on 40.0 percent shooting in six games this season with 4.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game.  He began his career by posting 15 points on 6-of-10 field goals against Kennesaw State on Dec. 17 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 in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic 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.   


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 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: at Texas (15-5, 5-1 Big 12)

Kansas State will begin with of its toughest stretches of the season on Saturday, as the Wildcats face the first of back-to-back Top 25 teams on the road with a trip to Austin, Texas to face No. 22/23 Texas (15-5, 5-1 Big 12) at the Frank Erwin Center.  The Longhorns enter Wednesday’s game at Texas Tech with a 15-5 overall record and 5-1 mark in Big 12 play after an 84-79 win over Baylor at home on Saturday.  The team is averaging a Big 12-best 84.8 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting with 42.7 rebounds and has a balanced scoring team with three players averaging in double figures.  National and Big 12 Player of the Year favorite Kevin Durant paces the team in a number of categories, including Big 12-bests in both scoring (24.4 ppg.) and rebounding (11.0 rpg.).  Sophomore guard A.J. Abrams averages 16.8 points on a team-best 80 3-point field goals and a team-best 1.8 steals per game, while freshman guard D.J. Augustin adds 13.4 points per game and a Big 12-best 6.9 assists.  K-State has not beaten a ranked foe on the road since upsetting No. 23 Iowa State, 92-87, on Feb. 28, 1996, while the Wildcats have not won in Austin since a 51-43 victory on Jan. 8, 1983.