K-State Travels to No. 11 Texas Saturday
K-State Travels to No. 11 Texas Saturday
Kansas State (13-7, 2-4 Big 12)
at 11/12 Texas (15-4, 4-1 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, January 31, 2009
Tipoff: 3:01 p.m. CT
Location: Austin, Texas
Arena: Erwin Center (1977)
Series: K-State leads 9-8
(Texas is 5-3 at home)
Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360.com
Dave Armstrong (play-by-play)
Reid Gettys (analyst)
Todd Jones (producer)
Chris Ohlmeyer (director)
Channels: KMCI (Kansas City), KSNT (Topeka), KMTW (Wichita)
Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Tickets: Available for $8, $10, $15, $40 by calling 512.477.6060
Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 13-7 (2-4 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 34-19/1
School Record: 34-19/1
vs. Texas: 0-1
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Jan. 28, 2009
Defeated Missouri, 88-72
SID: Tom Gilbert
Record: 15-4 (4-1 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): 11/12
Coach: Rick Barnes
Alma Mater: Lenoir-Rhyne, 77
Career Record: 464-231/22
School Record: 262-97/11
vs. Kansas State: 7-3
07-08 Record: 31-7 (13-3 Big 12)
Last game: Jan. 27, 2009
Won at Baylor, 78-72
SID: Scott McConnell
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
G - #3 A.J. Abrams (5-11, 161, Sr.)
G - #24 Justin Mason (6-2, 194, Jr.)
F - #1 Gary Johnson (6-6, 233, So.)
F - #5 Damion James (6-7, 222, Jr.)
C - #32 Connor Atchley (6-10, 228, Sr.)
Kansas State (13-7, 2-4 Big 12) heads south to conclude the first month of the Big 12 season on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats face No. 11/12 Texas (15-4, 4-1 Big 12) at the Erwin Center at 3:01 p.m. K-State has gained some momentum since starting league play with four straight losses, including an impressive 88-72 victory over Missouri on Wednesday. The Wildcats own a narrow 9-8 edge in the all-time series with the Longhorns, but they have just one win in their last six meetings in Austin. The team has not beaten a Top 25 foe on the road since knocking off No. 22 Texas, 73-72, in its last visit to the Erwin Center on Feb. 3, 2007. The last four meetings have been decided by a grand total of 14 points, including last season’s 74-65 win by the Longhorns in Manhattan on Feb. 25.
Kansas State made it consecutive Big 12 wins on Wednesday, as the Wildcats jumped on Missouri early and never let up in an 88-72 win before a raucous Bramlage Coliseum crowd. The Wildcats scored a season Big 12-high 88 points on 53 percent shooting, including 59.3 percent shooting in the second half, to earn their fifth straight win at home over the Tigers. The team also posted league season highs in field goals (35), 3-point field goals (12) and assists (24). K-State converted 17 Missouri turnovers into 29 points, marking the 13th time its has scored 20 or more points off opponent turnovers.
Sophomore Jacob Pullen led four Wildcats in double figures with a team-high 23 points, while backcourt mates Fred Brown and Denis Clemente added 17 and 10 points, respectively. It marked just the second time this season that the trio has posted double figures in the same game, including the first since Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, 2008. Clemente and Pullen scored in double figures in the same contest for the eighth time with the team holding an 8-0 edge in those games. Pullen has paced the squad in scoring in seven games and registered double-figure scoring in a team-best 13 contests, including his team-high fifth 20-point outing. Clemente has scored in double figures 12 times, including five of the six Big 12 contests. Redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels posted a personal Big 12 high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
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 70 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 65.2 points on 41.3 percent shooting, including 35.5 percent from 3-point range. The team is forcing an average of 18 turnovers per game, while averaging 21.8 points off those turnovers.
The contest against Texas will be televised on the Big 12 Network (KMCI - Kansas City, KSNT - Topeka, KMTW - Wichita), with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Reid Gettys (analyst) calling the action. Fans will also be able to watch the game on the Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com. Information on these outlets can be found at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/. It will be the fifth of eight appearances on the Big 12 Network.
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 Stan Weber (analyst) on the call.
Available for $8 (mezzanine general admission), $10 (mezzanine endzone), $15 (mezzanine midcourt) and $40 (reserved) by calling the Texas Box Office at (512) 477.6060.
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.
What a Difference 2 Games Make
After starting Big 12 play 0-4, Kansas State has seemed to have found its groove again in the past two wins. The Wildcats averaged 82.5 points on 50 percent shooting, including 46.3 percent from 3-point range, in the wins over Colorado and Missouri after averaging just 60 points on 38.4 percent shooting, including 29 percent from beyond the arc, in the first four contests. The team is also forcing three more turnovers (17-14), while averaging twice as many points off those turnovers (25-13). The defense numbers are similar in both instances with the Wildcats holding the last two foes to an average of 73.5 points on 45.6 percent shooting compared to 76 points on 51 percent shooting in the first four league games.
Back on Track
Despite its early struggles in Big 12 play, K-State is still averaging over 77 points points per game. The team has scored 70 or more points in 15 of 20 games, including 80 or more points nine 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 1,546 points are the fourth-most through 20 games in school history, trailing just the 1986-87 (1,635), 1952-53 (1,602) and 1997-98 (1,570) squads and ahead of the 1976-77 (1,474) 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 nine of their first 20 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).
K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 20 opponents thus far to an average of 65.2 points per game. The Wildcats have held 13 foes to less than 70 points, including eight to 60 points or less. The 1,305 points yielded are the second-fewest through 20 games in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1998-99 team allowed just 1,240 points. This year, 11 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while eight have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range. Despite allowing 75.2 points during Big 12 play, the team had held two of the more potent offenses - Oklahoma and Missouri - to 15 or more points under their averages.
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 20 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 14.1 points per game. Six players are averaging seven or more points, including redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (9.6 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (9.4 ppg.) and senior Darren Kent (8.7 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 20 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings. In all, there have been 70 double-digit scoring games with Pullen doing it a team-best 13 times. Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it at least seven times this season.
Backcourt Play has been Key
A big key to Kansas State’s hopes this season has been the play of its three primary guards - Fred Brown, Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. The trio represent nearly half of the team’s point (711), field goals (249) and field goals attempted (612) total this season as well as nearly 85 percent of the 3-point field goals (114).
The play of these three guards has been key to the fortunes this year. In the 13 wins, the trio is averaging 38.3 points on 44.9 percent (172-of-383) shooting from the field, including 42.6 percent (87-of-204) from 3-point range. The squad is 2-0 when all three players score in double figures, while they are 8-0 when both Clemente and Pullen score 10 or more points. In the seven losses, the trio averages 30.4 points on 33.6 percent (77-of-229) shooting, including just 26.7 percent (27-of-101) from beyond the arc.
The assist-to-turnover ratio also proves vital with the three averaging 9.8 assists and a 1.59 assist-to-turnover ratio (127/80) in the wins and 4.6 assists and a 0.59 assist-to-turnover ratio (32/54) in the losses.
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 20 games, K-State is averaging 39.2 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 (+7.0) and rebounding defense (32.3) 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 5.6 boards per game. Kent has a team-leading four double-doubles thus far, while three others - Anderson, Colon and Sutton - each have tallied one.
Pressure is the Key
Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 436 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 1,546 points) off 360 opponent turnovers. The squad has also outscored its foes, 211-133, on fast-break opportunities. Kansas State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 13 of the team’s 20 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.
In its 13 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 328-152 (25.2 ppg.), in points off turnovers with an average of 18.9 turnovers. In contrast, the team has been outscored 132-108 (15.4 ppg.) in points off turnovers in its seven losses with an average of 16.7 turnovers. In all, the Wildcats have forced seven foes into 20 or more turnovers. The squad is averaging 7.3 steals per game with seven players grabbing 10 or more this year led by Jacob Pullen’s 34 steals.
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 19 of 20 games, have combined for 523 points on 40.3 percent shooting (182-of-452), including 34.9 percent from 3-point range (74-of-212), with 131 of the team’s 300 assists. Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game on 39.4 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (95), 3-point field goals made (45), assists (68), steals (34) and minutes (584). Clemente is second in scoring at 12.7 points per game on 41.2 percent shooting, while is also second in assists (63) and minutes (512) and third in 3-point field goals (29).
The two have scored in double figures eight times in the same game (team is 8-0 in those games) with a combined 36 points against Florida A&M, 31 against Cleveland State and Kentucky, 45 against Oakland, 34 against Gardner-Webb, 39 against Wagner, 32 against Colorado and 33 against Missouri. 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 13 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 9.6 points on a team-best 59.3 percent shooting with 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game. He ranks third in the number of double-figure scoring games with 11, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14. He scored in double figures in four straight games to start the year and has collected 10 or more points in seven of the last 14 contests. He has tallied five or more rebounds 13 times, including a season-best eight three times. He was sensational in his outing against Missouri, posting a personal Big 12-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Brown from Outside
Sophomore Fred Brown has emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he ranks first on the squad in 3-point field goal percentage (43.0) and second in 3-point field goals (40). He has at least one 3-pointer in 16 of 20 games, including two or more on 11 occasions. He ranks third in field goals (67) and field goals attempted (160) and fourth in scoring (9.4 ppg.), while he is second among reserves in minutes (20.3 mpg.). Almost 60 percent of his made (40) and attempted field goals (93) have come beyond the arc. He has scored in double figures eight times, including a pair of 20-point outings against SE Missouri State (21) and Chicago State (26).
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 5.6 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 8.7 points on 41.1 percent shooting (53-of-129) 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 174 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 (22.4 mpg.), fourth in rebounds (4.9 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).
Texas enters Saturday’s game with a 15-4 overall record and 4-1 mark in Big 12 after posting its third straight victory with a 78-72 win on the road over Baylor. The Longhorns are 9-0 at home this season, including 2-0 in Big 12 play with wins over Iowa State and Texas A&M. In the last outing, the squad earned their 23rd straight win over the Bears by shooting 57.1 percent in the second half. Senior guard A.J. Abrams led all scorers with 19 points, while junior forward Damion James added 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Longhorns are averaging 72.3 points through 19 games on 43.6 percent shooting, including 31.7 percent from 3-point range, with a Big 12-best 40.6 rebounds, 13.3 assists, 6.8 steals and 5.9 blocks per game. Texas is one of the Big 12’s best defensive teams, holding its opponents to just 61.6 points on 39.2 percent shooting, including 31.7 percent from 3-point range.
Texas is led by guard A.J. Abrams, who averages 17.0 points on 39 percent shooting to go with a team-best 54 3-pointers. Forward Damion James is second in scoring at 15.5 points on 48.7 percent shooting with a team-best 8.4 rebounds. Sophomore Gary Johnson averages 11.2 points on 47.3 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds.
Texas returns 10 lettermen, including four starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 31-7 overall record and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
The Longhorns are led by three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year Rick Barnes, who has posted a 262-97 mark at the helm, including 10 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He has a 464-231 overall record in his 22nd season as a college head coach, which includes stints at George Mason, Providence and Clemson.
K-State and Texas will be meeting for the 18th time on Saturday with the Wildcats holding a 9-8 edge in the series. The series dates back to an 87-60 win by K-State on Dec. 8, 1971. The squad won the first five meetings, including a 66-55 win in the second round of the 1972 NCAA Tournament in Ames, Iowa. Texas holds a 5-3 advantage in the series at home, including wins in five of the last six meetings since the start of Big 12 play. The Longhorns own a 8-4 edge since the start of Big 12 play, including a 5-1 mark at home.
Last 5 meetings:
3/6/04 K-State 58-48 Manhattan
2/12/05 Texas 75-72 (OT) Austin
2/22/06 Texas 65-64 Manhattan
2/3/07 K-State 73-72 Austin
2/25/08 Texas 74-65 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.
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.