'Cats Renew Rivalry with Cyclones Saturday in Ames

Senior Jacob Pullen has led the team in scoring in 17 of 20 games played.

Feb. 4, 2011

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Kansas State (15-8, 3-5 Big 12)
at Iowa State (14-9, 1-7 Big 12)

Date: Saturday, February 5, 2011  |  Tipoff: 12:47 p.m. CT
Location: Ames, Iowa  |  Arena: Hilton Coliseum (14,356)  |  Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com
Television: Big 12 Network (Chad McKee, play-by-play; Rich Zvosec, analyst; Steve Reintjes, producer)  |  Internet: ESPN Full Court/ESPN3.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  |  Satellite Radio: Sirius 126 (home team only)  
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 87-40 (.685) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Iowa State - Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State ‘95) is 14-9 (.609) in his first season as a head coach and at his alma mater.
Series: K-State leads 133-77 (49-44 on the road)  |  Martin vs. Iowa State: 5-1 (3-0 on the road)  |   Martin vs. Hoiberg: First meeting 
Last Time Out:  K-State knocked off Nebraska, 69-53, at home on Wednesday, while Iowa State lost at Colorado, 95-69, on Tuesday night.
Rankings: Neither team is ranked in The Associated Press and/or USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 polls.   
Tickets: Sold out.

‘Cats hit the road to renew rivalry with Cyclones Saturday
Kansas State (15-8, 3-5 Big 12) renews one of the oldest rivalries in the Big 12 on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats travel to Ames, Iowa to play Iowa State (14-9, 1-7 Big 12) at Hilton Coliseum at 12:30 p.m.  The Wildcats and Cyclones have met 210 times dating back to 1909 and have played at least twice a year since 1918.  The teams will playing for the 94th time in Ames on Saturday with K-State winning each of the last four meetings at Hilton Coliseum dating back to 2007.  It is the longest winning streak in the series on the road since the Wildcats won six straight in Ames from 1972-77.  The squad had won eight in a row in the series until the Cyclones knocked the ‘Cats off, 85-82, in overtime at Bramlage Coliseum to spoil Senior Day last season.  The 49 wins are the most on an opponent’s home court, while it is the only home court that the Wildcats hold a winning record.  The contest will be broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network with Chad McKee (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst) on the call.  Locally, the game will be available on KSHB-TV in Kansas City, KSAS-TV in Wichita and KSNT-TV in the Topeka and Manhattan areas.  It will also be available nationally on ESPN Full Court as well as on the internet at ESPN3.com. 

The Wildcats will look to continue their winning ways in the month of February, as they head to Ames with a nine-game winning streak in the month dating back to a 77-72 victory over Nebraska at home on Feb. 28, 2009.  The nine-game streak is the longest in the month since the team won 10 straight from 1976-77 to 1977-78.  The current nine-game winning streak, includes a perfect 7-0 mark in 2009-10, which was the first unbeaten February since the 1976-77 squad went a perfect 8-0.  The recent success in the month is in contrast to its performance in January, where the Wildcats just wrapped up a 3-5 mark, its first losing mark in the month since going 2-6 in 2003-04.   

K-State played perhaps its best defensive game of the season on Wednesday, as the squad knocked off Nebraska, 69-53, at Bramlage Coliseum.  It marked the 18th win over the Cornhuskers in Bramlage Coliseum, which is the most against any opponent at the arena since its opening in 1988.  The 53 points were the fewest surrendered to an opponent this season and the fewest since allowing 51 to Colorado on Feb. 13, 2010.  The Wildcats also forced the Huskers into 22 turnovers (which the team converted into 21 points), while posting a 32-24 edge on the glass.  It marked the fourth time this season that the team has forced an opponent into 20 or more turnovers, while it was the sixth occasion that they have scored 20 or more points off of an opponent’s miscues.  The effort was more like the Frank Martin-coached teams that fans have come accustomed to watching, who have averaged 18.7 points off of opponent turnovers since he became coach in 2007.  Before Wednesday, the team had allowed opponent to score 20 or more points off their turnovers in five games, including three in Big 12 play.  The defensive effort against Nebraska came on the heels of one of the worst under Martin last Saturday at Kansas, as the squad allowed the Jayhawks to post highs in seven opponent categories, including points, field goals, field goal percentage, defensive rebounds and assists.  It marked just the fourth time that an opponent has topped 90 points under Martin, while the 90-66 loss was the worst since a 26-point setback to Xavier on Dec. 31, 2007.

Although the Wildcats were less than spectacular on the offensive end against the Cornhuskers on Wednesday, connecting on just 41.2 percent from the field, including 31.6 percent from 3-point range, they made shots when they needed them to go with a season-best effort from the free throw line.  The squad connected on 21-of-25 from the line, including a stellar 18-of-21 in the second half, while the 84 percent shooting clip was the highest since hitting on 90 percent (27-of-30) against BYU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 20, 2010 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.  The team also posted a positive assist-to-turnover ratio for the first time since the Texas Tech game on Jan. 15.  The 13 turnovers against a tenacious Nebraska defense were the fewest since recording just 10 against Savannah State on Jan. 3. 

K-State got a strong effort from its senior duo of Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly, who combined to score 34 of the team’s 69 points on Wednesday. Pullen led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-15 field goals a season-tying 39 minutes of action, while Kelly chipped in 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 30 minutes.  It marked the 17th time that Pullen has led in scoring in just 20 games played, including the eighth time in nine games since his return from a 3-game suspension for NCAA rules violations.  He has scored in double figures now 94 times in his career, which has only been accomplished more by Rolando Blackman (100, 1977-81) in school history.  The all-time leader in 3-point field goals (267), 3-point field goals attempted (763) and steals (193), Pullen moved into second place all-time in scoring at K-State with his 21-point effort at Kansas on Jan. 29, moving him past Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94).  He is now within 247 points of all-time leader Mike Evans, who scored 2,115 points from 1974-78.  Pullen now needs nine steals and three rebounds to become the first player in school history with 1,800 points, 400 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.

Kelly responded from his dismal performance against Kansas (zero points, three rebounds) to post double-digit scoring for the fourth time in six games back from his own six-game suspension for NCAA rules violations.  In this span, he is averaging 10 points on 54.3 percent shooting (25-of-46), including his first 3-pointer, with 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 steals in 26.2 minutes per game.  Sophomore Rodney McGruder scored in double figures for the ninth time in the last 11 games with 10 points, while fellow sophomore Jordan Henriquez-Roberts led all players with eight rebounds to go with four points in 15 minutes.  Pullen dished out a team-high six assists. 
The Wildcats continue to try to find some consistency, as they have just one player - Rodney McGruder - who has started all 23 games this year, while there are just two others - Spradling and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts - who have played in all 23 games.  The team has used eight different starting lineups, while Spradling and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are just the second and third rookie guards to start a game in four years under Frank Martin.  The two’s only two seniors - Pullen and Kelly - missed three and six games, respectively, due to NCAA rules violations, while the team’s four upperclassmen - Pullen, Kelly, Jamar Samuels and Victor Ojeleye - have only been eligible to play in the same game 11 times.  On Monday, they lost a second player - Wally Judge - who opted to leave the team after playing in 17 games this season.  Junior college transfer Freddy Asprilla left the Wildcats on Jan. 15 after playing in 16 games, including 13 starts.  

Kansas State fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll on Jan. 17 for the first time in 23 consecutive polls dating back to Dec. 14, 2009 after starting the year at No. 3 for their highest-ever preseason ranking.  The No. 3 ranking was the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the team ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962.  The team fell out of the Coaches’ poll after 24 weeks on Jan. 24 after consecutive losses the week before.

The Book on Iowa State
Iowa State enters Saturday’s game with a 14-9 overall record and a 1-7 mark in Big 12 action after dropping a 95-69 decision at Colorado on Tuesday night in Boulder.  It was the Cyclones’ fifth consecutive loss in league play since earning a 72-57 victory over Baylor on Jan. 15.  Among the five setbacks are two in overtime on the road against Oklahoma State on Jan. 19 and at home against Oklahoma on Jan. 29.  In the loss to the Buffaloes on Tuesday night, the squad shot just 41.9 percent from the field, including 42.3 percent from 3-point range, while turning the ball over 17 times.  However, they were once again a threat from long range, connecting on 11 treys in the loss.  The Cyclones rank 14th nationally in 3-point field goals per game (8.7), including first in the Big 12.  Three players scored in double figures led by junior Scott Christopherson, who led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-16 field goals, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range.  Senior Diante Garrett posted 15 points (with five treys) and a team-high eight assists, while senior Jake Anderson chipped 11 points.  Freshman Melvin Ejim grabbed a team-best seven rebounds.  The team returned just two lettermen, both starters, from a squad that posted a 15-17 overall record, including a 4-12 mark in the Big 12, in 2009-10.  The squad has just seven scholarship players available for Saturday’s contest, as they are redshirting four Division I transfers, including former Michigan State guard Chris Allen. 

The Cyclones are averaging 76 points on 43.6 percent shooting from the field, including 36.8 percent from 3-point range, with 38.2 rebounds, 14.9 assists, 7.2 steals and 4.1 blocks per game.  A long range threat, the team’s 201 3-pointers already rank fourth all-time in school history, while three players post 40 or more treys on the season.  A solid defensive team that is yielding just 67.1 points on 39.7 percent shooting, including just 31.4 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 15.3 turnovers per game.  A balanced squad, all five starters are averaging in double figures led by Garrett, who averages 17.7 points on 41.7 percent shooting to go with 5.9 assists and 1.9 steals per outing.  Chrisopherson is second at 13.8 points per game on a team-best 63 3-pointers, while Anderson adds 12.3 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game.  Senior Jamie Vanderbeken and freshman Melvin Ejim average 11.2 and 11.0 points per game.   
Iowa State is led by first-year coach Fred Hoiberg, who has a compiled a 14-9 (.609) record in his first season as a head coach at any level.  A former executive with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he is one of the famed players in all of Cyclone history, ranking fourth all-time in scoring. 
Series vs. Iowa State
This will be the 211th meeting between K-State and Iowa State in a series that dates back to 1909.  It is the fourth-most played series in school history behind the rivalries with Kansas (271), Missouri (232) and Nebraska (218).  The two teams have met every season for 94 years.  The Wildcats own a 133-77 advantage in the series, including a 49-44 edge in Ames.  K-State holds a slight edge in the series since the start of the Big 12, winning 15 of 29 meetings.  The squad has won eight of the last nine meetings in the series, including four consecutive games at Hilton Coliseum.  It is the longest winning streak in Ames since winning six consecutive from 1972-77.  Last season, each team won on the road with the Wildcats earning a 79-76 victory at Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 6 before dropping a 85-82 decision in overtime at home on March 6.

Getting Defensive
K-State rebounded to post one of its best defensive performances against Nebraska on Wednesday.  The Wildcats held the Cornhuskers to an opponent-low 53 points after surrendering an opponent-high 90 points against Kansas just a few days earlier.  It marked the 25th time that a Frank Martin-coached team has held an opponent below 60 points, including the fifth time this season.  Although the Huskers connected on 44.2 percent from the field, the squad was forced into 22 turnovers, which were converted into 21 points, and were out-rebounded 32-24.  Overall, the team has been solid defensively, holding foes to 65.2 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting, including 35.2 percent from 3-point range, while forcing them into 16.6 turnovers per game.  The Wildcats have held 16 opponents to 65 points or less and have held 10 foes to under 40 percent shooting from the field. 

The team has also been stellar on the boards, averaging 39.7 rebounds per game, including a Big 12-best 15.9 offensive rebounds, while holding its opponents to 31.5 rebounds per game for an impressive +8.2 rebounding margin.  The squad has paced in the league in offensive rebounds in each of Martin’s three seasons as head coach.  This rebounding edge has helped the Wildcats post 340 second-chance points (14.8 per game) compared to just 231 (10 per game) for its opponents.  They have out-scored their opponents in this regard in all but five games.  The team has scored 20 or more second-chance points in six contests, including a season-high 25 against both UMKC on Dec 31 and Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  This statistic has been particularly stark in Kansas State’s 15 wins, where the team has averaged 16.7 second-chance points compared to just an average of 11.3 second-chance points in the eight losses.   

Digging the Long Ball
One of the more lethal components of the Wildcats’ offense under Frank Martin has been the ability to convert from long range.  The team has posted 200 or more treys in each of the last three seasons under Martin, including a school-record 253 makes in 2009-10.  This year’s squad seems to be on track to continue that trend, as they rank fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (7.0) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (36.1), while trailing just Iowa State (201) and Missouri (167) in total 3-pointers (160).  The team has tallied double-digit treys in five contests, including a season-best 13 (on a season-high 59.1 percent) against Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  The 13 makes ties six others for the seventh-most in a game in school history, while they are most since the team had 14 against UNLV on Dec. 12, 2009.

Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been particularly solid from beyond the arc, ranking seventh in the league in 3-point field goals (2.22) and ninth in percentage (40.8).  He has posted at least one trey in 19 of 23 games, including two or more from long range on 16 occasions.  He has been impressive in the last 10 games, where he has connected on 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from 3-point range, which includes a 7-of-10 effort against UMKC on Dec. 31.  The seven makes tied 10 other players for the fourth-most 3-pointers in a game in school history, while he was the first to accomplish the feat since teammate Jacob Pullen did it twice a season ago.  His exploits are all the more impressive considering he shares the backcourt with Pullen, the school’s all-time leader in both 3-pointers (267) and attempts (763).  Pullen, who is 10th in the Big 12 in 3-pointers per game (2.1), ranks second with 42 treys, including at least two in 11 games and a season-high four in five contests.  However, this statistic goes beyond the pair, as nine others have at least one trey, including double-digit totals from Will Spradling (22) and Martavious Irving (15). 

Practice Makes Perfect
One of the main concerns with this Kansas State team has been its ability to shoot free throws, where it 332nd nationally (out of 346 teams) and last in the Big 12 at 61.8 percent (352-of-570).  However, the extra practice since the end of the semester has seemed to improve that percentage, as the Wildcats have connected on over 73 percent (177-of-242) in the last 10 games, including a season-best 84 percent (21-of-25) effort against Nebraska on Wednesday.  During this span, the team has hit on more than 75 percent five times, including games against Texas Tech (81.3; 13-of-16), Baylor (80.6; 25-of-31), Oklahoma State (77.4, 24-of-31) and North Florida (76.9, 20-of-26).  Will Spradling, Victor Ojeleye and Nick Russell are perfect from the line in this stretch, while five more are hitting at greater than 70 percent.  Senior Jacob Pullen, who ranks second in school history in free throws made (449) and attempted (588), has hit on more than 77 percent (47-of-61) after starting at just over 70 percent (71.4; 45-of-63).  Spradling’s 9-of-9 effort against Baylor was the best since Pullen went 11-of-11 against Washington State in 2009.       

Young ‘Cats Step Up
Even before the suspension of seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly before the UNLV game on Dec. 21, the play of Kansas State’s freshmen and sophomores have played a major role in the team’s record.  This nucleus has scored 825 of the team’s 1678 points thus far (49 percent), while posting 451 of 913 rebounds (49 percent), 185 of 328 assists (56 percent) and 66 of 144 steals (46 percent).  The group boasts six of the Top 10 scorers, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Thirty-two of the team’s 72 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is second on the squad in double-figure scoring games with 15.  He paces the team in 3-pointer (51) and rebounding (6.5 rpg.), while he is second in scoring (11.3 ppg.), field goals (91), steals (17) and minutes played (29.2 mpg.).  Freshman Will Spradling and sophomore Martavious Irving rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in scoring at 5.9 and 4.9 points per game.  Spradling is first in free throw percentage (89.7) and second in assists (2.1 apg.) and steals (0.7 spg.), while he and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are just the second and third rookie guards to earn a start under head coach Frank Martin

This group was even more impressive during Pullen’s three-game suspension (UNLV, UMKC and North Florida games), as the Wildcats averaged nearly 80 points per game (79.7 ppg.), including the school’s first 100-point game of the season, while connecting on 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.  During this period, the team started three sophomores, one true freshman and one junior with three of the four double-digit scorers being either sophomores or freshmen led by McGruder’s 14.7 points per game.

Bench Points
One of the definite advantage of this year’s Kansas State squad is its depth and versatility.  The Wildcats have played at least nine players in each of its 23 games, including a high of 14 against No. 18/22 Gonzaga (11/22), Texas Southern (11/26), Emporia State (11/29) and Alcorn State (12/6).  The team has used this depth to its advantage, averaging 23.9 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its foes by a margin of 549-389.  The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 16 of 23 games, including a string of five straight games of at least 30 points from Nov. 16-26 for the first time under Frank Martin, while it posted 40 or more points of production in back-to-back games for just the second time under Martin and the first time since 2008-09.  The Wildcats scored 86 points from the bench against Duke (45) and Texas Southern (41), which is the most in consecutive games since they totaled 104 points in games against Idaho State (45, 1/3/09) and Chicago State (59, 1/5/09).  The team has seen a Big 12-high 12 different players record 72 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including 19 coming off the bench from seven separate players.  Sophomore Martavious Irving leads with five double-digit scoring efforts from the bench.            
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes.  Since he became coach, the Wildcats have scored 2,379 points off of 2,120 turnovers in 127 games, an average of 18.7 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which, the team has outscored its foes, 403-362.  The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in six games, including a season-best 33 points against Emporia State on Nov. 29.  The team has pressured their foes into 15 or more turnovers in 15 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison on Nov. 12.  Before the North Florida game on New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats were one of just four schools (Louisville, Washington and Cincinnati) to force each of their opponents into more turnovers than assists in every game.  The team’s streak of 17 consecutive games (which led the nation) holding a foe to more turnovers than assists ended on Dec. 31 when the Ospreys tallied 14 assists to just 11 turnovers.  It marked the first positive assist-to-turnover ratio for an opponent since Kansas had 16 assists and 11 turnovers in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 13, 2010.

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his final season at K-State.  With his team-high 21-point effort against No. 6 Kansas on Jan. 29, he moved into second place all-time in scoring in school history with 1,850 points, passing both Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94).  His current total of 1,868 points in 124 games is less than 250 points behind all-time leader Mike Evans, who had 2,115 points from 1974-78.  He became the first Wildcat since Jones in 1994 to eclipse the 1,800-point barrier in a career with his 21-point performance at No. 11/10 Texas A&M on Jan. 22, while he is the 19th player in the Big 12 era to top 1,800 points, including the second this season (LaceDarius Dunn).  He also ranks among the Top 5 in double-digit scoring games (94, 2nd) and 20-point games (34, t-3rd). 

Pullen ranks among the Top 10 in 18 career categories, including 17 in the Top 5 in school history.  Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goals attempted (763), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 267) in the win over Emporia State on Nov. 29 with four treys, breaking his second-place tie with Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) and passing former leader Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  He also became the school leader in steals with his 191st theft against the Jayhawks on Jan. 29, passing Henson’s 190 total from 1987-90.  With his six makes against Florida on Dec. 11, he became the first Wildcat since Bob Boozer (1956-59) to connect on 400 free throws in a career, while his five dimes against Texas Tech on Jan. 15 made him the first since Henson to dish out 400 assists.  His start against the Red Raiders also gave him 100 for his career, making him one of just four players (Ed Nealy, Henson and Blackman) to tally that many starts.  He ranks second in free throws attempted (588), games played (124) and minutes (3,601), third in consecutive starts (82), fourth in starts (105) and field goals attempted (1,430) and fifth in field goals made (576).  He is on pace to become the first Wildcat with 1,800 points, 400 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals.

Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
Senior guard Jacob Pullen became the first Wildcat to earn preseason All-American honors from the Associated Press, as he was named first team selection by the organization in early November.  Pullen, who has been selected to a number of All-American teams, was joined on the first team by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Duke’s Kyle Singler.  He was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading K-State to its first Elite Eight since 1988.  He was already been named a preseason All-American by a number of media outlets, including to the first team by ESPN.com, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, the second team by Dick Vitale and the third team by Athlon Sports.  He was also selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for both the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, while he was recently named one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award and the midseason Top 30 list for the Wooden Award.
McGruder Takes Off
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been one of the team’s most consistent all-around players this season, averaging 11.3 points on 45 percent shooting, including 41 percent from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals in 29.2 minutes per game.  The only player to start all 23 games, McGruder also paces the team in 3-point field goals (51), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (15), field goals (91), steals (17) and minutes.  He had a career day against UMKC on Dec. 23, setting highs in five categories, including points (24), field goals (eight), field goals attempted (14), 3-point field goals (seven) and 3-point field goals attempted.  His seven treys tied 10 others players for the fourth-most in a single-game in school history, while he was the first to do it since Jacob Pullen had seven against BYU in the NCAA Tournament.  Despite the presence of the school’s all-time leader in Pullen, McGruder has been the team’s best long range threat with at least two makes from 3-point range in 16 of his 23 games.  All of 6-foot-4, he has also been the best rebounder, posting at least five boards in 18 contests, including a career-high 15 against Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  He has led the team in department on 11 occasions.  His 15 rebounds against the Red Raiders were the most by a Wildcat since Michael Beasley grabbed 17 against Missouri on Feb. 16, 2008.   

From Reserve to Starter
A reserve for much of his career, junior Jamar Samuels has made the most of his 10 consecutive starts, which has included the team’s first eight Big 12 opponents.  The reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, he is averaging 10.7 points in the span on 44.3 percent shooting (35-of-79), including 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from beyond the arc, to go with 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 28.2 minutes per game. Pressed into the starting lineup against North Florida due to an illness, Samuels earned his first start since the first game of his sophomore season with perhaps his best offensive day.  He collected his second career 20-point game, as he came up just one short of his career-high of 27 against Oklahoma State last season at the Big 12 Championships on March 11, 2010.  He went 11-of-15 from the field against Ospreys, including 2-of-3 effort from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 23 minutes.  He earned a near double-double against Texas Tech on Jan. 15, as he tallied a team-high 22 points on 8-of-12 field goals with nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 30 minutes.  Samuels is closing in on a feat that only eight other players have accomplished at K-State, as he is nearing 1,000 career points (889 currently) and 500 career rebounds (466).      

Coaching Staff Continuity
One of the main reasons that Kansas State has been able to win a school-record 72 games over the past three seasons has been its ability to not only keep head coach Frank Martin, who earned a new multi-year contract through the 2014-15 season during the off-season, but his entire staff, which includes associate head coach Dalonte Hill, assistants Matt Figger and Brad Underwood, director of operations Andy Assaley and strength coach Scott Greenawalt.  K-State is one of just two Big 12 schools (other being Missouri) to have kept their entire staff together for the last four seasons.  This has enabled the Wildcats to post 72 wins the past three seasons, which is the most by a coaching staff in their first three seasons and the most-ever by the school in that span.  They are the first staff to post three consecutive 20-win seasons since 1979-82 and just the second group to guide K-State to the postseason in each of their first three seasons.  The staff has also captured 30 Big 12 wins in last three years, which ties Jack Hartman’s staff from 1970-73 for the most in a three-year period.  They have also helped make the K-State one of just two in the Big 12 to finish in the top-4 in the league standings and receive a bye at the Big 12 Championship each of the past three years.

Season Tickets Sold Out
With preseason expectations for K-State at a near all-time high, officials announced on Oct. 22 that all reserved tickets for the 2010-11 season have been sold.  K-State has sold over 12,000 season tickets to the general public and students, surpassing last year’s total by over 750 tickets.  The school has ranked among the nation’s leaders in attendance in three of the last four seasons, including ranking 31st with an average of 11,884 fans per game to 17 home games in 2009-10.  The team also ranked fourth in attendance among Big 12 institutions and was second only to Kansas in sellouts with 14.  In addition, the school enjoyed the nation’s largest average attendance increase with nearly 3,000 more fans per game.  Three of the top-5 single-season attendance averages have come in the last four years.
Diaz, Gipson Sign with K-State for 2011-12
Head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of high school standouts Adrian Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Thomas Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas) to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 14.  Both players are listed on the Rivals150 by Rivals.com with the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Gipson listed at No. 142 and the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Diaz checking in at No. 145.  An emerging post prospect, Diaz is a senior at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in Hialeah, Fla.  As a junior, he averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Trojans.  Rated as the 13th-best prospect in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com, Gipson is a senior at Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill.  As a junior, he led in scoring (16 ppg.) and rebounding (7.2 rpg.) en route to helping the Longhorns to a 28-4 record and a trip to the 2010 Class 5A Tournament.  He was a TABC first team Class 5A All-State selection and was co-MVP of District 7-5A.  He helped Cedar Hill to the 2009 Class 5A state final as a sophomore where he averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.  He was named first team All-Area by the Dallas Morning News and was the District 7-5A Sophomore of the Year.