10/11 K-State Hits The Road For Ames
10/11 K-State Hits The Road For Ames
10/11 KANSAS STATE (18-4, 5-3 Big 12)
vs. Iowa State (13-9, 2-5 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, February 6, 2010
Tipoff: 1:05 p.m. CT
Location: Ames, Iowa | Arena: Hilton Coliseum (13,595)
Television: ESPN2 (Jon Sciambi, play-by-play; Mike Kelley, analyst; Anthony Holeman, producer) | Channel Directory: DirecTV 209 (DirecTV HD 72), Dish Network 144, AT&T U-Verse 606, Cox 33 | Internet: www.ESPN360.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst) | Live Stats: www.kstatesports.com | Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan) | Satellite Radio: n/a
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 61-28 (.685) in his third season at K-State. Iowa State - Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa '88) is 57-60 (.487) in his fourth season at ISU and 278-187 (.598) in his 15th season overall as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State beat Nebraska, 76-57, on the road on Tuesday night, while Iowa State lost at Baylor, 84-63, on Wednesday night.
Series: K-State leads 132-76 (K-State leads 48-44 in Ames) | Last time: K-State won 50-46 in Ames on Feb. 21, 2009 | Series Trend: K-State has won seven straight in the series | Frank Martin is 4-0 vs. Iowa State, while Greg McDermott is 0-6 all-time vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 10 in AP Top 25 and No. 11 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25. Iowa State is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: $15 (200 Level corners & end), $25 (200 Level sides) by calling ISU Athletic Ticket Office at 888.478.2925 or online at cyclones.com.
K-State continues road swing with Iowa State Saturday
Kansas State (18-4, 5-3 Big 12) continues its road swing on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats travel to Ames, Iowa to face Iowa State (13-9, 2-5 Big 12) at Hilton Coliseum at 1 p.m. CT. It will be the second of back-to-back road games for K-State and the second of four road games in a six-game stretch. Saturday's contest will match two of the better duos in the Big 12, as the Wildcat tandem of Jacob Pullen (19.0 ppg.) and Denis Clemente (15.0 ppg.) will match-up with the Cyclone pair of Craig Brackins (16.5 ppg.) and Marquis Gilstrap (14.5 ppg.). The quartet each rank among the top 15 scorers in the league in both overall and conference-only games. It will be the 209th meeting between K-State and Iowa State, including the 92nd in Ames. The two teams have met at least twice annually since 1918. The Wildcats own a 132-76 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1909, and have won seven straight over the Cyclones, including three in a row at Hilton Coliseum. It is the longest winning streak by either team in the series since K-State won eight consecutive from 1975 to 1977, while it is the longest winning streak in Ames for the Wildcats since winning six straight from 1972-77. The contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (analyst) on the call.
K-State returned to the Top 10 for the third time this season on Monday, as the Wildcats just one spot to a tie for 10th with Duke in The Associated Press poll. The squad moved two spots to No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. It marks the first time that the program has ranked among the AP Top 15 for five consecutive weeks since the 1961-62 squad was ranked among the AP Top 10 for 14 consecutive weeks from Dec. 19, 1961 to March 13, 1962. The Wildcats have ranked among the nation's Top 25 in both polls for eight consecutive weeks--the longest such streak since the 1972-73 season.
K-State earned its first win in Lincoln since 2006 on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats shot 49.2 percent in posting a 76-57 win over Nebraska at the Devaney Sports Center. The 19-point victory marked the largest margin of victory in a league road game since the inception of the Big 12, while it was the largest in Lincoln since a 27-point win (82-55) on Feb. 3, 1973. The team used their defensive pressure to force 16 Cornhusker turnovers, converting the miscues into at least 20 points for the 11th time this season. Senior Denis Clemente led four Wildcats in double figures with his game-high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, to go with a game-tying five assists. It marked the 10th time in the last 12 games that the squad has had four or more players score in double figures. Sophomore Jamar Samuels tallied a near double-double with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly added 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Kelly had at least five blocks for the fourth time this season. At 18-4, the Wildcats are off to their best start under head coach Frank Martin and their best mark since the 1961-62 squad opened the year with a 20-2 overall mark.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (81.0 ppg.) on 46.1 percent shooting (590-of-1280), including 35.9 percent from 3-point range (147-of-409), with 39.8 rebounds, 15.3 assists, 7.0 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 13 of 22 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 12 occasions. The 1,783 points scored are the second-most through 22 games, just behind the 1986-87 team who scored 1,796 in that span. The 81.0 points per game average is on pace to possibly break the school-record of 81.4 points averaged during the 1952-53 campaign. The 76.8 points per game average through the first eight league games are most for K-State since the start of Big 12 play and most in league play since averaging 83.3 points per game to start Big Eight play in 1986-87. The team is averaging nearly 35 points (34.8) per game in the paint, while ranking first nationally in most personal fouls drawn (25.7), and free throws attempted (31.7) per game and second in free throws made (20.7) per game. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 68.9 points on 41.6 percent shooting while averaging 20.9 points off of 17.6 turnovers per game. The team has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 11 games, including eight of the last 13 contests, while the 40 points off turnovers against South Dakota on Jan. 3 were the most-ever since the statistic began being kept in 2005-06. The squad is now 11-0 when scoring 20 or more points off their opponent miscues.
After Tuesday's win over Nebraska, the Wildcats are now 18-4 overall on the season, which is the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best in school history since the 1961-62 squad opened at 20-2. Only five other teams have fared better after 22 games in K-State history, as the 1958-59 team started 21-1, the 1957-58 and 1961-62 squads opened at 20-2 and the 1947-48 and 1950-51 teams posted 19-3 marks to start the year. The team needs two more wins to top 20 for the fourth consecutive season, which has never happened in school history, while the two wins would make Martin the first head coach in school history to post 20 wins in each of his first three seasons.
Dubbed a mid-season second team All-American by both Yahoo! Sports and The Sporting News, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 19.0 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (117), 3-point field goals (66), free throws (118), free throw percentage (79.2) and steals (34), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 15.0 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (89) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (748) this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.0) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. Clemente topped the 1,000-point plateau for his career (which includes his two-year stint at Miami) earlier this season against IUPUI and now ranks 10th in school history for points by a transfer (810). Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points with his 30-point effort against Alabama on Dec. 19. His 1,209 points in 89 career games ranks 11th all-time, while he has scored in double figures in all 22 games. His team-best 61 career double-digit scoring games rank 10th all-time in K-State history.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 12 points per game on a team-best 60.8 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 20 of 21 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 5.1 per game. He has scored in double figures in 17 of his 21 games played, including his second double-double against No. 1 Texas with 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 31 of Samuels' 32 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve with K-State holding a solid 25-6 record in these contests. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.2 points per game. Kelly, who is tied with Dominique Sutton for the team lead in double-doubles with two each, is shooting 55.8 percent from the field and ranks first with 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per contest. One of the Big 12's top defenders, Sutton is averaging 7.5 points on 50.8 percent shooting to go with 5.5 rebounds per game. Freshman Rodney McGruder has been solid of late, averaging 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in Big 12 play.
Postgame Notes vs. Nebraska
--Kansas State moved to 124-93 all-time against Nebraska, including 34-61 all-time in Lincoln... The 217 games played are the third-most against one opponent in school history, while the 124 wins are the second-most against one opponent behind the 132 against Iowa State... It marked the first win at the Devaney Sports Center since a 66-64 victory on March 1, 2006 and just the fourth in the last 14 meetings in Lincoln... The squad improved to 4-1 on the road this season and 8-2 away from Bramlage Coliseum, while it was just the third home loss for the Huskers this season.
--Kansas State's 19-point victory marked the largest margin of victory in a league road game since the inception of the Big 12 Conference... The previous high of 16 came against Colorado, occurring on Feb. 24, 2007 (87-71) and Jan. 23, 2008 (72-56)... It also marked the largest margin of victory in Lincoln since a 27-point win on Feb. 3, 1973 when the Wildcats won an 82-55 decision.
--The Wildcats' starting lineup was junior guard Jacob Pullen, senior guard Denis Clemente, junior forward Dominique Sutton, junior forward Curtis Kelly and senior center Luis Colon... It marked just the 10th time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 56 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 89... In addition, Sutton, who is second on the team with 63 consecutive games played, has started 39 consecutive games for the Wildcats.
--Kansas State scored 22 points off Nebraska turnovers, marking the 11th time this season (all wins) the Wildcats have scored at least 20 points off opponent's miscues... The Wildcats are 37-5 when scoring 20 or more points off turnovers under head coach Frank Martin.
--The Wildcats shot 49.2 percent from the field (29-of-59)... It was the seventh-highest field goal percentage this season.
--Senior Denis Clemente led four Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range... It marked the 13th 20-point effort of his career, including his fifth this season... His five 3-pointers tied his season-high (Washington State and Texas A&M), and one short of his career-high six at Texas last season... Sophomore Jamar Samuels totaled a near double-double with 15 points and team-high nine rebounds, while junior Curtis Kelly had 12 points, five rebounds and a game-high five blocks.
The Book on Iowa State
Iowa State enters Saturday's game with a 13-9 overall record and a 2-5 mark in Big 12 play after dropping an 84-63 decision at No. 20/24 Baylor on Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center. The Cyclones were down just four at the half (38-34) before the Bears scored 46 points in the second half on 51.4 percent shooting in the victory. Iowa State shot 43.6 percent from the field, including 46.7 percent in the first half, but were held to just 33.3 percent shooting from 3-point range. All-American candidate Craig Brackins led three players in double figures with 19 points, while Big 12 Newcomer of the Year candidate Marquis Gilstrap added 15 points.
Iowa State is averaging nearly 75 points per game (74.4) on the season on 46.9 percent shooting, including 41.1 percent from 3-point range, with 38.2 rebounds, 15.4 assists, 5.0 steals and 5.5 blocks per game. The squad is led by one of the Big 12's top scoring tandems of Brackins and Gilstrap, who combine to average 31.0 points per game. Brackins, a first team All-Big 12 honoree a year ago, is averaging a team-best 16.5 points on 44.6 percent shooting, including 36.7 percent from 3-point range, with 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 blocks in 34.5 minutes per game. Gilstrap, a junior college transfer, is averaging 14.5 points on 46.5 percent from the field, including 41.2 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 9.3 rebounds per contest. Diante Garrett is one of the league's best point guards, averaging 5.3 assists to go with 8.4 points per game. Guard LaRon Dendy is averaging 7.5 points on 58.1 percent shooting to go with 3.8 rebounds per game, while guard Scott Christopherson is big threat from beyond the arc, averaging 7.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting, including 50 percent from 3-point range.
Iowa State is led by head coach Greg McDermott, who has a 57-60 (.487) record in his fourth season at the helm. He has a 278-187 (.598) in 15th season as a head coach, which includes a stint at his alma mater, Northern Iowa, where he led the Panthers to three NCAA Tournament bids.
Series vs. Iowa State
This will be the 209th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Iowa State on the hardwood, including the 28th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 132-76 advantage in a series that dates back to 1909. It is the fourth-most played rivalry (208), while the 132 wins are the most against one opponent in school history. The two teams have played at least twice every year since 1918. The series has been ver competitive of late with K-State holding a 14-13 edge since the inception of the Big 12. The Wildcats have won seven straight in the series since 2006, including three straight at Hilton Coliseum. It is the longest winning streak by K-State since winning eight in a row from 1975-77, while the three wins in Ames are the most since winning six straight from 1972-77. Last season, the Wildcats swept the season series with a 65-50 win in Manhattan on Feb. 3 and then a 50-46 victory in Ames on Feb. 21. The meeting at Hilton Coliseum was the lowest scoring game in the series since a 54-39 win by K-State in Ames on March 5, 1949. Sophomore forward Craig Brackins led all players with a game-high 24 points, while redshirt freshman forward Jamar Samuels was the only Wildcat to score in double figures with 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
'Cats in February
Kansas State will look to improve its play in the month of February of late where the Wildcats have won just 14 of their last 25 games. The team is 400-331 (.547) all-time in February with nine wins in their last 12 games at home in the month dating back to the 2006-07 season. The Wildcats have won 13 of their last 24 Big 12 games in February dating back to 2006-07, including a 5-8 mark on the road. K-State has won three or more games in the month in each of the last three seasons, including a 6-2 mark in 2008-09, the most wins in February since the 1987-88 season. The team has posted a winning mark in February 45 times in school history, but just once in the last 17 seasons.
Knocking Off No. 1
With its 71-62 win over top-ranked Texas on Jan. 18, Kansas State knocked off a No. 1 team for just the third time in school history and the first time since beating No. 1 Kansas, 68-64, at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. It was the second win over a No. 1 team on the Bramlage Coliseum floor (including the first match-up of Top 10 teams in the arena's 22-year history) and the first since defeating No. 1 Missouri, 65-58, on Feb. 8, 1990. The contest against the Longhorns was 16th in the program's history against the No. 1 team and the first since losing to top-ranked Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002. The Wildcats are now 3-12 (.200) all-time against No. 1 teams with all three wins coming in the last seven meetings with a top-ranked squad. The game was also just the third match-up with a No. 1 team when K-State was also ranked, including just the second time when ranked in the Top 10. Those other occasions were both losses, as the then fourth-ranked Wildcats lost to top-ranked Kentucky in the NCAA Championship in Minneapolis on March 27, 1951 and when No. 14 K-State lost at home to No. 1 Missouri on Jan. 30, 1982.
Kansas State has shown the ability to be a solid rebounding team, as the Wildcats rank fourth in the Big 12 with an average of 39.8 rebounds per game. The squad is tops in the league at 15.7 offensive boards per game, while they are fourth in rebounding margin (+6.2). The Wildcats have grabbed 40 or more rebounds 10 times, including in five of the last 10 games, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards four times this season. The team posted 50 or more rebounds in back-to-back games against Cleveland State and South Dakota for the first time in back-to-back games since the 2007-08 season, while the squad grabbed 50 against the Big 12's top rebounding team (then No. 1 Texas) on Jan. 18, including 19 offensive boards which translated into a 23-10 edge in second chance points. The offensive rebound chances have helped the team average over 15 points per game (15.2) in second chance points, including 20 or more second chance points on five occasions this season.
Seizing on its Opportunities
Kansas State has capitalized this season on its opportunities from the free throw line, where the Wildcats rank first nationally in fouls drawn (25.7) and free throws attempted per game (31.7) and second in free throws made per game (20.7). The team ranks ahead of Wyoming in two of three categories nationally, trailing the Cowboys in free throws made (20.8) and just ahead in attempts per game (29.9). The team has connected on 20 or more free throws in 15 of their 22 games, including 11 of the last 15 contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 14 games. The team set near records for both categories against Colorado on Jan. 16 with 38 makes on 54 attempts. The 38 free throws are the fourth-most in school history (and the most-ever in a true road venue) and the second-most in the Big 12 era behind the 39 against Baylor at home on Feb. 13, 1999. The 54 attempts are the third-most in school history (and the most-ever in a league game as well as a road venue) and the most in a game since the Wildcats set the school mark with 56 attempts against Purdue at home on Dec. 1, 1958. The team has at least 40 attempts in six games.
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent's miscues. Since he became K-State's head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 1,700 points off of 1,501 turnovers in 89 games, an average of 19.1 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past three years have come off of offense generated from opponent turnovers. In 2007-08, the Wildcats scored 18.9 points per game off of 16.2 turnovers per game, while in 2008-09, the team scored 25.7 points off of an average of 17.0 turnovers. This year has not been any different with the squad averaging 20.9 points off of 17.6 opponent mistakes per game. K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers 11 times, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most since the stat began being kept in 2005-06. The squad also scored 20 or more off of miscues against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), WSU (39), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29), Cleveland State (30), Texas A&M (23), Colorado (23) and Nebraska (22). The team has a 37-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Frank Martin, including an 11-0 mark this season.
Quite A Duo
Senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen have become quite the scoring duo for the Wildcats in their two seasons together. The two have combined to score 1,700 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second on the team in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.0 points per game through 22 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 19.0 points per game. The 34.0-point combined average is the third-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and just ahead of Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5) and Steve Henson and Jean Derouillere in 1989-90 (33.1). As a pair, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 30.4) guard tandem in school history since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. They have combined to score 20 or more points 48 times in 54 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 33 occasions. After a recent slump, in which, the two combined to shoot just 22.6 percent from the field against No. 1/1 Texas and Oklahoma State, the duo seemed to get back on track against No. 24 Baylor, connecting on 50 percent from the field, including 60 percent from 3-point range, with a combined 42 points. It marked the ninth time the pair has combined to score 40 or more points (in 54 career games together). They were perhaps at their best in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, as the two combined for 50 points on 57.1 percent shooting (16-of-28) from the field, including 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from 3-point range, in the win. The game against the Rebels was just the fourth in which both players have topped 20 or more points in the same contest following Kansas on Feb. 14, 2009, No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22, 2009 and Washington State on Dec. 5, 2009.
Clemente Dishes Out the Dimes
Known for his scoring ability, senior Denis Clemente has shifted his focus this season to set others up for scoring opportunities. The team leader in assists at 89 through 22 games, Clemente ranks 56th nationally and third in the Big 12 with a solid 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has had fewer than two turnovers in all but eight games this season, while dishing out at least four assists in 12 games. His assist-to-turnover ratio has been even better in the last 16 games, where he has handed out 74 assists to just 32 turnovers for a solid 2.31 ratio. He posted a season-high nine assists in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, while he tallied eight against both South Dakota on Jan. 3 and No. 1/1 Texas on Jan. 18 and seven against Cleveland State on Dec. 29. Clemente has tallied five more assists in nine games this season, including three times in Big 12 play.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season. After his 13-point effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2, he became just the 11th player in school history to eclipse 1,200 career points and the first since NBDL All-Star Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07) in 2006. Pullen passed All-American Jack Parr (1,184, 1955-58) for 11th place all-time on the scoring chart with his 22-point outing against No. 2 Kansas on Jan. 30 and now needs 43 points to top Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82) and jump into the school's all-time Top 10. He would have to average over 23 points over the course of the rest of this year (eight regular season) and next season (typically 31 regular-season games) to come close to topping the all-time mark of 2,115 points set by Mike Evans from 1974-78. He became the 21st player to tally 1,000 career points, including the eighth guard, with his fourth 3-point field goal of the first half against Alabama on Dec. 19.
Pullen ranks in the top 5 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted in school history, ranking third in both attempts with 517 and makes with 181. After moving past Cartier Martin (178/437 attempts; 2003-07) in both makes and attempts in the past eight games, he now sets his sights on eclipsing two of the best 3-point shooters in school history in Askia Jones (237/624 attempts; 1989-94) and Steve Henson (240/537 attempts; 1987-90). Pullen has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 18 of the last 21 games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12. In that span, he is connecting on 42.1 percent (64-of-152) of his shots from beyond the arc.
More on Pullen
In addition to moving up several scoring charts, Jacob Pullen is also ascending the school's record book in both assists and steals. He became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston on Nov. 19 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off. With his two steals against Colorado on Jan. 16, he is now all alone in third place in school history in the category and needs just six to move ahead of Askia Jones (133, 1989-94) for second place and is 62 back of leader Steve Henson (190; 1986-90). He moved into the career Top 10 in assists with his 248th vs. Washington State on Dec. 5 and is now in fifth place with 292 assists. He moved passed Anthony Beane (290; 1992-94) for fifth place against Nebraska on Feb. 2 and now needs eight more to become the fifth Wildcat with 300 or more assists and the first since Clent Stewart (395; 2004-08) in 2007. Henson is all-time leader in assists with 582 from 1986-90. Pullen needs just 19 3-pointers to join Steve Henson (1987-90) and Askia Jones (1989-94) as the only players in school history with 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 250 assists and 100 steals.
Although he slipped slightly below his 20-point average, Pullen has the opportunity to become just the second Wildcat to average 20 points in the last 25 seasons, following Michael Beasley, who set the school record with his 26.2-point average in 2007-08. Prior to Beasley, the last Wildcat to average 20 points was Askia Jones in 1993-94 at 22.1 points and prior to that, it was Mitch Richmond in 1987-88 at 22.3 points per game.
Kelly Becoming a Factor Down Low
Junior Curtis Kelly is starting to develop his game down low for the Wildcats after sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from UConn. A starter in all 22 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game on 55.8 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.3) and blocks (2.0) per contest. He had perhaps his best all-around game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 field goals with eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 32 minutes of action. Kelly was also the principle defender of Texas' Damion James, holding the national and Big 12 Player of the Year candidate to just nine points on 3-of-12 field goals with seven rebounds and four turnovers. He is tied for the team lead with two double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort against current Top 25 foe Ole Miss on Nov. 20 and an 11-point, 11-rebound effort against IUPUI on Nov. 28. Kelly has scored in double figures 14 times, including in back-to-back games in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the team in rebounding in eight contests. He has shot over 60 percent in 10 games, including connecting on 81.8 percent (9-of-11) in the opener against Loyola Chicago with a career-best 22 points. The team leader in blocked shots, he has at least one block in 18 games, including two or more in 12 games, with a career-best six against South Dakota.
Samuels a Super Sub
Sophomore Jamar Samuels is emerging as an early candidate to become the second Wildcat to earn the Big 12's Sixth Man of the Year award, as he boosts the team off the bench at 12 points and five rebounds per outing. Samuels, who is third in scoring at 12 points per game, had a breakout game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, posting his second double-double with 20 points and a career-best 12 rebounds against one of the best frontcourt tandems (Damion James and Dexter Pittman) in the nation. The 20-point outing was the third of his career (second this season) and just one point off his career-best of 21 scored against Fort Hays State (No. 8 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, while his 12-rebound effort was just the second double-digit rebounding game of his career. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 17 times with 16 of those coming off the bench, including in 12 of the last 14 games. For his career, 31 of Samuels' 32 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. He is averaging 9.7 points on 56.4 percent (173-of-307) in 52 career games off the bench, including 12 points per game on a team-best 61.3 percent shooting this season. He has been solid since the start of league play, averaging 12.1 points on a team-best 62.7 percent shooting (37-of-59) and 5.1 rebounds per game. His 37 field goals in Big 12 play trail only Denis Clemente (43) and one ahead of Jacob Pullen (36) through eight games.
McGruder Off the Bench
Freshman Rodney McGruder has become a real spark off the bench for the Wildcats in the last six games, averaging 7.8 points on 58.1 percent shooting (18-of-31), including 50 percent (6-of-12) from 3-point range, with 5.7 rebounds per game. He has also averaged 21 minutes per contest during the span, including a season-best 25 minutes of action against Colorado on Jan. 16. The stretch began with a 10-point, five-rebound effort in a win over the Buffaloes and continued with a solid all-around outing (11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) in a win over top-ranked Texas on Jan. 18. He combined to shoot nearly 73 percent in games against Oklahoma State and Baylor, including 66.7 percent from beyond the arc, with back-to-back 10-point efforts. McGruder opened the year with three straight double-digit scoring efforts, including a 20-point performance against Boston University in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 19. He connected on 5-of-6 from the field against the Terriers, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Often overlooked by high school teammate Wally Judge, he was named the 2009 Florida Times-Union Player of the Year as a senior at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonvile, Fla., where he averaged nearly 23 points on 51.5 percent shooting. He had a career-high 34 points in the Class 2A state title game and single-handedly out-scored the opposition, 24-23, in the first half of the contest.
The D Stands for Defense
Junior Dominique Sutton is starting to state his case as one of the premier defenders not just in the Big 12 but nationally. Sutton, who has been regularly assigned the opponent's top offensive performer for much of his career, has really established himself as a top-line defender this year. During a stretch that has included the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, UNLV's Derrick Jasper, Colorado's Alec Burks and Kansas' Xavier Henry, Sutton has held his opponents to a collective 42 shooting percentage (59-of-140), including a 27.8 percent (10-of-36) mark from 3-point range. Thompson, who entered the game on Dec. 5 as the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, shot just 5-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-4 from long range, with one assist and nine turnovers. Although Thompson scored 22 points in the contest, 11 of those came from the free throw line. Crawford, another pro prospect, managed 16 points (five from the line) against Sutton, but shot just 5-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-5 from 3-point range, with one assist and three turnovers. Jasper was held scoreless for the first time in his UNLV career, going 0-of-3 from the field. Sutton held Colorado's Alec Burks to just 4-of-11 shooting from the field with 14 points (including six from the line) and three miscues, while freshman phenom Xavier Henry scored just six points on 3-of-5 shooting with four turnovers. He also played a role in the defense of Texas A&M star Donald Sloan, who was held to just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting with three turnovers.
Colon Back To Action
Senior Luis Colon made his long awaited debut against No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, scoring one point and grabbing five rebounds in 15 minutes of action off the bench. Colon, who was also hurt in the preseason, missed the first nine games off the season due to an off-the-court issue that has since been resolved. A key cog to the Wildcat attack last season, he was one of two players (along with Jacob Pullen) to start all 34 games a year ago, averaging 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds per game. Colon, who is averaging 2.2 points and 3.6 rebounds, has started nine of the last 10 games, including eight consecutive games dating back to the Missouri game on Jan. 9. His biggest impact has been on the defensive end of the court, where he played a huge role in limiting Texas' Dexter Pittman to six points and seven rebounds in the win on Jan. 18.
Clemente Tops 1,000
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28. Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 810 points his two-year career on 39.3 percent shooting (277-of-704) from the field, including 34.1 percent (104-of-305) from 3-point range, in 54 games. He broke into the school's top 10 for career points by a transfer with his 23-point effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2, surpassing Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96). With his current scoring average (15.0 ppg.), he has the opportunity to finish third all-time on the list behind Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) and Willie Murrell (1,112; 1962-64).
Senior Denis Clemente was named one of 20 finalists for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award, which recognizes college basketball's top point guard, on Jan. 5. The annual award, which is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy, is presented by The Hartford Financial Services and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Clemente was one of 72 candidates originally nominated for the award in early December, which included players from all three divisions.
Clemente made the cut to the final 20, which includes only one other player from the Big 12 (Kansas' Sherron Collins). The list also includes Ole Miss' Chris Warren, Cincinnati's Deonta Vaughn, South Carolina's Devan Downey, Maryland's Greivis Vasquez, Harvard's Jeremy Lin, Cal's Jerome Randle, Kentucky's John Wall, Duke's Jon Scheyer, Michigan State's Kalin Lucas, Connecticut's Kemba Walker, Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, Michigan's Manny Harris, Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin, Arizona's Nic Wise, Siena's Ronald Moore, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, Penn State's Talor Battle and Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes.
Clemente, who helped guide K-State to its third Top 10 ranking of the season on Monday, has the team off to the sixth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 season with their current 18-4 overall record. The season has included a 10-game winning streak, which tied five other teams for the ninth-longest in school history and the longest since the 1993-94 team also won 10 in a row. He is the team's second-leading scorer (and 13th in the Big 12) at 15.0 points per game and has scored in double figures in 19 of the team's 22 games. The team leader in assists at 4.0 per game, he is second in field goals (110) and 3-point field goals (45). He ranks third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), while he is seventh in minutes played (33.5) and ninth in both assists and 3-point field goals made per game (2.0).
The list of 20 candidates for the award will be narrowed down to a final 10 by Feb. 1 and a final five by March 1. A Hall of Fame appointed screening committee will be narrowing down the candidates from 20 to 10 to 5 prior to the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee evaluating the final five candidates and ultimately choosing the winner. The winner will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on April 5 in Indianapolis as part of the Final Four weekend.
It's Over But Still a Big Accomplishment
--Kansas State saw its 10-game winning streak end against Missouri on Jan. 9, ironically the same opponent that ended its last 10-game streak in 1993-94. During the streak, K-State averaged 84.1 points on 47.8 percent shooting, including 39.1 percent from 3-point range. The team scored at least 70 points in all 10 games and connected on 45 percent or better in six contests. The Wildcats held their foes to 68.8 points during the stretch on 43.2 percent shooting, including 31.9 percent from 3-point range. The team also held an impressive averaging rebounding margin of 8.0.
--During the winning streak, the Wildcats earned wins over six teams with RPI ratings in the top 100, including four in the top 50 (according to RealTimeRPI.com). Also included in those wins are two over Top 25 opponents (No. 18/21 Dayton and No. 18/17 UNLV), marking the first time in over 50 years that a Wildcat team has beaten two Top 25 foes during the non-conference season and first since the 1958-59 squad defeated No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958 in Kansas City, Mo.
--Junior Jacob Pullen paced three players in double figures during the 10-game streak at 22.5 points per game. He connected on 49.2 percent from the field, including 51.4 percent from the 3-point range, while adding highs in both field goals (65), 3-point field goals (38) and steals (13). Senior Denis Clemente averaged 15.1 points on 40.7 percent shooting with a team-high in assists (47). The two combined to average 37.6 points per game during the stretch. Sophomore Jamar Samuels also scored double figures at 12.3 points per game on a team-best 60 percent shooting.
Martin Earns Coaching Honor From CollegeInsider.com
Head coach Frank Martin was honored for Kansas State's terrific start to the season on Dec. 30, as CollegeInsider.com named him the Jim Phelan award winner as the mid-season National Coach of the Year. Martin has K-State off to its best start since the 1961-62 season and the sixth-best start in school history with its current 18-4 record. Only five other teams - 1947-48, 1950-51, 1957-58, 1958-59 and 1961-62 teams - have a better record after 22 games in school history. The team earned its third Top 10 ranking of the season in The Associated Press poll on Feb. 1, as the Wildcats jumped one spot to a tie for 10th with Duke. Also on Monday, the Wildcats climbed two spots to No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll. It is the second-highest ranking (ranked ninth on Jan. 18) in the AP since being ninth on March 13, 1973. On Jan. 18, Martin guided K-State to just third-ever win over a No. 1 team and the first since 1994 with a 71-62 victory over then No. 1 Texas. The win over No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 24 gave the Wildcats four wins over Top 25 teams for the first time ever in the regular season.
Although it was ended at Missouri on Jan. 9, K-State posted its longest winning streak in more than 15 years earlier this season when the team won 10 straight from Nov. 22, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010. The 10-game winning streak was the longest since also winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season and just the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history. The squad completed December perfect for just the eighth time and the first time since the 1998-99 season with their 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Dec. 29. During the streak, the team knocked off two ranked non-conference teams (No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22 and No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12) for the first time since the 1958-59 season (beat No. 4 N.C. State and No. 14 St. Joseph's on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958). The 13 non-conference wins tie for the 1993-94 team for the most in school history, while the .928 non-league winning percentage is the best. He needs four wins to eclipse Lon Kruger (64-31; 1986-89) for wins by a head coach in his first three seasons, while two more wins would make him the first coach to have three 20-win seasons to start a career.
The Jim Phelan award is presented annually to the top Division I coach in college basketball by Collegeinsider.com. Prior to the 2003 season, the award was known simply as the CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year. It was renamed to honor longtime Mount. St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan who retired following the 2002-03 season. Previous winners of the award include John Calipari (Memphis, 2009), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2008), Tony Bennett (Washington State, 2007), Ben Howland (UCLA, 2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003). The 2010 award will be presented on April 2 at the Final Four in Indianapolis.