K-State travels to No. 9 Kansas Wednesday

Game 24

RV/RV Kansas State (17-6, 6-2 Big 12)
at 9/8 Kansas (19-4, 6-2 Big 12)

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007

Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) in Lawrence, Kan.

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. Central

Series: Kansas leads 170-89

(Kansas leads 77-35 in Lawrence, Kan.)

TV: ESPN Plus 

Talent: Dave Armstrong (Play-by-Play)

and Paul Splittorff (Analyst)

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

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

Yahoo! Radio

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

 

K-State continues tough stretch with road contest at Kansas on Wednesday

Kansas State (17-6, 6-2 Big 12) concludes its stretch of back-to-back road games against ranked foes, as the Wildcats put their seven-game winning streak to the ultimate test against ninth-ranked Kansas (19-4, 6-2 Big 12) at famed Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan., beginning at 8:05 p.m.  The Wildcats, who ended a 31-game losing streak to the Jayhawks in a 59-55 win last season, will be looking to win back-to-back games at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since 1988 and 1989.

The game will be televised regionally on ESPN Plus (KMCI - Kansas City; KSAS - Wichita; KSNT - Topeka) with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Paul Splittorff (color) calling the action.  It will be the fifth of 12 regional broadcasts on the Big 12’s television package for the Wildcats.  The audio broadcast can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call.
 

Kansas State, which ended a 29-game losing streak to ranked foes on the road in the 73-72 win over No. 22/23 Texas on Saturday, have won 13 of its last 16 games since starting the season at 4-3, which includes separate seven- and six-game winning streaks.  The team has also strung together six straight wins in league play for the first time since also winning six in a row from Jan. 16 to Feb. 6, 1988.  The Wildcats, who will be looking to win four straight league road games for the first time since 1979-80 season, have a tough task against the Jayhawks, who have not lost back-to-back home games since 1989.


Noting the Texas Game

*With the win, Kansas State improved to 9-7 all-time against Texas, including 5-3 in Austin, Texas... It was the first win over the Longhorns in the series since upsetting the 10th-ranked team, 58-48, in Manhattan, Kan., on March 6, 2004... It was also the first in Austin in the Big 12 era and the first since a 51-43 non-conference win on Jan. 8, 1983... The win also halted Texas’ 22-game home winning streak and its 11-game home streak in Big 12 games.


*The win was Kansas State’s first over a ranked opponent on the road in more than 10 years (snapping a streak of 29 straight losses) since beating No. 23 Iowa State, 92-87, on Feb. 28, 1996... It was also the first over a ranked foe since beating the 10th-ranked Longhorns, 58-48, on March 6, 2004.


*The 17-6 record represents the best start by the Wildcats since head coach Jack Hartman’s 1981-82 Sweet 16 squad also produced a 17-6 mark after 23 games... The win total also ties for the most by a Kansas State squad (the 2003-04 team also produced 17) since the team posted a 20-13 record in 1998-99... The six league victories tie for the second-most (6-10 done four times) by K-State in the Big 12 era... The last time the Wildcats had more than six wins in a league season was 1998-99 when the squad won seven (7-9)... The 6-2 mark in conference play is the best ever through eight games since joining the Big 12 and best league start since the 1987-88 squad started Big Eight play with six straight victories.


*The 14 3-point field goals against Texas were a season-high and the most by a Wildcat squad since it posted 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000... The 51.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc was also a season-high and the highest since shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) against Oregon State in 2002.


*The six turnovers tied for the fewest this season (North Dakota State on Dec. 9), while the 19 assists were sixth-most and the most in conference play.

 

*Senior Cartier Martin paced three Wildcats in double figures with 27 points on 9-of-17 field goals, including a career-best 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc... The 27 points was one off his career-high of 28 (vs. Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18, 2006)... He has scored in double figures in seven straight games dating back to the start of K-State’s current winning streak, including 20 or more points in three of the last four games... Martin now has 22 20-point scoring games (which ties him with Jeremiah Massey for the 10th-most all-time at K-State) and 64 career double-figure scoring games.


*Senior Lance Harris broke out of his recent shooting slump with 19 points on 7-of-14 field goals, including 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range... It marked the eighth time this season he has had three or more treys in a game... Junior David Hoskins scored in double figures for the 16th consecutive game with 13 points against Texas... He also added a game-high nine rebounds and a season-high five assists (against no turnovers).


RPI Update

In this week’s RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) ratings, the formula used by the NCAA to help determine which teams go to the post-season tournament, Kansas State ranks between Nos. 37-42.  A team’s RPI is sum of three values: the team’s winning percentage, its opponents’ average winning percentage (strength of schedule) and its opponents’ opponents’ average winning percentage.  This week, K-State’s best RPI ratings are from CollegeRPI.com (37) and RealTimeRPI.com (37), Mike Greenfield’s Team RPI (41) and CBS Sportsline’s RPI (42), while the team is rated 40th in the latest Sagarin rankings.


Winning Streak Among the Best

Kansas State’s current seven-game winning streak is not only the longest current streak in the Big 12, but it is also ties three other squads for the 10th-longest at the Division I level.  The Wildcats join Albany, Marquette and OhioState with seven straight victories.  Currently, Florida has the longest streak at 14 games, while East Tennessee State, Holy Cross and Memphis are second with 11 wins each.  South Alabama is third with 10 straight victories, Central Connecticut State and Winthrop is fourth with nine each and Akron and Butler are fifth with eight apiece. 

 

K-State’s winning streak is the longest by the program since winning eight straight to start the 2004-05 season.  It marks the second time this season that the Wildcats have put together a streak of six or more games, as the team won six straight from Dec. 5-23, 2006.  In all, K-State has 13 of its last 16 contests since starting the season at 4-3.  The team’s current six-game conference winning streak is the longest in the Big 12 era and the longest since also winning six straight from Jan. 16 to Feb. 6, 1988. 


Dialing From Long Distance

After entering the game with a Big 12-worse 5.64 three-point field goals per game, Kansas State proved itself capable from long distance on Saturday against nationally-ranked Texas with a season-best 14 treys.  The total not only surpassed the previous high of 11 against ColoradoState on Dec. 2, 2006 but also represented the most since collecting 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000.  The Wildcats also converted on a team-high 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from 3-point range against the Longhorns, its highest percentage since shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) against Oregon State on Dec. 22, 2002.  The team got treys from three players -- Cartier Martin (7), Lance Harris (5) and Clent Stewart (2) -- and it marked the first time since Nebraska in 2000 that two players had five or more 3-pointers in the same game when Galen Morrison and Cortez Groves posted seven and five, respectively. 

 

Of note, Harris and Martin are the two of the best players in K-State history shooting the 3-pointer, as the two rank among the top 5 in makes and attempts in their careers.  Martin is fourth in makes (139) and attempts (351) and sixth in percentage (39.6), while Harris is third in attempts (383) and fifth in makes (135).


Role Reversal

One of the major obstacles for Kansas State during the past few seasons has been its ability to win close games.  Last season, the Wildcats ranked first in the nation with a school-record 10 losses by single-digits, including seven by three points or less.  However, head coach Bob Huggins has clearly made a difference in this department in his first season, as the team has posted a 6-2 mark in games decided by single-digits, including wins in three of five decided by one possession (four points or less).  Of note, all three of these wins - North Dakota State, Missouri and Texas  - have come on the road.


Dissecting the Streak

It is easy to determine the reasons for Kansas State’s recent seven-game winning streak, as the Wildcats have relied on their stars and stifling defense to post its second victory streak of six or more games this season.  The team’s top three scorers - Cartier Martin (18.7 ppg), David Hoskins (16.7 ppg.) and Lance Harris (13.3 ppg.) - have combined to score 341 of the Wildcats’ 510 points during the streak on 46.1 percent shooting (111-of-241).  The trio have also connected on a stunning 88.1 percent (89-of-101) of their free throw attempts.  The team has also held its last seven foes to a combined 61.0 points per game on just 38.6 percent shooting, including just 25.9 percent from 3-point range, while holding a 8.4 rebounding margin.


Super Sub

A staple of the starting line-up in previous seasons, senior Cartier Martin has been particularly effective off the bench this season.  He has scored in double figures in eight of the 10 games he has not started for the Wildcats, including four 20-point performances against UMES (23) on Dec. 19, Chicago State (25) on Jan. 22, Missouri (22) on Jan. 31 and Texas (27) on Feb. 3.  He is averaging 16.9 points on 49.1 percent shooting (57-of-116) in 10 games off the bench this season with 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 27.1 minutes per game.  Martin has been even better in that role in the last six games, averaging 19.3 points on 56.5 percent shooting, including 53.8 percent from 3-point range, with 6.3 rebounds in 26.2 minutes. 


Kansas
State
has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 23.6 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 17 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 25.5 points off the bench and have outscored their opponent by a 434-246 margin.  The streak came on the heels of being outscored 67-47 off the bench in games against New Mexico, CoppinState and California.  The most telling aspect of the recent bench play has been its diversity.  The team has gotten significant scoring from 10 different players off the bench.


The Book on Kansas (19-4, 6-2 Big 12)

Kansas enters Wednesday’s contest with a 19-4 overall record and 6-2 mark in Big 12 Conference play after dropping a 69-66 decision to No. 8 Texas A&M on Saturday night at home.  The Jayhawks shot just 42.1 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times, as the team lost to the Aggies for the first time in school history and for the first time ever against a South Division opponent at home.  Freshman guard Sherron Collins led three players in double figures for Kansas with 18 points on 6-of-9 field goals, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, while sophomore forward Julian Wright added a double-double with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.  Sophomore guard Brandon Rush added 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting and six rebounds. 

 

Kansas is averaging 77.2 points on 48.4 percent shooting with 39.7 rebounds and 16.7 assists on the season.  The youthful Jayhawks with no seniors on their squad have four players averaging in double figures led by Kansas City, Mo., native Brandon Rush, who averages 14.1 points on 42.2 percent shooting to go with a team-best 43 3-point field goals and 6.0 rebounds per game.  Sophomore guard Mario Chalmers averages 11.6 points on 48.5 percent shooting to go with 3.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game, while sophomore forward Julian Wright adds 11.3 points per game on 53 percent shooting with a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game.  Freshman guard Darrell Arthur posts 10.7 points per game on 52.6 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds per game.  Ironically, Kansas and Kansas State has both lost to the same two teams (Texas A&M and Texas Tech) in Big 12 play this season.


Kansas
is led by veteran coach Bill Self, who has posted a 298-133 mark in his 14th season as head coach that includes stints at Oral Roberts (1993-97), Tulsa (1997-2000), Illinois (2000-03) and Kansas (2003-present).  He is 91-28 in his fourth season at the Jayhawks’ helm.  Self is 7-1 all-time against KansasState, including a 3-1 mark in games played in Lawrence.  This will be the first meeting between Self and Bob Huggins in seven seasons since Self’s Tulsa squad posted a 69-61 win over Huggins’ Cincinnati team in the second round of the NCAA South Regional on March 19, 2000.


Series versus Kansas

This will be the 260th meeting between Kansas State and Kansas in a series that dates back to 1907.  The Jayhawks lead the all-time series, 170-89, including a 77-35 advantage in games played in LawrenceKansas, which holds a 24-1 mark in the series since the inception of the Big 12, has won 32 of its last 33 meetings with Kansas State, including 11 of 12 in Allen Fieldhouse.  Last season, the Wildcats ended a 31-game losing streak to the Jayhawks with a 59-55 victory in Lawrence, Kan., on Jan. 14, 2006.  It was the first win in the series in nearly 12 years since K-State toppled top-ranked Kansas, 68-64, at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994.  The ream rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit in slugging out the victory, as the Wildcats shot 57.1 percent in the second half, while holding the Jayhawks to just 25.9 percent shooting.  Guard Clent Stewart posted a team-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while forward Cartier Martin added 14 points despite playing just 26 minutes due to foul trouble.  Guard Akeem Wright also added a game-high 10 rebounds and five assists (to zerio turnovers).  The Wildcats have not registered back-to-back wins in Allen Fieldhouse over the Jayhawks since earning a 72-61 win on Jan. 30, 1988 and a 71-70 win on Jan. 28, 1989.  Kansas returned the favor later that season and continued their dominance in Manhattan (lost 23 straight to their rivals at home, including all 18 meetings in Bramlage Coliseum) with a 66-52 win on March 4, 2006. 

 

Hoskins Emerging As A Leader

One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State’s improved play of late has been due to the emergence of junior David Hoskins.  He has averaged a team-leading 16.4 points in the last 16 games on 47.9 percent shooting with 6.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game.  His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 15 in four categories, including ninth in free throw percentage (78.7), 13th in scoring (14.7 ppg.) and 16th in rebounding (5.9 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is ninth in scoring (17.0 ppg) and 14th in rebounding (6.8 rpg). 

 

The streak of 16 consecutive double-digit scoring efforts began with a 17-point effort against Cleveland State on Dec. 5 and continued with 14 points against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  Hoskins continued his impressive play in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic, where he was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 15.8 points on 70 percent shooting to go with a team-best 5.8 rebounds.  He was team’s leading scorer against Xavier with 17 points before adding 11 points at Texas A&M.  Hoskins came through in a big way offensively against Texas Tech on Jan. 8, posting 23 points on 7-of-13 field goals.  He stepped his game even more in wins over Iowa State and Chicago State with back-to-back double-doubles, posting 22 points on 9-of-17 field goals against the Cyclones with a career-high 11 rebounds in 36 minutes before totaling 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Cougars on Jan. 22.  He tallied his fourth 20-point game against Missouri on Jan. 31 with a team-leading 25 points. 

 

In addition, Hoskins has been impressive from the free throw line during the 16-game streak, connecting on 82.1 percent (96-of-117), including 81.8 percent (27-of-33) in the last five minutes. 


Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 17-6 record to start the season.  The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in four defensive categories in the Big 12, including second in 3-point percentage defense (28.4), third in rebounding (37.9), fourth in field goal percentage defense (39.9) and fifth in scoring defense (64.1).  The squad has been even more impressive in league play, where they rank first in 3-point percentage defense (27.7), fourth in both scoring defense (65.2) and rebounding margin (4.5) and sixth in field goal percentage defense (41.9).  The team has held 20 of its 23 opponents to below 80 points, including 10 of its last 14 under 70 points.  Only seven foes have shot above 45 percent from the field.


After giving up an average of 81 points in back-to-back losses to California and ColoradoState, the Wildcats have clamped down on defense in the last 16 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 62.4 points on 39.7 percent shooting (345-of-869), including just 24.5 percent (67-of-273) from 3-point range, during the stretch.  In addition, K-State has forced an average of 16.0 turnovers and tallied an average of 5.8 steals during the stretch. 


During the course of the season, the defensive effort has produced marks that the Wildcats haven’t seen in years and even decades.  Kansas State held ChicagoState and Nebraska to a combined 81 points; the lowest two-game point total since allowing UMKC (39) and Coppin State (36) a combined 75 points on Dec. 19 and 21, 1998.  Against Chicago State, the Wildcats held the Cougars to just 36 points on 22.2 percent shooting, marks which tied or set new marks for lows by an opponent in Bramlage Coliseum.  It marked the fewest points allowed an opponent since CoppinState also scored 36 on Dec. 21, 1999.  In the win over Rutgers on Nov. 15, K-State held the Scarlet Knights to 41 points on just nine field goals and 19.1 percent shooting.  The nine field goals are the fewest allowed since the Wildcats held Washburn a school-record seven in a 23-15 win on Dec. 6, 1940, while the 41 points are the fewest points allowed on an opponent’s court since the shot clock and fewest since allowing Nebraska 39 on March 6, 1984.


Road Warriors

After struggling for most of the past decade on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with Big 12-leading seven victories away from Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since the 1995-96 season.  The team also has five true’ road wins - at Rutgers, North Dakota State, Missouri, Iowa State and Texas - already this season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Wildcats also captured five wins.  K-State has also won three consecutive conference road games for the first time since January 1988.  This is contrast to the previous seven seasons, in which, the team posted no more than four wins away from Manhattan in a season and compiled a 15-72 overall record, including a 10-63 mark in a true’ road venue.


Clutch Shooting

Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunites at the free throw line in the past seven games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 78.1 percent (132-of-169) from the charity stripe.  The team posted season-highs in free throws (37), free throws attempted (43) and free throw percentage (86.0) in the win over Missouri on Jan. 13.  The 37 free throws and 43 attempts are the most in a game since the Wildcats collected 39 makes on 51 attempts against Baylor on Feb. 13, 1999.  The total (37) was also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958.  In addition, the Wildcats have been particularly effective in the last five minutes from the stripe, knocking down 78.4 percent (58-of-74), including a combined 88 percent (22-of-25) in the two games with Missouri.  For the season, the team has connected on 70.3 percent (102-of-145) of its free throws in the last five minutes.


Offense Taking Flight

After managing just 61 points on 32.6 percent shooting against Nebraska on Jan. 27, the much-maligned Kansas State offense showed its tremendous potential in the win over Missouri on Jan. 31 by posting 80 or more points in a game for the seventh time this season.  It marked the first time the squad had topped the barrier since collecting 85 in its first meeting with the Tigers just 18 days earlier on Jan. 13.  Just 23 games into the season, the seven 80-point games by Wildcats surpass each of the yearly totals of the past seven seasons and are the most in a season since the 1998-99 season also had seven. The last time K-State posted more than seven 80-point contests in a single-season was the 1997-98 season when the team collected nine such games.       


Despite scoring less than 70 points in seven of its last 10 games, the team has still averaged averaged 73.7 points on 45.6 percent shooting in the last 17 contests after averaging just 66.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting in the first six games.  In doing so, the squad has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 16 of their last 34 halves of basketball, including 60 percent or better on four occasions.  During the first part of the streak, the Wildcats scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since the 1990-91 season.  Against Cleveland State, Kansas State shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the field (its highest percentage in nearly two seasons) and topped the 90-point barrier for just the second time this season.


Block Party

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

 

The team’s 97 blocks this season are the eighth-highest total in school history since the stat began being kept in 1982-83, while this year’s total is the highest in a single-season since the 2002-03 team produced 109 swats.  The Wildcats are on pace for 131 blocks during the regular season, which would be the second-most in a single-season in K-State history behind the 146 recorded in 1998-99.  On the other hand, Bennett’s 45 blocked shots have already established a freshman school record, shattering the previous mark of 24 by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96.  He is tied for sixth on school’s single-season top-10, while he is four swats away from the career top-10.  Bennett is on pace for 63 blocks, which would break Gerald Eaker’s single-season record of 59 set during the 1995-96 season.  He has recorded at least one block in 14 of 20 games, while his 2.25 per game average ranks first in the Big 12.


Taking Advantage of Turnovers

One of the biggest factors in Kansas State’s improved play of late has been its ability to force its opponent into turnovers and then to capitalize with points off those miscues.  The Wildcats’ stifling defense has forced an average of 16 turnovers (256), including an average of 5.8 steals, in the last 16 games, while averaging 18.4 points off those turnovers.  The team scored 65 points off a combined 51 turnovers in back-to-back wins over Kennesaw State and Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 17 and 19.  The 32 turnovers by UMES (which yielded 37 points) was just five short of the school record of 37 set by Vanderbilt in December 1969.  K-State continued with its pressure defense in the win over USC on Dec. 22, as the Wildcats forced a season-high 28 Trojan turnovers and converted those into 24 points.  The team scored 19 points off 15 New Mexico turnovers en route to capturing its first in-season tournament title since 1995.  K-State continued the trend in January by scoring 22 points off 16 Texas A&M miscues, 19 points off 15 Texas Tech turnovers and 23 points off 16 Missouri miscues.  The current average of 15.3 turnovers forced per game is the highest since the 1994-95 season averaged 16.7 turnovers.


Home Sweet Home

Kansas State has continued to make Bramlage Coliseum one of the toughest home venues in the Big 12, as the Wildcats have posted a 10-1 mark at home this season, including a perfect 7-0 mark in non-conference games.  The team has posted an impressive 71-24 (.747) mark at home since the start of 2001-02 season, including 10 or more wins each of the past six years.  With four home games remaining this season, the Wildcats have already clinched a winning record at home for the 61st consecutive season, which has spanned three arenas and nine head coaches dating back to the 1946-47 season.  The team has registered an 839-322 (.723) record in home games all-time, including a 211-81 (.723) mark in Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1988.    


Trio of Prolific Scorers

Kansas State has three players on its squad - seniors Cartier Martin and Lance Harris and junior David Hoskins - who rank among the school’s top 55 scorers.  Martin, who entered the school’s all-time top-10 with 15 points against Missouri on Jan. 13, became just the ninth player in school history to top 1,300 career points with his 27-point effort against No. 23 Texas on Feb. 3.  He now has 1,304 points after his effort against the Longhorns.  Harris now ranks 27th all-time with 908 points in his four-year career after scoring 19 points against Texas and needs just 28 points to crack the school’s top 25.  Martin (139) and Harris (135) ranks fourth and fifth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals.  Hoskins already ranks 53rd on the all-time scoring list with 704 points and can move into the top 50 with just 14 points.  It marks the first time since 1987-88 season (Mitch Richmond, Will Scott and Charles Bledsoe) that the Wildcats have had a 1,000-point scorer and a pair of 500-point scorers on the same team. 


Finding the Right Combination

After tinkering with the line-up for much of the season, head coach Bob Huggins has finally found a winning combination in each of the past six games with seniors Lance Harris and Akeem Wright manning the backcourt with junior point guard Clent Stewart, while junior David Hoskins and freshman Luis Colon battle down low in the frontcourt.  Before the last six games, Huggins had started 10 different line-ups, including a different one in 10 of 11 contests.  The only constant in the line-up has been David Hoskins, who has started 45 consecutive contests, including all 23 games this season. 


Huggins Effect

Although he has been Kansas State’s head coach for less than a season, the impact head coach Bob Huggins has had on the Wildcat program has been nothing short of monumental.  Huggins has not only gained the school widespread attention by media outlets, he has helped guide it to milestones not seen by the historically-rich program in some time.  For his efforts, the Huggins’ hiring was dubbed the 2006 sports story of the year in the state of Kansas by The Associated Press in late December.  Below are a few of the milestones achieved by Huggins in barely his first season at the helm.           


*For the first time in the 19-year history of Bramlage Coliseum all available season ticket packages have been sold... Season tickets went from 6,500 in 2005-06 to 13,000 in 2006-07... The last time K-State could boast a sellout of season tickets was during the 1982-83 season when the Wildcats played in Ahearn Field House, while the previous high for season tickets in Bramlage Coliseum was 11,700 during the inaugural 1988-89 season.


*In addition to the season ticket sales, the school offered courtside seats for the first time in its history and sold out of the available 25 seats at $4,400 apiece with a waiting list... There are also plans in the works for loge boxes in the arena as well as other improvements, including a practice facility.


*Kansas State has or will play seven nationally-televised games this season, including two as apart of ESPN’s “Big Monday” package and two on ABC Sports (both are firsts for the program)... It is the most nationally-televised games in a single-season for the Wildcats in school history.


*Kansas State earned its first in-season tournament title in more than 10 years by winning the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23... The win in the championship game gave the program 10 victories before Jan. 1 for the first time since the 1998-99 season (its last postseason appearance).


*Kansas State attracted the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the country in November according to Scout.com, Rivals.com and Sports Illustrated... The class referred to as the greatest-ever for the school includes consensus top 10 prospects Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.    


Martin Joins 1,000-Point Club; Cracks School’s Top 10

Senior forward Cartier Martin joined an elite fraternity at Kansas State in the win over Coppin State on Nov. 25, 2006, as he became the 19th player in school history and the first in the Big 12 era to score 1,000 career points.  The Houston, Texas, native hit the milestone at the 6:48 mark of the second half against the Eagles with a 3-pointer from the left corner to beat the shot clock.  He is the first Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier since Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season.  Martin cracked the school’s top-10 list for scoring against Missouri on Jan. 13 and is currently tied for eighth place with Ed Nealy (1,304; 1979-82) with 1,304 career points.  He is within 23 points of Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) for seventh and 60 away from Chuckie Williams (1,364; 1973-76) for sixth.  He is just the fifth player in school history to top 1,300 points and 400 rebounds in a career, joining Ed Nealy (1,304 points, 1,069 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points, 824 rebounds), Rolando Blackman (1,844 points, 607 rebounds) and Askia Jones (1,834 points, 463 rebounds). 

 

Martin has scored in double figures 17 times in the last 21 games, including eight 20-point outings.  He began the streak by posting a career-high 28 points against Tennessee Tech, while he has also turned in 20-point efforts against ColoradoState (21), Cleveland State (21), UMES (23) and New Mexico (23), which earned him MVP honors at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23.  He has registered 20-point games in three of the last four games, including 25 against ChicagoState on Jan. 22, 22 versus Missouri on Jan. 31 and 27 at No. 23 Texas on Feb. 3.


Harris Stepping Up His Game

Bob Huggins has always been a coach that has gotten the most out of his talent and senior guard Lance Harris has been a prime example of that influence.  Harris has averaged 10.9 points on 46.4 percent shooting, including a team-best 39.6 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.5 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (40) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.6), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in 11 contests, including three 20-point efforts.  He opened the year with 22 points against William & Mary on Nov. 11 before posting a career-high 26 points against Coppin State on Nov. 25.  His 24 points against North Dakota State helped the Wildcats to a come-from-behind win on Dec. 9.  He has connected three or more 3-point field goals in eight games. 

 

A constant in the line-up, Harris is moving up several K-State career charts, including ranking third in 3-point field goal attempts (383), fifth in 3-point field goals (130), eighth in minutes (2,323) and 27th in scoring (908), while he is just outside the top 10 in career games played (107).


The Wright Stuff

One of the biggest reasons for the Wildcats’ success this season has been the play of senior guard Akeem Wright.  The Philadephia, Pa., native has averaged 7.3 points on 41.1 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.7 steals in 25.9 minutes per game.  He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 12th in both rebounding and defensive rebounds.  Known more for his defensive prowess, Wright spent the summer working on his jumpshot to complete his all-around game.  Wright has scored in double figures in six games this season, including a career-high 18 points against Texas A&M on Jan. 6.  He has also kept up his defensive effort, pacing the team in rebounds in eight games this season.  Wright has grabbed six or more rebounds in nine of the last 12 games.  For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 13 contests.  During the last 16 games, Wright has topped his season average eight times with four double-digit efforts.  He played perhaps in his best game of his career against Texas A&M on Jan. 6, as he posted a career-high 18 points on 8-of-15 field goals to go with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a career-best three steals.


Stewart Manning The Point

Junior guard Clent Stewart has been a steadying force for the Wildcats this season since emerging as the team’s primary point guard against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  During that span, Stewart has averaged 7.0 points on 39.8 percent shooting with 3.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 0.6 steals in 27.1 minutes per game in guiding the team to 12 wins in 15 games.  He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 9.4 points on 41.7 percent shooting (25-of-60), including 44.4 percent from 3-point range (12-of-27), with 2.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.1 minutes per game.  Stewart has scored in double figures in three of the last seven games, including tying his career-high with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Missouri on Jan. 13.


Young Recovers Nicely from Surgery

Junior guard Blake Young underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 11 at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kan.  He suffered a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee during the Wildcats’ scrimmage in late October.  With no risk of further damage, Young had been playing with the injury throughout the first nine games.  After combining for 13 minutes against Kennesaw State and Maryland-EasternShore, he has recovered nicely from the surgery in averaging over 15 minutes in each of the last 13 games, including 25 against Xavier on Jan. 3. 

 

A NJCAA honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06, he is averaging 5.8 points, a team-best 2.4 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 20.5 minutes per game this year.  After ranking third in NJCAA in scoring at 23.2 points as a sophomore, he displayed his offensive potential with a big effort against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 21 with a season-high 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.  He has scored in double figures in five contests.   


Non-Conference Play A Success

Kansas State capped another stellar non-conference season in 2006-07 with its 73-36 win over ChicagoState on Jan. 22.  The Wildcats posted at least 10 wins during the non-conference portion of their schedule for the 17th time in their history and for the first time since the 2004-05 season.  The 11 non-league victories are the most by a Wildcat squad since the 1998-99 squad also produced 11, while the program produced 10 wins before January 1 for the first time in nearly seven seasons.  K-State has now earned a winning record in non-conference play in 35 consecutive seasons dating back to 1972-73 and has totaled at least eight non-conference wins in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including each of the last five seasons.  The Wildcats have won 29 of their last 37 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 25-1 (.961) mark at home.  


Walker Out for Season with ACL Injury

Tests revealed on Monday, Jan. 8 that freshman forward Bill Walker sustained a complete rupture of the anterior crucial ligament (ACL) in his left knee and leaving him out for the remainder of the season, according to head coach Bob Huggins.  Surgery was successfully performed on Friday, Jan. 19 and Walker has already begun his rehabilitation process.  It is expected to take between six and eight months.  The highly-touted freshman averaged 11.3 points on 40.0 percent shooting in six games this season with 4.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game.  The Huntington, W.Va., native began his career by posting 15 points on 6-of-10 field goals against Kennesaw State on Dec. 17 in 22 minutes of action after just two practices under his belt.  It was the most points by a true freshman in his debut since Marques Hayden scored 20 points against BYU on Nov. 23, 2002.  The 15-point effort was the first of four straight double figure games for Walker, which included 11 against UMES, 19 against USC and 15 against New Mexico.   


Viva Las Vegas!

*With its 72-56 win over New Mexico on Dec. 23, Kansas State captured its first in-season tournament title in over 10 years with the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic title... The Wildcats’ last tournament title came at the Otis Spunkmeyer Classic on Dec. 28-29, 1995 in Oakland, Calif.


*Kansas State’s six-game winning streak was the longest for the program since the team collected eight consecutive victories to start the 2004-05 season (Nov. 19 to Dec. 21, 2004)... The streak was even more impressive when you consider that only three of the games came at home... It marked the first time since 1995 that the Wildcats have put together a winning streak of more than five games when half of the games have come away from home.


*Kansas State was impressive on both ends of the court in the winning the tournament... The Wildcats averaged 75.2 points on 49.3 percent shooting with 36.0 rebounds and 15.8 assists, while holding their opponents to just 55.8 points on 36.9 percent shooting, including just 19.7 percent from 3-point range... The team held four straight opponent to 60 points or less for the first time since doing it in the first four games of the 2005-06 season.


*Senior forward Cartier Martin was named the most valuable player of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic after averaging 16.8 points in four games... He scored a team-high 23 points against the Lobos... Junior David Hoskins was named to the Classic’s all-tournament team after averaging 15.8 points.

K-State to play Oregon as part of Big 12/Pac-10 Series

Kansas State will play Oregon on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007, as apart of a four-year deal reached by the Big 12 and Pacific-10 Conferences on Jan. 11. The agreement between the conferences provides a series of 12 annual games, starting with the 2007-08 season.  Other games set for next season include Oklahoma at USC (Nov. 29), Washington State at Baylor (Nov. 30), Iowa State at Oregon State (Nov. 30), Washington at Oklahoma State (Dec. 1), Missouri at California (Dec. 1), Arizona State at Nebraska (Dec. 2), Stanford at Colorado (Dec. 2), Texas at UCLA (Dec. 2) and Texas A&M at Arizona (Dec. 2).  The series will continue in 2008, with games slated for Dec. 4-7. The contests scheduled will be return games of the match-ups from 2007, but may not be scheduled for the same day. The games in the series in 2009 will be played Dec. 3-6, 2009, while match-ups in 2010 will be played Dec. 2-5, 2010.

’Cats Top Century Mark

Kansas State eclipsed the 100-point barrier for the first time in nearly four seasons and for the first time since scoring 102 points in a win over Texas-Pan American on Dec. 11, 2002 with a 101-79 win over Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18.  The team shot 50.8 percent from the field, including 57.7 percent in the second half.  Several individuals finally got on track offensively in the big win, as three players - Cartier Martin, David Hoskins and Blake Young -- all set career-highs and became the first Wildcat trio to score 20 or more points in the same contest in nearly 15 years.  Martin posted a career-best 28 points with career-highs in both makes (10) and attempts (19).  Hoskins tallied a career-high 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting and Young earned his first career 20-point effort with 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including a 4-of-6 effort from beyond the arc.  The last three players to score 20 or more points in the same game were Jean Derouillere (23), Jeff Wires (21) and Maurice Brittain (20) in a 95-70 win over Oklahoma at home on Feb. 5, 1991.

     

Up Next: Colorado (6-13, 2-7 Big 12)

Kansas State returns home from its two-game road trip on Saturday, as the Wildcats face Colorado (6-13, 2-7 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 5:05 p.m..  The Buffaloes, who has the week off heading into the contest, snapped a four-game losing streak with an impressive 89-77 win over No. 14 Oklahoma State on Saturday night at home.  The team is averaging 70.4 points on 41.3 percent shooting with 37.3 rebounds and has a balanced scoring team with three players averaging in double figures.  Junior Richard Roby paces the squad in scoring at 17.6 points to go with 5.1 rebounds per game.