K-State Hits Pivotal Stretch Beginning Saturday at Texas
K-State Hits Pivotal Stretch Beginning Saturday at Texas
Feb. 10, 2012
RV/NR KANSAS STATE (17-6, 6-5 Big 12) AT TEXAS (15-9, 5-6 Big 12)
Saturday, February 11, 2012 * 1 p.m. CST * Austin, Texas * Frank Erwin Center (16,734)
Mark Jones (play-by-play); Fran Fraschilla (analyst)
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 137
Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com/multimedia
Live Audio: www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday
NCAA RPI: K-State #50, Texas #66
K-State vs. Texas: 13-9 (W, 84-80, 1/18/12)
In Austin: 5-5 (W, 75-70, 2/28/11)
Frank Martin vs. Rick Barnes: 4-2 (2-0 on the road)
Kansas State (17-6, 6-5 Big 12) begins a critical stretch of the season on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats travel to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns (15-9, 5-6 Big 12) at 1 p.m. CST at the Frank Erwin Center. It will be the team’s first ESPN broadcast on the season with Mark Jones and Fran Fraschilla on the call. Starting Saturday, the Wildcats will play three of its next four games on the road, including tests at Top 10 foes Baylor (21-3, 8-3 Big 12) and Missouri (22-2, 9-2 Big 12). It is also the first of two games in a three-day period, which concludes on Monday at home against seven-time defending Big 12 champion and No. 7/10 Kansas (19-5, 9-2 Big 12). K-State sits alone in fifth place in the Big 12 standings, one game behind fourth-place Iowa State (17-7, 7-4 Big 12) and one game ahead of sixth-place Oklahoma State (12-12, 5-6 Big 12) and Texas. The Wildcats held their 10th opponent under 60 points on Tuesday, as they swept the season series from Texas Tech with a 65-46 win at home. The 46 points tied for the fewest allowed to a Big 12 foe under head coach Frank Martin, as the Red Raiders recorded opponent-lows in eight categories, including field goals (11) and field goal percentage (28.9). Since allowing a Big 12-worst 72.6 points through the first five league games, K-State has stepped up its efforts on the defensive end in the last six, allowing 56.5 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range, while holding +8.0 rebounding margin. The Wildcats have now won 11 consecutive games at home in February dating back to the 2008-09 season and moved to 25-8 (.758) in the month under Martin.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Kansas State has been solid on the road in Big 12 play under head coach Frank Martin, posting a 18-19 (.486) since the 2007-08 season. Prior to Martin’s arrival (which includes a 4-4 road mark as Bob Huggins’ top assistant in 2006-07), the Wildcats won just 10 road games (out of 70) in their first 10 years of Big 12 play, including winless marks in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003. You would have to count up the last five years of the Big Eight (1991-96) and the first 10 in the Big 12 to equal the 18 road wins that Martin has posted in his career. Last season, the Wildcats went 3-5 on the road, including an upset of No. 7 Texas in Austin on Feb. 28, 2010, which was the first over a Top 10 on the road since beating top-ranked Kansas on Jan. 17, 1994.
Texas enters Saturday’s game with a 15-9 record and 5-6 mark in Big 12 play after running its winning streak to two games with a 70-68 victory at Texas A&M on Monday. Under 14th-year head coach Rick Barnes, the dean of Big 12 coaches, the Longhorns are averaging 73.9 points on 44.2 percent shooting, including 33.2 percent from 3-point range, to go with a 37.1 rebounds, 12.9 assists, 6.8 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. Two players are averaging in double figures led by junior J’Covan Brown, who ranks first in the Big 12 in scoring at 19.6 points per game to go with 4.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 34.6 minutes per game. Brown is aided by a quartet of freshmen led by Sheldon McClellan, who averages 11.0 points. Myck Kabongo is third in scoring at 9.6 points to go with a team-high 5.5 assists per game, while Jonathan Holmes and Julien Lewis average 7.8 and 7.6 points per outing. Senior Clint Chapman is averaging a team-best 5.5 rebounds and 7.3 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting.
Saturday’s game will be the 23rd meeting between Kansas State and Texas dating back to Dec. 8, 1971 with the Wildcats holding a 13-9 (.591) lead in the series. K-State has won four of the last five meetings, including the last three. Earlier this season, the Wildcats held off a late Longhorn rally to post an 84-80 win at home on Jan. 18. Texas holds a slight 9-8 (.529) record since the start of Big 12 play in 1997, including a 5-3 (.625) mark at the Erwin Center. Last season, the Wildcats earned their first Top 10 road victory since 1994 with a 75-70 win over the seventh-ranked Longhorns in Austin on Feb. 28. Frank Martin is 4-2 (.667) against Texas, including 2-0 on the road, while Rick Barnes is 8-7 (.571) against K-State, including 5-3 (.625) at home.
LAST TIME OUT: RV/NR KANSAS STATE 65, TEXAS TECH 46
Struggling on the offensive end, Kansas State turned to its improving defense on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats held their 10th opponent (and fifth in Big 12 play) under 60 points with a 65-46 win over Texas Tech at home. With the victory, the squad swept the season series from the Red Raiders, keeping them winless in the Big 12. K-State held Texas Tech to eight opponent season-lows, including points, field goal percentage (28.9), field goals (11), field goals attempted (38), assists (6), blocks (1) and steals (5). The 46 points tied for the fifth fewest allowed by the Wildcats in a Big 12 game and the fewest allowed in a home league game since Nebraska had 45 on Jan. 27, 2007. It was the fewest points allowed in a home league game under head coach Frank Martin, while the team moved to 5-0 under Martin and 3-0 this season when holding opponent below 50 points. K-State set season-lows in three offensive categories, including field goal percentage (30.0), field goals (15) and field goal percentage in a half (23.1). However, the squad converted 22 Texas Tech turnovers into 21 points and shot a season-high 30 free throws on a season-tying 40 attempts. It marked the 11th time that the Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off opponent miscues and the fifth time it has forced more than 20 turnovers in a game. The team also out-rebounded its 10th straight opponent, using 18 offensive rebounds to score 18 second-chance points. K-State also got 32 points of production from its bench, gaining 30 or more points from its reserves for the eighth time this season. Sophomore Shane Southwell led three Wildcats in double figures with a career-high 13 points, while junior Rodney McGruder and sophomore Will Sprading each added 10 points. Southwell became the sixth different Wildcat to pace the team in scoring in each of the last six games.
STREAKING IN FEBRUARY
After posting a 4-5 mark in January, Kansas State will look to continue its recent success in the month of February, where the Wildcats have posted a 25-8 (.758) record under head coach Frank Martin, including a 16-2 (.889) mark at Bramlage Coliseum. The squad has won 11 consecutive games at home in the month dating back to the 2008-09 season with the only losses under Martin coming to No. 5 Texas (74-65, Feb. 25, 2008) and No. 16 Kansas (85-74, Feb. 14, 2009). The record is even better in the last four years in February, where the Wildcats are 22-3 (.880), including 13-1 (.929) at Bramlage Coliseum.
With depth a significant strength for Kansas State in 2011-12, head coach Frank Martin has used six different starting line-ups this season. The only constants in the lineup have been junior Rodney McGruder and sophomore Will Spradling, who are the only players to start each of the team’s 23 games and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes. Senior Jamar Samuels and freshman Thomas Gipson have started 20 games each, while junior Martavious Irving has 14 starts, rookie Angel Rodriguez seven, junior Jordan Henriquez six and sophomore Shane Southwell two. Four of the lineups have been used three or fewer times, while Martin has used the lineup of Spradling, Irving, McGruder, Samuels and Gipson the most at nine times. Martin has used the same lineup in each of the last seven games with Rodriguez moving to point guard, Spradling shifting to shooting guard and Gipson returning to the lineup at one of the forward spots. Rodriguez earned his first career start against Texas on Jan. 18.
Since jumping into the starter’s role, Rodriguez is averaging 9.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 19.9 minutes per game. In this seven-game stretch, he ranks first on the team in assists (22) and steals (10) and is second in scoring. He led the squad in assists for the fourth consecutive game with three on Tuesday against Texas Tech to go with two steals. He has posted double-digit points three times in this span, including 14 vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 21, 13 vs. Texas A&M on Feb. 4 and 10 vs. Oklahoma on Jan. 28. Gipson has also been solid since re-entering the line-up in the last meeting with the Longhorns, connecting on a team-best 66.7 percent (20-of-30) from the field with an average of 7.4 points. On the other hand, Irving has embraced his new role off the bench for the Wildcats, averaging 7.3 points on 51.4 percent shooting to go with 2.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 21.6 minutes per game. He had a career-best 16 points in the win at Texas Tech on Jan. 25.
K-State has proved to be a balanced team across the board with seven players averaging six or more points, including two in double figures, and four averaging four or more rebounds per game. The Wildcats have had eight different leading scorers (with Rodney McGruder leading the way 10 times) and six leading rebounders (Jamar Samuels leading seven times), while eight players have led or tied for the team lead in assists. Nine players have collected double-figure assists this year, including 50 or more assists by Will Spradling (68), Angel Rodriguez (56) and Shane Southwell (52) and five players have double-figure steals (including four with 20+) led by McGruder’s 29. This balance has been even more evident in the last six games with a different player pacing the team in scoring and a different rebounding leader on four occasions.
Overall, the squad has seen 10 different players collect 73 double-digit scoring games with McGruder posting a team-leading 18 such games, while Samuels and Spradling are not far behind with 13 double-figure games each. The Wildcats are a much better team when three or more players register double-digit points (14-3), including a 7-2 mark when four or more players collect 10 or more points. In three of six losses, the squad had just two players (vs. Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma) in double-figure scoring.
ON THE DEFENSIVE
Kansas State has been a solid defensive team this season, allowing opponents 62.7 points on 39.5 percent shooting, including 30.4 percent from 3-point range, to go with a Big 12-best 38.7 rebounds, 16.8 turnovers forced, 6.1 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. The Wildcats have held 13 foes to under 65 points, including 10 below 60 points and three under 50 points. The team is 13-1 this season when holding an opponent below 65 points, including 10-0 when they score fewer than 60. Under head coach Frank Martin, the squad has a 42-2 (.955) record when an opponent scores less than 60 points.
K-State ranks among the Top 50 nationally in four defensive categories, including 19th in rebounding margin, 39th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 43rd in scoring margin and 45th in field goal percentage defense. The team places in the Big 12’s Top 5 in six defensive categories, including first in rebounding, offensive rebounds and rebounding margin, third in scoring defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense and fourth in blocked shots. Under Frank Martin, the Wildcats have finished no lower than fourth in rebounding (twice leading the Big 12 in 2007-08 and 2008-09) and have led the league in offensive rebounds each year. K-State is one of three schools (Baylor & Oklahoma State) to have three players rank in the Big 12’s Top 20 in rebounding (Jamar Samuels - 7th, Thomas Gipson - 15th, Rodney McGruder - 19th), while the Wildcats are the only conference team to have three players (Samuels - 3rd, McGruder - 10th, Gipson - 12th) in the league’s Top 15 in offensive rebounds.
BETTER DEFENSE IN BIG 12 PLAY
After allowing a Big 12-worst 72.6 points through the first five league games, K-State has stepped up its efforts in the last six games, allowing a combined average of 56.5 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range, while holding an +8.0 rebounding margin. The Wildcats have also forced more than 17.7 turnovers in those six games and scored an average of 18.2 points off those miscues. The team has held five of the last six opponents to less than 65 points, including twice holding Texas Tech to less than 50. The 47 points scored by the Red Raiders on Jan. 25 were the fewest allowed in a Big 12 road game since Iowa State had 46 on Feb. 21, 2009, while the 46 scored on Tuesday were the fewest allowed in a league home game under head coach Frank Martin. From Jan. 21-28, the squad held three consecutive Big 12 foes (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma) under 65 points for the first time since holding three straight all under 60 points from Jan. 19-26, 2008. During this seven-game span, K-State has collected five wins (after starting league play 1-3) and posted back-to-back Big 12 road wins (Oklahoma State and Texas Tech) for the first time since 2010, including its first win at Gallagher-Iba Arena since 1993.
For their recent efforts, the team now ranks among the Top 5 in eight Big 12 defensive categories in league-only games, including first in rebounding (35.4), offensive rebounds (15.0), rebounding margin (+5.7) and rebounding defense (29.6), second in scoring defense (63.8), third in turnover margin (+1.4), fourth in field goal percentage (43.1) and fifth in blocked shots (3.5).
K-State has taken advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line this season with nearly 25 percent of their points (408) coming from the line. The Wildcats are tied for fifth nationally in free throw attempts per game (26.8), trailing New Mexico State (32.1), LIU-Brooklyn (27.8), Oregon State (27.2) and Maryland (27.0), while they are 15th in the country in free throws made per game (17.7). K-State is first in the Big 12 with 2.5 more attempts per game than second-place Texas (24.3), while it is slightly ahead of the Longhorns (17.6) in makes per game. Opponents are averaging 23.7 personal fouls per game, while they have 94 fewer free throws attempted and 48 fewer free throws made. The Wildcats have attempted at least 22 free throws in 19 of 23 games this season, including 20 or more attempts in seven of 11 Big 12 games. The team combined for 79 attempts in back-to-back games against Texas and Oklahoma State on Jan. 18 and 21, including a season-best 40 against the Cowboys on Jan 21. The squad matched that total with 40 attempts against Texas Tech on Tuesday. In addition, K-State has also converted on at least 20 free throws in seven games, including a season-best 30 vs. Texas Tech on Tuesday. The Wildcats have more free throws made and attempted than all but eight opponents. The team set season-lows for both makes (7) and attempts(11) against Iowa State.
K-State is 81-11 (.880) under Frank Martin, including 14-1 this season, when the squad attempts more free throws, while they are just 31-36 (.463) under Martin, including 3-5 this season, when they equal or are surpassed by their opponent in attempts.
Kansas State has taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 32.4 points in the paint and 17.0 points off of second-chance opportunities. The Wildcats are averaging a Big 12-best 38.7 rebounds per game, including 15.1 on the offensive end, and have out-rebounded their opponents 19 times, including 16 times in the last 17 games. The team has collected 40 or more rebounds in nine games, including a season-best 50 against George Washington, North Florida and Oklahoma State. The squad ranks 28th nationally in rebounds per game, including first in the Big 12, while it ranks seventh in the nation in offensive rebounds and tops in the league. The team is also 19th nationally (and first in the Big 12) in rebounding margin (+6.4).
POINTS IN THE PAINT/SECOND CHANCE
Kansas State has posted at least 30 points in the paint in 18 of 23 games, including a combined 90 in overtime games with West Virginia (44) and North Florida (46), and have outscored their foes, 746-552, in the paint. Four times the team has collected 40 or more points in the paint, including tying a season-high with 46 in a win over then unbeaten Missouri on Jan. 7. The Big 12’s top offensive rebounding team has tallied 20 or more second-chance points five times, while they have had at least 17 in seven other contests, with a season-best 27 against North Florida and 25 each vs. George Washington and Oklahoma (on Jan. 14). In league play, the Wildcats have posted a 167-94 edge in second-chance points, including a 25-5 advantage vs. Oklahoma (on Jan. 14) and an 18-4 edge vs. Oklahoma State (Jan. 21). These numbers were particularly important in win over North Florida, as the team posted season-bests with a 46-34 edge in points in the paint and a 27-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production it’s getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 22.6 points this season, including 19.4 points in Big 12 play. Three times during league play the squad has gotten 30 or more points from its bench, including 33 vs. Oklahoma on Jan. 14, 38 and 32 in its two meetings with Texas Tech. Reserves (33) scored nearly half of the team’s points (73) against the Sooners with Jeremy Jones and Nino Williams each posting 12 points. Williams also nearly posted his first career double-double with nine rebounds. With the starters struggling in the first meeting with the Red Raiders, the bench again came through with a big effort, scoring 38 points on 60 percent shooting (15-of-25). Reserve Martavious Irving tallied a career-best 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Victor Ojeleye and Adrian Diaz added eight and six points, respectively. On Tuesday, the Wildcats registered 32 points from its reserves against the Red Raiders, including a career-high 13 points from Shane Southwell and 15 combined points from Irving (8), Diaz (7) and Jordan Henriquez (4).
Bench scoring was particularly important during the team’s six-game winning streak from Dec. 11-31, where they averaged 31.2 points from reserves. In wins over Alabama (35), Southern Illinois (48), UTEP (42) and Howard (34), the Wildcats received more than half of their scoring from the bench (159 of 314 points), including double-figure efforts by Angel Rodriguez (4), Henriquez (1), Jamar Samuels (1) and Jones (1). Rodriguez scored in double figures in each of the four games from the bench, including a season-best 17 vs. the Salukis, averaging a team-best 14.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting from the field in that four-game span. Overall, the 48-point bench effort vs. SIU was the most of the Frank Martin era.
Since the installation of the new starting line-up against Texas on Jan. 18, the Wildcats are averaging 20 points from reserves with Irving and Diaz playing a particularly strong role. Irving is averaging 7.3 points on 51.4 percent shooting with 2.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 21.6 minutes per game, while Diaz is averaging 4.4 points on 50 percent shooting with 4.6 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per outing. Three other Wildcats are averaging better than 2+ points, including two with 3+ rebounds.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes. Since he became head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 2,958 points off of 2,648 turnovers in 161 games - an average of 18.4 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past five years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which the team has outscored its foes, 422-360. The squad is pressuring its foes into an average of 16.8 turnovers, including a season-high 25 by Texas Tech on Jan. 25, while foes are averaging 17.0 turnovers in Big 12 play. For season, K-State is averaging 18.3 points off these mistakes, including 18.9 points in league play. The Wildcats have scored 19+ points off of turnovers in eight of the last 11 games, including six games of 20+ points (21 vs. Missouri, 26 vs. Baylor, 20 vs. Oklahoma, 21 vs. Texas, 27 and 21 vs. Texas Tech). The 27 points scored against the Red Raiders were the most scored off of turnovers since posting 28 against Savannah State on Jan. 3, 2011 and the most in a Big 12 game since totaling 29 vs. Nebraska on Feb. 17, 2010.
K-State has been struck by the turnover bug in Big 12 play with the Wildcats averaging 15.6 turnovers and allowing 17.5 points off those miscues. The squad has had at least 12 turnovers in each of its 11 league games, including a season-worst 20 against both No. 4/4 Baylor and Oklahoma (second meeting) and total of 39 committed in two games against the Sooners. Opponents have scored 10 or more points off these miscues in 10 of those games, including a Frank Martin era-worst 30 for both the Bears and Sooners (first meeting). Nearly 30 percent (192) of the opponents’ point total (702) have come directly from these turnovers, including 40 percent (60) against Baylor and Oklahoma in back-to-back games in Jan. 10 and Jan 14.
McGRUDER’S STREAK ENDS
Junior Rodney McGruder saw his incredible scoring streak end at Texas A&M, as he scored just five points to snap an 11-game streak of double-figure scoring game. It was his fewest points scored since posting just four against UTEP on Dec. 23. He rebounded to post his 18th double-digit scoring game against Texas Tech, which includes six games of 20+ points. He currently ranks seventh in the Big 12 at 14.7 points per game, including fifth in league-only games at 17.2 points per game.
During this 11-game stretch, McGruder averaged 19.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting (78-of-152), including 47.6 percent (20-of-42) from 3-point range, while he connected on 85.1 percent (40-of-47) from the free throw line. He led the team in scoring nine times in those 11 games, while collecting two 20-point outings and two 30-point efforts (with both coming in a three-game span) to go with a double-double (19 points and 10 rebounds vs. Oklahoma on Jan. 14). The streak began at Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 25 when he earned MVP honors after torching Long Beach State for 28 points in the championship game on near perfect 10-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with a 6-of-7 effort from the free throw line. He is the first player since Jacob Pullen in 2009-10 to lead the team in scoring in eight consecutive games. McGruder’s 33-point effort against Texas on Jan. 18 marked the third time in seven games he has surpassed his career-high in scoring, as he connected on 11-of-17 field goals (4-of-6 from long range) and 7-of-10 from the free throw line against the Longhorns. He is the first Wildcat to have 30 or more points twice in a three-game span since Michael Beasley in 2007-08.
McGRUDER AMONG THE BEST IN BIG 12
Junior Rodney McGruder is one of nine players in the Big 12’s Top 20 in both overall scoring (14.7 ppg., 7th) and rebounding (5.1 rpg., 20th) this season, joining the likes of Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Missouri’s Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe, Iowa State’s Royce White and Baylor’s Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller. He also ranks among the Top 15 in four other Big 12 categories, including ninth in field goal percentage (44.9), 10th in offensive rebounds (2.4 rpg.) and minutes played (31.5 mpg.) and 12th in free throw percentage (77.6). Through 11 Big 12 games, he is in the Top 10 in six league-only categories, including fifth in scoring (17.2 ppg.), sixth in offensive rebounds (2.5), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (38.6), eighth in field goal percentage (44.4) and free throw percentage (86.4) and ninth in steals (1.3 spg.). Overall, he paces the Wildcats in six categories, including scoring, double-figure scoring games (18), field goals (124), field goals attempted (276), steals (29) and minutes (31.5). He joins Will Spradling as the only players to start all 23 games this season and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes.
McGRUDER NAMED PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Junior Rodney McGruder followed up his most valuable player performance at the Diamond Head Classic with his first career Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week award on Dec. 26. In helping the Wildcats win their first regular-season tournament title since 2006, he averaged 15.0 points on 64 percent shooting, including 44.4 percent from 3-point range, with 6.0 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in two of three games, including 28 points in the championship game against Long Beach State on Christmas Day. He went a near perfect 10-of-11 from the field against the 49ers, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Remarkably, by making 10-of-11 field goals against LBSU, he posted one of the best shooting nights in school history. Only Joe Wright (11-of-11 vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 23, 1985) and Eddie Elder (11-of-11 vs. Colorado on Feb. 23, 1985) had a better field goal percentage when attempting more than 10 shots. McGruder is the third Wildcat to receive a weekly award from the Big 12 this season. Senior Jamar Samuels was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 5, while freshman Thomas Gipson was the league’s Rookie of the Week on Dec. 12.
SPRADLING BUSTS OUT OF SLUMP
Sophomore Will Spradling was finally able to break out of his recent shooting slump against Texas A&M, as he connected on a career-best 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a career-best 4-of-5 from 3-point range, to go with a 5-of-5 effort from the free throw line. His previous career-high of 17 points came first vs. Baylor last season and again earlier this year vs. Long Beach State on Dec. 25. Although he went 0-of-5 from the field against Texas Tech, he recorded his 13th double-double scoring game, including his fifth in Big 12 play, by going 10-of-10 from the free throw line. He entered the game with the Aggies averaging 7.6 points in the previous nine league games on just 27.1 percent shooting, including 25 percent from beyond the arc.
For the season, Spradling is averaging 10.4 points on 38.3 percent shooting with a team-best 37 3-point field goals, 2.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game. Interestingly enough, most of his scoring has come at critical times, posting 63 percent (150) of his scoring total (239) in the second half and overtime this season. He has scored in double figures three times in the second half, including a season-best 15 vs. Loyola Chicago.
HURTS SO GOOD
Sophomore Will Spradling has continued to demonstrate his toughness on the court, registering a team-best 22 charges taken. He has posted at least one charge taken in 14 games, including a career-best three each on three occasions. He has taken nearly as many charges (22) as the rest of the team (34). For his career, he has taken 43 charges in 57 games, which is one more than Jamar Samuels (42). He saw his streak of 11 consecutive games with at least one charge taken end against Howard on Dec. 31.
SAMUELS MAKING THE MOST OF HIS SENIOR SEASON
Senior Jamar Samuels has been a key component to the Wildcats’ season, leading the team in double-doubles (4) and rebounding (6.2 rpg.), while ranking third in scoring (9.9 ppg.). Despite missing the exhibition game and the first two games due to violations of team rules, he has collected double-figure scoring games in 13 contests (including a stretch of seven consecutive such games from Dec. 11 to Jan. 4) and to go with a team-high four double-doubles, including back-to-back double-doubles against George Washington and Virginia Tech for the first time in his career. His seven straight double-figure scoring games were the longest such stretch since he had 10 in a row in 2009-10. Playing the hometown Colonials on Dec. 1, he picked up his first double-double this season with 10 points and 10 rebounds before he recorded 17 points and a career-tying 14 rebounds in the big road win at Virginia Tech on Dec. 4. Playing with foul trouble, he was a near perfect in the second half against the Hokies, posting a double-double with 15 points (6-of-6 from the field) and 13 rebounds. He has also tallied double-doubles against UTEP (10 points and 12 rebounds) and Oklahoma State (12 points and 12 rebounds). In fact, K-State is 9-0 when Samuels registers a double-double in his career. His four double-doubles are the most he has recorded in a single season.
Samuels ranks first on the team in both free throws (78) and free throws attempted (112), while he is third in minutes (25.0). He was stellar in Hawai’i during Christmas week, earning Diamond Head Classic All-Tournament team honors after averaging 11.7 points, a team-best 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. He took advantage of his opportunities from the free throw line in tournament, scoring 21 of his 35 points from the line on 77.8 percent (21-of-27) shooting.
SAMUELS JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB
Senior Jamar Samuels earned his 1,000 career point in the double-overtime loss to West Virginia on Dec. 8, becoming the 23rd player in school history and the third (Jacob Pullen & Denis Clemente) under head coach Frank Martin to eclipse the milestone. His current total of 1,167 points ranks 13th in school history, just 137 points from the all-time Top 10. He also ranks in the Top 5 all-time in school history in both career free throws (372) and free throws attempted (613). Both totals rank third on the all-time list, as only Bob Boozer (529/702; 1956-59) and Jacob Pullen (527/684; 2007-11) have made and attempted more free throws in school history. Against Texas Tech, he moved up into a third-place tie with Askia Jones for most games played (124). Only Jacob Pullen (135) and Steve Henson (127) have played in more games in their Wildcat careers. He also ranks in the Top 10 in three additional categories, including rebounds (648; 7th), steals (98, 8th) and blocks (86, 9th). He is one of just 11 players in school history to tally at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining the likes of Rolando Blackman (1977-81), Bob Boozer (1956-59), Ed Nealy (1978-82)and Jack Parr (1955-58) to accomplish the feat.
SAMUELS NAMED PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior Jamar Samuels was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 5 after averaging a double-double in wins over George Washington and Virginia Tech. Samuels, who earned the weekly honor for the first time in his career, averaged 13.5 points on 64.7 percent shooting (11-of-17), including 50 percent (1-of-2) from 3-point range, in the two wins with 12.0 rebounds in 27.0 minutes per game. He recorded double-doubles in each contest, marking the first time in his career he has done that in back-to-back games. He began the week with a 10-point, 10-rebound effort in the win over George Washington. Playing in front of numerous friends and family from nearly Washington, D.C., in the Wildcats’ first road game, he was sensational in the clutch against Virginia Tech. He snagged a game-high 17 points on 7-of-8 field goals to go with a career-tying 14 rebounds in 28 minutes. He registered a double-double in the second half alone with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 13 rebounds.
FRESHMEN HAVING AN IMPACT
Three K-State freshmen - Thomas Gipson, Angel Rodriguez and Adrian Diaz - have slowly but steadily become key elements of the Wildcats’ attack this season. The trio have combined to post 418 points (nearly 25 percent of the team’s total) on 45.3 percent shooting (146-of-322) to go with 225 rebounds (25.3 percent), 67 assists (20.5 percent) and 28 steals (19.9 percent) in more than 1,000 minutes. Gipson ranks third in the Big 12 (behind Texas’ Myck Kabongo and Baylor’s Quincy Miller) in number of starts (20) by a true freshman and is one of just three Wildcats (along with Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling) to play in all 23 games. Rodriguez, who has played in 22 games, joined Gipson in the starting lineup in each of the last seven games, while Diaz has become a key reserve in that span, ranking second in minutes (16.3 mpg.) off the bench.
Although it has taken some time to adjust to the college level, freshman Angel Rodriguez is starting to make an impact on the floor, earning seven consecutive starts in Big 12 play. During this span, he is averaging 9.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, a team-best 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 19.9 minutes per game. After being limited to four points in his first career start against Texas on Jan. 18, he has scored in double figures three times in the last six games, including a 14-point effort in the win at Oklahoma State on Jan. 21. He added a season-best six rebounds, a team-high three assists and two steals in 22 minutes against the Cowboys. He also knocked down 4-of-6 free throws in the waning moments, helping the Wildcats earn their first win at Gallagher-Iba Arena since 1993. He continued his progression against Texas A&M, scoring all 13 of his points in the second half to go with five rebounds and a team-high four assists in 23 minutes. He has paced the team in assists in each of the last four games.
The start against Texas came on the heels of seeing action in 15 games as a reserve, where he collected four double-figure scoring games, including a season-best 17-point effort against Southern Illinois on Dec. 22. He followed that up with 16 points vs. UTEP before adding 11 points vs. Howard. During the six-game winning streak from Dec. 11-31, he averaged 11.4 points on 44.7 percent shooting, including 52.4 percent from 3-point range, to go with 3.0 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. He has registered double-figure minutes in 20 games, including a season-best 29 against UTEP.
Freshman Thomas Gipson has made an impact in just his first season as a Wildcat. A 6-foot-7, 275-pound forward, he ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg.) to go with 8.4 points per game in 20 starts. He has scored in double figures in seven games, leading the team vs. Loyola Chicago (19), UMES (13), George Washington (17), North Florida (23) and Iowa State (13), while collecting three double-doubles. He became the first freshman since Michael Beasley in 2007-08 to collect a double-double with 17 points and season-best 13 rebounds against George Washington on Dec. 1. He followed that up with his second double-double with 15 points against West Virginia on Dec. 8, earning Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors. He made it three double-doubles in four games against North Florida with a season-high 23 points and game-high 12 boards.
After struggling in late December (averaging 4.5 points on 30 percent shooting with 5.2 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game), Gipson responded well in his first game as a reserve against Missouri on Jan. 7, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds. He returned to the starting lineup against Texas on Jan. 18, posting double figures for the first time in more than a month with 11 points on 4-of-7 field goals and six rebounds in 16 minutes. He has registered seven consecutive starts in Big 12 play, averaging 7.4 points on a team-best 66.7 percent shooting with 4.1 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game in that span.
OJELEYE MAKING AN IMPACT
Senior Victor Ojeleye has made an impact off the bench of late, averaging 2.7 points on 45 percent shooting with 3.9 rebounds in 13.7 minutes in the last seven games. He posted two points and five rebounds against Texas in 19 minutes, while he had two points and four rebounds in 14 minutes against Oklahoma State. His impact was even greater against Texas Tech on Jan. 25, as he came off the bench to post eight points on 4-of-5 field goals and four rebounds in 18 minutes. He grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds against Iowa State to go with three points and two blocks in a season-best 21 minutes. Before the seven-game stretch, he had just collected 10 total points and 11 rebounds in 13 games played this season.
The walk-on has been a leader on and off the court during his career, twice earning first team Academic All-Big 12 honors and was elected by his peers to serve as Vice-Chair of the Big 12’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) during the 2011-12 athletics season. A double major in accounting and finance, Ojeleye earned the inaugural Dr. Gerald Lage Award from the Big 12 in 2010-11, which is given to student-athletes who have earned 100 or more hours of credit with a cumulative 3.8 GPA. He also has been named to the Fall and Spring Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls each of the past two years.
MARTIN WINS 100
Head coach Frank Martin became the fourth K-State head coach to earn his 100th career victory, including the second-fastest, in the 69-61 win at Virginia Tech on Dec. 4. He joined Naismith Hall of Fame coaches Jack Gardner (147-81, 1939-42, 1946-53) and Fred “Tex” Winter (261-118, 1954-68) and all-time wins leader Jack Hartman (295-169; 1970-86). He is the first to do so since Hartman did it midway through the 1975-76 season. Martin accomplished the feat in just 143 games, which is one shy of the 142 it took Winter to produce his 100th victory midway through the 1958-59 season. Hartman’s 100th win came in 149 games, while Gardner did it in his 170th game in his second stint as head coach in 1950-51. The 2009-10 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Martin is the first Wildcat coach to post a 20-win season in each of his first four years and joined (current Oklahoma head coach) Lon Kruger as the only head coaches in school history to guide teams to the postseason in his first four seasons.
SPECIAL WIN NO. 1500
The 75-59 win over No. 7/6 Missouri on Jan. 7 was significant in a number of ways, including serving as the program’s milestone 1,500th victory. K-State currently stands at 1,500-1,058 (.586) in 108 seasons, which ranks 41st all-time in NCAA Division I history. The school becomes the sixth Big 12 program to eclipse the milestone, following Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri, while it is the fifth team to top 1,500 wins this season, joining St. Joseph’s, Ohio State, Michigan State and Washington State. Overall, it was the 89th win over a Top 25 team in school history, including the 35th over the Top 10. The Wildcats have now posted 23 Top 25 wins at Bramlage Coliseum, including 11 wins over the Top 10. Three times in the last four seasons the squad has posted at least one home win over a Top 10 opponent (No. 1 Texas in 2010, No. 1 Kansas in 2011 and No. 7 Missouri in 2012). Frank Martin earned his 18th Top 25 win (18-20) in five seasons, including his sixth Top 10 win (6-11).
A LOOK BACK AT NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
K-State capped its non-conference schedule on New Year’s Eve with a 82-46 win over Howard. The Wildcats have posted a 58-12 (.829) record in non-conference play under head coach Frank Martin, including five consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins. The 58 wins are the most over a five-year span in non-conference play in school history. Overall, the squad has collected 10 or more wins in non-conference play in six straight seasons dating back to 2006-07. The squad played just 12 non-conference games in 2011-12 due to the expanded 18-game Big 12 Conference slate.
RECAPPING THE DIAMOND HEAD CLASSIC
K-State earned its first regular-season tournament title since 2006, as the Wildcats captured the 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with wins over Southern Illinois (83-58), UTEP (78-70) and Long Beach State (77-60). It was the first tournament title since winning the 2006 Las Vegas Holiday Classic and the first under head coach Frank Martin. The squad averaged nearly 80 points (79.3 ppg.) during the tournament on 49.7 percent shooting, including 51.3 percent from 3-point range, while holding its foes to just 62.7 points on 36.6 percent shooting. Junior Rodney McGruder was named the tournament most valuable player after averaging 15.0 points on 64 percent shooting, including a career-best 28 points in the final against Long Beach State. Senior Jamar Samuels was also named to the all-tournament team after averaging 11.7 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game. Four players averaged in double figures, while eight averaged more than five points. It also marked the first time since the 1964 Big Eight Holiday Tournament in Kansas City that the Wildcats won three tournament games.
UP NEXT: No. 7/10 KANSAS (19-5, 9-2 BIG 12)
K-State will make a quick turnaround on Monday, as the Wildcats play host to No. 7/10 Kansas (19-5, 9-2 Big 12) at 8 p.m. CST. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Dave Pasch, Bob Knight and Holly Rowe on the call. The Jayhawks won the first meeting, 67-49, way back on Jan. 4 in the first Big 12 game of the season for both squads.