K-State Travels To 9/10 Baylor on Saturday

Senior Jamar Samuels collected his 10th career double-double vs. Kansas on Monday.

Feb. 16, 2012

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

KANSAS STATE (17-8, 6-7 Big 12) AT 9/10 BAYLOR (22-4, 9-4 Big 12)
Saturday, February 18, 2012 * 12:30 p.m. CST * Waco, Texas * Ferrell Center (10,284)

Television: Big 12 Network (ESPN Full Court)
Brad Sham (play-by-play); Stephen Howard (analyst)
Channels: KMCI (Kansas City), KSAS (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka)
Internet: www.ESPN3.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 85/XM 85 (home broadcast only)
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 #53, Baylor #7
K-State vs. Baylor: 13-11 (L, 73-75, 1/10/12)
In Waco: 3-5 (W, 76-74, 1/26/10)

Kansas State (17-8, 6-7 Big 12) continues its difficult stretch of Top 10 opponents on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Waco, Texas to face No. 9/10 Baylor (22-4, 10-2 Big 12) at 12:30 p.m. CST at the Ferrell Center.  The game will be broadcast on the Big 12 Network (as well as ESPN Full Court and ESPN3.com) with Brad Sham (play-by-play) and Stephen Howard (analyst) on the call.  The contest will be the second of three consecutive against current Top 10 opponents, including the start of back-to-back on the road against the Bears and No. 3/3 Missouri (24-2, 10-2 Big 12) on Tuesday.  It marks just the second time in school history that the Wildcats have faced three straight Top 10 foes and the first time since the squad faced No. 5 Wichita State, No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Michigan in the 1964 NCAA Tournament.  K-State has not faced back-to-back Top 10 opponents on the road since No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri in February 1990.  In a slugfest between the top-2 scoring defenses in the Big 12, No. 4/5 Kansas was able to hold off a late rally from K-State to post a 59-53 win before an ESPN Big Monday crowd at Bramlage Coliseum.  In the lowest scoring Sunflower Showdown since 1999, the squad lost for the first time this season when holding an opponent below 60 points.  The Wildcats rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 37-36 lead with 11:49 to play, but the Jayhawks got consecutive 3-pointers from Tyshawn Taylor to take the lead for good and earn the season sweep for the first time since 2010.  The team has now held a second-half lead in six of its eight defeats, including five of seven in league play.  With the loss to Kansas, K-State dropped into sixth place in the Big 12 standings at 6-7, one game behind fifth-place Texas (17-9, 7-6 Big 12) and just one game ahead of seventh-place Oklahoma State (12-14, 5-8 Big 12).  With five games left in the regular season, teams continue to jockey for one of top six seeds to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and a bye to the quarterfinal round.  K-State and Kansas are the only Big 12 schools to receive a bye to the quarterfinal round of the tournament each of the past five years. 

Saturday’s game will be the seventh of at least 10 regular-season broadcasts on the Big 12 Network.  The league television package can be seen locally on KMCI-TV in Kansas City, KSAS-TV in Wichita, KSNT-TV in Topeka and KFJX-TV in Joplin, Mo./Pittsburg, Kan.  The contest can also seen throughout the Big 12 region on KBVO-TV in Austin, Texas, KZOU-TV in Columbia, Mo., KTXA-TV in Dallas, KUBE-TV in Houston, KJTV-TV in Lubbock, Texas, KCWX-TV in San Antonio, KOZL in Springfield, Mo., KPLR-TV in St. Louis and NWTX and NBTX-TV in Waco/Temple/Bryan, Texas.  All games on the Big 12 Network can be found on ESPN Full Court as well as ESPN3.com.

No. 9/10 Baylor enters Saturday’s game with a 22-4 overall record and 9-4 mark in Big 12 play after snapping a two-game skid with a 79-64 win over Iowa State at home on Monday.  Under ninth-year coach Scott Drew, the Bears are averaging 75.2 points on 48.1 percent shooting, including 39 percent from 3-point range, to go with 36.7 rebounds, 15.3 assists, 8.1 steals and 5.4 blocks per game.  Four players are averaging in double figures led by All-American candidate Perry Jones III, who paces the team in both scoring (14.0 ppg.) and rebounding (7.6 rpg.) on 52.1 percent shooting.  Newcomers Quincy Miller and Pierre Jackson are both averaging 12.4 points, while senior Quincy Acy is fourth in scoring at 12.1 points on a team-best 58.3 percent shooting.
Jackson paces the Bears in assists (5.9 apg.) and steals (1.7 spg.), while transfer Brady Heslip has a team-best 62 3-pointers.

Saturday’s game will be the 25th meeting between K-State and Baylor dating back to March 20, 1948 with the Wildcats holding a slight 13-11 lead in the series.  The Bears hold a 10-8 edge since the start of Big 12 play in 1997, while they are 5-3 all-time at home in the series.  The Wildcats have split the last four meetings at the Ferrell Center, including a 76-74 win on Jan. 26, 2010.  Baylor will be looking to sweep the season series for the first time after a 75-73 win in Manhattan on Jan. 10.  Head coach Frank Martin is 3-3 against Baylor, including 1-1 on the road, while Baylor’s Scott Drew is 4-6 vs. K-State, including 2-2 at home.

Kansas State rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to take a second-half lead on archrival and No. 4/5 Kansas, but back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Tyshawn Taylor thwarted the momentum, as the Jayhawks held on for a 59-53 win on Monday night.  In the lowest-scoring Sunflower Showdown in 13 years, Kansas was able to sweep the season series for the first time since 2010.  The 112 combined points were the fewest since a 62-47 Jayhawk win on Feb. 17, 1999, while the 59 points were a season-low and fewest allowed to Kansas in the series since it was held to 55 in a loss on Jan. 14, 2006.  K-State, which held its 11th opponent under 60 points this season, lost for the first time when holding a foe below 60 points (7-1) and just the third time under head coach Frank Martin (33-3).  The Wildcats used an 19-8 run over the first seven minutes of the second half to take its first lead since early in the game at 37-36 with 11:49 to play.  However, Taylor knocked down consecutive treys over the next two possessions, as K-State could get no closer than four points the rest of the way.  The squad held Kansas to just 39.6 percent shooting, including 30.8 percent from 3-point range, however, the team could muster just 30.8 percent shooting from the field, including 22.2 percent from long range in the loss.  The Wildcats fell to 1-12 under Martin when scoring less than 60 points.  After posting a season-low 26 rebounds in the first meeting with the Jayhawks, the squad was stellar on the boards on Monday with 45, including 21 on the offensive glass.  Senior Jamar Samuels collected his 10th career double-double with a game-tying 20 points on 7-of-15 field goals, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers, to go with 12 rebounds in 30 minutes.  It marked the first time that the Wildcats have lost (9-1) when Samuels posts a double-double.  Junior Rodney McGruder had 12 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Will Spradling added 10 points and four assists.  Reserve Thomas Gipson tallied seven points and eight rebounds.  

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 25-10 (.714) record under head coach Frank Martin, including a 16-3 (.842) mark at Bramlage Coliseum.  The squad saw its streak of 11 consecutive wins at home in the month come to an end on Monday night, as No. 4/5 Kansas handed K-State just its third home loss in February in the last four seasons.  All three losses in the month since the 2008-09 season have come to ranked teams, following No. 5 Texas (74-65, Feb. 25, 2008) and No. 16 Kansas (85-74, Feb. 14, 2009).  The Wildcats still have won 16 straight at home against unranked teams in February dating back to 2006, including a perfect 12-0 record under Martin. Despite Monday’s setback, K-State’s overall record in the month in the last four years has been impressive, where the team is 22-5 (.815) in February, including 13-2 (.867) at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State has been solid on the road in Big 12 play under head coach Frank Martin, posting a 18-20 (.474) 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.

Unlike year’s past when Kansas State took advantage of its opportunities, the Wildcats have struggled this season to close out games.  The squad has held a second-half lead in six of its eight losses, including five of seven setbacks in Big 12 play.  Four times the Wildcats have lost when leading by 7+ points in the second half, including back-to-back road games at Iowa State and Texas.  The team squandered a 53-39 lead with 14:27 left in Ames on Jan. 31, as the Cyclones won on a jumper with 1.8 seconds left, while the Longhorns rallied from a 42-27 deficit with 19:31 left in the second half to snap a three-game losing skid to the Wildcats at home on Feb. 11.  K-State also led West Virginia by as many as seven points after halftime before falling in double-overtime on Dec. 8, while it lost by two to Baylor after holding as much as a nine-point advantage in the second half on Jan. 10.  The squad also led Oklahoma by as many as six points, including three in the second half, before losing 63-60 at home on Jan. 28.  
With depth a significant strength for K-State in 2011-12, head coach Frank Martin has used seven different starting line-ups this season.  The Wildcats are one of only three Big 12 schools (Baylor and Texas Tech) to have 10 players average 10+ minutes per game, while only Texas Tech has more players (10) averaging more than 10 minutes per game in league-only games. 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 25 games and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes. Senior Jamar Samuels is third in starts with 22 and freshman Thomas Gipson is next with 21 (third-most among Big 12 freshmen), junior Martavious Irving has 14 starts, freshman Angel Rodriguez nine, junior Jordan Henriquez seven and sophomore Shane Southwell two.  Five 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 changed the lineup against Kansas for the first time in eight games on Monday, playing Rodriguez, Spradling and McGruder at the guard spots and Samuels and Henriquez at the forwards.  Rodriguez has started each of the last nine games, while Henriquez earned his first start since the Oklahoma game on Jan. 14.
Since jumping into the starter’s role, freshman Angel Rodriguez is averaging 8.8 points, team-leading 3.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 21.4 minutes per game.  In this nine-game stretch, he ranks first on the team in assists (30) and steals (11) and is second in field goals (27) and third in scoring.  Although he struggled on Monday against Kansas (zero points on 0-of-8 field goals to go with a season-high seven turnovers), he still led the team in assists for the sixth time in this span.  He has posted double figures four times in nine games, including a Big 12-high 15 points against Texas on Feb. 11 on 6-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range.  He also scored in double figures against Oklahoma State (14) on Jan. 21, Texas A&M (13) on Feb. 4 and Oklahoma (10) on Jan. 28.  Junior Jordan Henriquez also provided a spark in his first start in more than a month on Monday against the Jayhawks, as he collected a career-best six blocks to go with four points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.  His six blocks tie for the second-most in a single-game in school history and the most in a conference game.  On the other hand, both Thomas Gipson and Martavious Irving have played better off the bench.  In nine games as a reserve, Irving is averaging 6.0 points on 51.4 percent shooting to go with 1.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 17.8 minutes per game.  In his first game as a reserve against Kansas after eight straight starts, Gipson posted seven points, eight rebounds and a block in 17 minutes.

K-State has proved to be a balanced team across the board with seven players averaging five or more points, including three 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 nine 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 (66), Angel Rodriguez (64) and Shane Southwell (56) and six players have double-figure steals (including four with 20+) led by McGruder’s 30.  This balance has been even more evident in the last eight games with a different player pacing the team in scoring seven times and a different rebounding leader on four occasions.    

Overall, the Wildcats have seen 11 players collect 80 double-digit scoring games with McGruder posting a team-leading 20 such games, while Spradling and Samuels are not far behind with 15 and 14 double-figure games, respectively.  The team is much better team when three or more players register double-digit points (14-5), including a 7-3 mark when 4+ players collect 10 or more points.  In three losses, the squad have had just two players (vs. Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma) in double-figure scoring.   

Kansas State has been a solid defensive team this season, allowing opponents 63 points on 39.7 percent shooting, including 30.7 percent from 3-point range, to go with a Big 12-best 38.7 rebounds, 16.7 turnovers forced, 6.0 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.  The Wildcats have held 14 foes to under 65 points, including 11 below 60 points and three under 50 points.  The team is 13-2 this season when holding an opponent below 65 points, including 10-1 when they score fewer than 60.  Under head coach Frank Martin, the squad has a 42-3 (.933) record when an opponent scores less than 60 points.  In Big 12 play, K-State is holding foes to 64.3 points on 42.9 percent shooting, including 34.1 percent from 3-point range, to go with 35.8 rebounds, 16.7 turnovers forced, 6.0 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.  The Wildcats have held eight opponents to 65 points or less in league play.    
K-State ranks among the Top 50 nationally in four defensive categories, including 26th in rebounding margin, 33rd in field goal percentage defense, 38th in 3-point field goal percentage defense and 42nd in scoring margin.  The team places in the Big 12’s Top 5 in seven defensive categories, including first in rebounding and offensive rebounds, second in rebounding margin, third in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, 3-point percentage defense and blocked shots. 

During Frank Martin’s coaching tenure, the Wildcats have finished no lower than fourth in rebounding (twice leading the Big 12 in 2007-08 and 2008-09) in the Big 12 and have led the league in offensive rebounds each season.  K-State is one of only two schools (Oklahoma State) to have three players rank in the Big 12’s Top 20 in rebounding (Jamar Samuels - 8th, Thomas Gipson - 15th, Rodney McGruder - 16th), while the Wildcats are the only conference team to have three players (Samuels - 3rd, McGruder - 9th, Gipson - 13th) in the league’s Top 15 in offensive rebounds.

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 eight games, allowing a combined average of 59.1 points on 40.2 percent shooting, including 34.1 percent from 3-point range, while holding an +6.4 rebounding margin.  The Wildcats have also forced more than 17.4 turnovers in those seven games and scored an average of 17.3 points off those miscues.  The team has held five of the last seven 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 Wildcats now rank among the Top 5 in seven Big 12 defensive categories in conference-only games, including first in offensive rebounds (15.2) and rebounding margin (+5.1), third in scoring defense (64.3), rebounding (35.8), and turnover margin (+1.4) and blocked shots (3.8) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (42.9)

K-State has taken advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line this season with nearly 25 percent of their points (425) coming from the line.  The Wildcats are tied for seventh nationally in free throw attempts per game (26.2), trailing New Mexico State (30.6), LIU-Brooklyn (28.2), Oregon State (27.0), Maryland (26.8), Duke (26.0) and UT-Arlington (25.8), while they are 27th in the country in free throws made per game (17.0).  K-State is first in the Big 12 with less than one attempt per game than second-place Texas (25.4), while it is slightly behind the Longhorns (18.5) in makes per game. Opponents are averaging 23.2 personal fouls per game, while they have 53 fewer free throws attempted and 17 fewer makes.  The Wildcats have attempted at least 22 free throws in 19 games this season, including 20 or more attempts in seven Big 12 games.  The team combined for 79 attempts in consecutive 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 Feb. 7.  In addition, K-State has also converted on at least 20 free throws in seven games, including a season-best 30 vs. Texas Tech.  The Wildcats have more free throws made and attempted than all but 10 opponents.  The team set season-lows for both makes (7) and attempts(11) at Iowa State on Jan. 31.  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 31-38 (.449) under Martin, including 3-7 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 31.6 points in the paint and 16.3 points off of second-chance opportunities.  The Wildcats are averaging a Big 12-best 38.7 rebounds per game, including 15.4 on the offensive end, and have out-rebounded their opponents 20 times, including 17 times in the last 19 games.  The team has collected 40 or more rebounds in 10 games, including a season-best 50 against George Washington, North Florida and Oklahoma State.  The Wildcats ranks 27th 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 second in the Big 12) in rebounding margin (+6.0). 

Kansas State has posted at least 30 points in the paint in 18 of 25 games, including a combined 90 in overtime games with West Virginia (44) and North Florida (46), and have outscored their foes, 790-602, 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 185-119 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 22.0 points this season, including 18.6 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 and 38 and 32 in its two meetings with Texas Tech.  Reserves (33) scored nearly half of the team’s points against the Sooners with Jeremy Jones and Nino Williams each scoring 12.  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.  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 Feb. 7, the Wildcats registered 32 points from its reserves against the Red Raiders, including a career-high 13 points from Shane Southwell and 19 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 a 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 6.0 points on 51.4 percent shooting with 1.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 17.8 minutes per game, while Diaz is averaging 4.7 points on 50 percent shooting with 4.2 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per outing.  Three other Wildcats are averaging better than 2+ points, including two with 3+ rebounds. 
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 2,980 points off of 2,678 turnovers in 163 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, 444-381.  The squad is pressuring its foes into an average of 16.7 turnovers, including a season-high 25 by Texas Tech on Jan. 25, while foes are averaging 16.7 turnovers in Big 12 play.  For season, K-State is averaging 17.8 points off these mistakes, including 17.7 points in league play.  The Wildcats have scored 19+ points off of turnovers in eight of the last 13 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 15.3 turnovers and allowing 16.4 points off those miscues.  The squad has had at least 10 turnovers in each of its 13 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 11 of these games, including a Frank Martin era-worst 30 for both the Bears and Sooners (first meeting).  Nearly 30 percent (213) of the opponents’ point total (836) 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. 

Senior Jamar Samuels has been a key component to the Wildcats’ season, leading the team in double-doubles (5), rebounding (6.4 rpg.) free throws (81) and free throws attempted (117), while ranking third in scoring (10.0 ppg.) and minutes (25.1).  Despite missing the exhibition game and the first two games due to violations of team rules, he has collected double-figure scoring games in 14 contests (including a stretch of seven consecutive such games from Dec. 11 to Jan. 4) and to go with a team-high five 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 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.  For his efforts, he earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors on Dec. 5 for the first time in his career. 

Samuels stepped up against Kansas on Monday, collecting his second double-double in Big 12 play (and first since the Oklahoma State game on Jan. 21) with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-15 field goals, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, to go with a game-high 12 rebounds.  It was his first 20-point game of the season and seventh of his career.  Interestingly enough, the game marked the first time that K-State has lost when Samuels registers a double-double (9-1) and the first when he earns a 20-point game (6-1) in his career.  His five double-doubles this season are the most he has recorded in a single season.  He helped K-State to its first tournament title since 2006 at the Diamond Head Classic, earning 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 chances from the free throw line in tournament, scoring 21 of his 35 points from the line on 77.8 percent (21-of-27) shooting. 

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 1,190 points ranks 12th in school history, just 114 points from the all-time Top 10.  He also ranks in the Top 5 all-time in school history in both career free throws (375) and free throws attempted (618).  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, he broke his third-place tie with Askia Jones for most games played with his 125th.  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 (664; 6th), steals (102, 8th) and blocks (86, 8th).  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.

Junior Rodney McGruder saw his incredible scoring streak end at Texas A&M on Feb. 4, 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 four against UTEP on Dec. 23.  He rebounded to post his 19th and 20th double-digit scoring games against Texas and Kansas, which includes six games of 20+ points.  He ranks eighth in the Big 12 at 14.5 points per game, including fifth in league-only games at 16.3 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 score 30 or more points twice in a three-game span since Michael Beasley in 2007-08. 

Junior Rodney McGruder is one of eight players in the Big 12’s Top 20 in both overall scoring (14.5 ppg., 8th) and rebounding (5.4 rpg., 16th) this season, joining Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Missouri’s Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe, Iowa State’s Royce White, Baylor’s Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller and Oklahoma’s Romero Osby.  He also ranks among the Top 15 in five other Big 12 categories, including ninth in field goal percentage (44.3), ninth in offensive rebounds (2.3 rpg.), 10th in free throw percentage (76.8) and minutes (31.8 mpg.) and 14th in steals (1.2).  Through 13 Big 12 games, he is in the Top 10 in four league-only categories, including fifth in scoring (16.3 ppg.), sixth in offensive rebounds (2.5), seventh in field goal percentage (43.4) and eighth in free throw percentage (84.0).  Overall, he paces the Wildcats in six categories, including scoring, double-figure scoring games (20), field goals (133), field goals attempted (300), steals (30) and minutes (31.8).  He joins Will Spradling as the only players to start all 25 games this season and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes.   

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.

Sophomore Will Spradling was finally able to break out of his recent shooting slump against Texas A&M on Feb. 7, 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.  He recorded his 15th double-digit scoring game, including his seventh in Big 12 play, with 10 points against Kansas on Monday.  He entered the game with the Aggies on Feb. 7 averaging just 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 37.8 percent shooting with a team-best 40 3-point field goals, 2.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game.  Interestingly enough, most of his scoring has come at critical times, posting over 60 percent (160) of his scoring total (260) in the second half and overtime this season.  He has scored in double figures four times in the second half, including a season-best 15 vs. Loyola Chicago on Nov. 14.  He has continued to be one of the team’s best free throw shooters, connecting on 82.8 percent for the season and 84.8 percent in Big 12-only games.  He saw his streak of 17 straight free throws come to an end on Monday, but still has knocked down 24 of his last 26 attempts (92.3) in last seven games.

Sophomore Will Spradling has continued to demonstrate his toughness on the court, registering a team-best 23 charges taken.  He has posted at least one charge taken in 15 games, including a career-best three each on three occasions.  He has taken nearly as many charges (23) as the rest of the team (36).  For his career, he has taken 44 charges in 59 games, which is two 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.   

Kansas State has taken advantage of its size in the paint to post nearly 30 more blocked shots (115-86) than its opponents this season, averaging 4.6 blocks per game.  The Wildcats have posted at least five blocks in 12 games, including a season-best 11 blocked shots against North Florida on Dec. 11.  Most of these blocks have come by way of 7-footer Jordan Henriquez, who ranks third in the Big 12 with 2.0 per game.  Henriquez has tallied 49 blocked shots on the year, which represents more than 40 percent of the team’s total.  He is three shy of breaking Manny Dies’ (121; 1995-99) school record for career blocks, while his 49 swats this season tie Dies for the fifth-most in a single-season.  He is 25 blocks away from Curtis Kelly’s (74; 2009-10) single-season mark.  His six blocks against Kansas on Monday tied for the second-most in a game, including tying Kelly’s mark (6 vs. Texas A&M, 1/22/2011) for most in a Big 12 game.  He has at least two blocks in 14 games, including 4+ on four occasions.

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 453 points (nearly 25 percent of team’s total) on 45.3 percent shooting (160-of-362) to go with 245 rebounds (25.3 percent), 97 assists (27.7 percent) and 29 steals (19.2 percent) in nearly 1,200 minutes played.  Gipson ranks third in the Big 12 (behind Texas’ Myck Kabongo and Baylor’s Quincy Miller) in number of starts (21) by a true freshman and is one of just three Wildcats (along with Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling) to play in all 25 games.  Rodriguez, who has played in 24 games, has started each of the last nine games, averaging 8.8 points, team-best 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game.  Diaz has become a key reserve in that same nine-game span, ranking second in minutes (16.4 mpg.) off the bench with averages of 4.7 points on 50 percent shooting and 4.2 rebounds per game.   

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 nine consecutive starts in Big 12 play.  During this stretch, he is averaging 8.8 points, a team-best 3.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 21.4 minutes per game.  He is one of just four players to average 20 or more minutes per game in that nine-game span.  After being limited to four points in his first career start against Texas on Jan. 18, he has scored in double figures four times in the last eight games, including a Big 12-high 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting against the Longhorns on Feb. 11.  He also added 14 points in the win at Oklahoma State on Jan. 21 to go with a season-best six rebounds, a team-high three assists and two steals in 22 minutes.  He also knocked down 4-of-6 free throws in the waning moments against the Cowboys, helping the Wildcats earn their first win at Gallagher-Iba Arena since 1993.  Rodriguez continued his progression against Texas A&M on Feb. 7, scoring all 13 of his points in the second half to go with five rebounds and a team-high four assists in 23 minutes. 

The start against Texas on Jan. 18 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 23 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 8.1 points per game in 21 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.  He is averaging 5.9 points on 55.8 percent shooting and 3.8 rebounds per game in 13 Big 12 games this season.

Senior Victor Ojeleye was among 11 players named to the 2012 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball First Team on Feb. 16.  He became just the seventh player in school history to earn first team academic all-conference honors three times in a career and the first since Josh Reid (1997-2000).  He joins Lon Kruger (1972-74), Tim Jankovich (1980-82), Ed Nealy (1980-82), Eddie Elder (1983-85), Mark Dobbins (1987-89) and Reid as the only three-time recipients.  One of two seniors, he has seen action in 22 games, averaging 1.3 points on 43.3 percent shooting with 1.7 rebounds in 7.1 minutes per game.  He scored a season-high eight points against Texas Tech on Jan. 25, while he grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds at Iowa State on Jan. 31.

A double major in accounting and finance, Ojeleye has been a leader on and off the court during his playing career.  He was recently 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.  He also 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 has been named to the Fall and Spring Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls each of the past three years.

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. 

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).

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.   

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: AT No. 3/3 MISSOURI (24-2, 11-2 BIG 12)
K-State will wrap up a two-game road swing on Tuesday night with a trip to Columbia, Mo., to face No. 3/3 and co-Big 12 leader Missouri (24-2, 11-2 Big 12) at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.  The Wildcats won the first meeting, 75-59, at Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 7.