"Blackout in Bramlage" Set As 'Cats Host Sooners Saturday

Sophomore Jordan Henriquez-Roberts posted 10 points and five rebounds in the win over Kansas.

Feb. 18, 2011

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Kansas State (17-9, 5-6 Big 12)
vs. Oklahoma (12-13, 4-7 Big 12)

Date: Saturday, February 19, 2011  |  Tipoff: 3 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.  |  Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)  |  Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com  |  Internet: ESPN Full Court/ESPN3.com
Television: Big 12 Network (Dave Armstrong, play-by-play; Jon Sundvold, analyst; Doc Carothers, producer)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  |  Satellite Radio: XM 91 (home team only)  
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 89-41 (.685) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Oklahoma - Jeff Capel (Duke ‘97) is 173-105 (.622) in his ninth season as a head coach and 94-64 (.595) in fifth season at the school.
Series: Oklahoma leads 102-90 (25-59 on the road)  |  Martin vs. Oklahoma: 2-1 (1-0 at home)  |   Martin vs. Capel: 2-1 (1-0 at home) 
Last Time Out:  K-State earned a 84-68 win over No. 1/1 Kansas on Monday at home, while Oklahoma lost to Nebraska, 59-58, on Wednesday at home.
Rankings: Neither team is ranked in The Associated Press and/or USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 polls.    
Tickets: Sold out. 

‘Cats conclude brief homestand with Sooners on Saturday
Kansas State (17-9, 5-6 Big 12) wraps up its brief two-game homestand on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to Oklahoma (12-13, 4-7 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum at 3 p.m. CT.  The squad will look to continue their momentum after knocking off No. 1/1 Kansas, 84-68, before a nationally-televised crowd on ESPN’s Big Monday.  The team is 2-1 all-time the game after beating the nation’s top-ranked squad, taking down Colorado, 93-65, on Feb. 10, 1990 and 71-65 on Jan. 22, 1994 before losing 73-69 to Oklahoma State on Jan. 23, 2010.  The contest will be broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call.  Locally, the game will be available on KMCI-TV in Kansas City, KSAS-TV in Wichita and KSNT-TV in the Topeka and Manhattan areas.  It will also be available nationally on ESPN Full Court as well as on the internet at ESPN3.com.  Fans can listen to the “Voice of the Wildcats” Wyatt Thompson and analyst Stan Weber throughout the 33-station K-State Sports Network as well as free of charge online at www.k-statesports.com.  

“K-State Proud,” the university’s student philanthropic campaign, is back for the fifth year in a row and has designated the Oklahoma game as a “Blackout in Bramlage.”  The organization is selling black T-shirts at any GTM location, including the K-State Super Store and Cat’s Closet, and on the Bramlage Coliseum concourse with $10 of every shirt purchase benefitting Student Opportunity Awards at K-State.  The campaign has raised more than $345,000 the past four years, creating two types of student awards, the K-State Hero and K-State Proud awards, and has a goal of $100,000 for 2011.  There will be a pre-game “K-State Proud” pep rally at 1:30 p.m. with a check presentation slated for the 12:00 mark of the first half.  To learn more about the “K-State Proud” campaign, please visit www.k-statesproud.org

This will be the 193rd meeting between K-State and Oklahoma in a series that dates back to 1920.  The two teams have met at least once every season since 1927, spanning five different conference affiliations - Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12.  The Sooners are one of only two schools to own an advantage in the all-time series with the Wildcats, posting a 102-90 edge since that first meeting 91 years ago.  K-State owns a 54-34 lead in games played in Manhattan since 1920, however, Oklahoma is 7-8 all-time at Bramlage Coliseum, including wins in four of the last five meetings.  The Sooners earned a 61-53 victory in their last visit to Manhattan, while the Wildcats tallied an 83-68 win in Norman in the most recent match-up on Feb. 20, 2010.  In that last meeting, the squad shot 53.3 percent from the field, including 58.1 percent in the second half, to post their second straight win at the Lloyd Noble Center.  Five players scored in double figures led by senior Denis Clemente’s 27 points.  Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly each chipped in 14 points, while Jamar Samuels added 12 points off the bench.

K-State is coming off one of its most impressive under head coach Frank Martin - a 83-68 win over No. 1/1 Kansas on Monday.  It was perhaps the team’s best all-around effort of the season, as the Wildcats connected on 56.3 percent (27-of-48) from the field, including 50 percent (6-of-12) from 3-point range, to go with an 82.8 percent (24-of-29) performance from the free throw line.  The team moved to 22-0 under Martin when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including 6-0 this season, while they are now 13-0 when scoring 70 or more points in the current season.  They posted a 29-23 edge on the glass, including holding the Big 12’s best rebounder - Markieff Morris - to zero boards.  They also dished out 16 assists on 27 made baskets.  The squad was also stellar on the defensive end, holding the Big 12’s best offense to nearly 16 points below their average of 83.9 points per game on just 44 percent shooting, including 20 percent from 3-point range.  The Wildcats turned 18 turnovers into 22 points, marking the seventh time this season that they have scored 20 or more points off of opponent miscues.

The win was the fourth against a No. 1 team in school history, which includes Missouri (65-58) on Feb. 8, 1990, Kansas (68-64) on Jan. 17, 1994 and Texas (71-62) on Jan. 18, 2010.  The team has now beaten a Top 10 team each of Frank Martin’s four years.  It was also the second most-lopsided for any unranked team over a No. 1 team since the rankings started over 60 years ago, while the 16-point margin of victory was the largest against Kansas since a 70-53 win at Ahearn Field House on Jan. 23, 1982.  There has only been one greater swing in a given year in the rivalry, as K-State won 66-56 at home before losing 91-53 at Allen Fieldhouse for a 48-point swing during the 1974-75 season.  Martin becomes the first Wildcat head coach since Dana Altman in 1993 and 1994 to record two wins over the Jayhawks.  The Wildcats have now won 11 of their last 12 games in the month of February, which included a 10-game winning streak between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. 

Senior Jacob Pullen cemented his place in Kansas State lore with a career-best night against Kansas.  The 38 points were the most scored in a win over a top-ranked team in the 14-year history of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 and the most any match-up with No. 1 since Elvin Hayes had 39 against UCLA in the Astrodome in 1968.  It was the 12th-most points ever scored by any player against any Jayhawk team and tied for the second-most by a Wildcat player.  Mike Wroblewski scored 46 in 1962, while Dick Knostman had 38 in 1952.  He went 9-of-17 from the field, including a season-best 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, with a career-best 15-of-19 effort from the free throw line.  He also dished out a game-high five assists to go with two steals and one block in 37 minutes of action.  He has now scored in double figures 97 times in his career, which has only been accomplished more by Rolando Blackman (100, 1977-81) in school history, while it was his fourth career 30-point game as a Wildcat.  He has led the team in scoring 19 times in 23 games played this season, including 10 of the last 12 contests.  

Pullen, who tied Steve Henson (1987-90) for the most games played in career against Kansas with his 127th appearance, ranks 12th among NCAA Division I active players and second among Big 12 players (LaceDarius Dunn) in career scoring with 1,938 points.  He is the second Wildcat in school history to tally 1,900 career points and just the 10th player overall in the Big 12 era with his 12 points against Colorado on Feb. 12.  The school’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals (276), 3-point field goals attempted (779) and steals (198), he is now within 174 points of all-time leader Mike Evans, who scored 2,115 points from 1974-78.  He needs two steals to become the first player in school history with 1,800 points (1,939), 400 assists (427), 300 rebounds (305) and 200 steals (198) in a career.

Although Pullen’s performance gained all the headlines, the Wildcats got solid outings from a number of players.  Sophomores Jordan Henriquez-Roberts and Rodney McGruder each tallied 10 points and a team-high five rebounds, while freshman Will Spradling added nine points and two steals off the bench.  Senior Curtis Kelly was solid all-around with six points, five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 25 minutes.  In all, nine different players scored at least one field goals, while eight grabbed at least one rebound and/or dished out one assist in the game. 

The Book on Oklahoma
Oklahoma enters Saturday’s game with a 12-13 overall record and a 4-7 mark in Big 12 action after a 59-58 decision to Nebraska on Wednesday night at home.  The Sooners has lost four in a row after winning four straight midway through conference play.  The squad thought they had tied the game with the Huskers after senior Cade Davis’  long-range jumper with less than three seconds to play.  However, after a review, it was judged a two-pointer after his foot was on the 3-point line.  The team shot 43.4 percent from the field, including 35.7 percent from long range, while the Huskers connected on 52.3 percent.  Three players scored in double figures for the Sooners led by sophomore Andrew Fitzgerald’s 15 points.  Davis, the team’s lone senior, tallied 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while sophomore Steven Pledger added 11 points.  Rookie Carl Blair dished out a game-high eight assists to just one turnover.  One of the youngest teams in the Big 12 with three sophomores, a freshman and senior in the starting lineup, Oklahoma returns just five lettermen, including one starter, from a squad that posted a 13-18 overall record, including a 4-12 mark in Big 12, in 2009-10.

The Sooners are averaging 66.9 points on 45.6 percent shooting from the field, including 34.5 percent from 3-point range, with 31.3 rebounds, 13.0 assists, 5.7 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.  The team is yielding 67.7 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting, including 35.4 percent from beyond the arc, while forcing 13.4 turnovers per contest.  The squad is balanced with seven players averaging four or more points per game led by Fitzgerald’s 13.6 points per game average.  He is shooting 51 percent from the field to go with a team-best 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 31.4 minutes per game.  Davis is averaging 12.3 points on 42 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in a team-high 35.2 minutes per game.  Pledger is averaging 12.2 points on 41 percent shooting with a team-best 54 3-point field goals.  Blair is the team leader with 103 assists to go with 7.6 points per outing.

Oklahoma is led by fifth-year head coach Jeff Capel, who has compiled a 94-64 (.595) record since taking over the program in 2006-07.  He has a 173-105 (.622) record in nine seasons as a head coach, which includes a stint at Virginia Commonwealth (2002-06).

Series vs. Oklahoma
This will be the 193rd meeting between K-State and Oklahoma in a series that dates back to 1920.  The two teams have met at least once every season since 1927, spanning five different conference affiliations - Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12.  The Sooners are one of only two schools to own an advantage in the all-time series with the Wildcats, posting a 102-90 edge since that first meeting 91 years ago.  K-State owns a 54-34 lead in games played in Manhattan since 1920, however, Oklahoma is 7-8 all-time at Bramlage Coliseum, including wins in four of the last five meetings.  The Sooners earned a 61-53 victory in their last visit to Manhattan, while the Wildcats tallied an 83-68 win in Norman in the most recent match-up on Feb. 20, 2010.  In that last meeting, the squad shot 53.3 percent from the field, including 58.1 percent in the second half, to post their second straight win at the Lloyd Noble Center.  Five players scored in double figures led by senior Denis Clemente’s 27 points.  Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly each chipped in 14 points, while Jamar Samuels added 12 points off the bench.

Getting Defensive
Part of K-State’s success in February has been due to its impressive defensive play, as the Wildcats have held their four opponents to just 66 points on 47.3 percent shooting, including 29.4 percent from 3-point range, while holding a +5.0 rebounding edge.  These foes have averaged just 9.5 assists to 16.5 turnovers with the squad posting an average of 16.5 points off these miscues.  On Monday, the team held the Big 12’s best offense - Kansas - to 68 points (nearly 16 points under their 83.9-point season average) on 44 percent shooting, including 20 percent from 3-point range, to go with 23 rebounds (16 under average), 11 assists (nine under average) and 18 turnovers (five over average).  The Wildcats took advantage of these miscues by scoring at least 20 points off turnovers for the seventh time this season.  This effort came just two days after holding Colorado’s high-powered offense to a season-low 58 points (nearly 20 points under their 80.8-point season average) in a two-points loss.  The squad held the Buffaloes to 44.2 percent shooting, including just 28.6 percent in the first half, while holding one of the Big 12’s best assist-to-turnover teams to just six assists to 16 turnovers (which were converted into 17 points).  It marked the second time in the last three games that the Wildcats have held their opponent to 60 points or less, which also includes a 53-point effort by Nebraska on Feb. 2.  The team has held 35 opponents to 60 points or less under head coach Frank Martin, including nine this season. 

Overall, K-State has been solid defensively all season, holding foes to 65.8 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting, including 34.7 percent from 3-point range, while forcing them into 16.4 turnovers per game.  The squad has held 17 opponents to 65 points or less and have limited 10 foes to under 40 percent shooting.  The Wildcats have also been stellar on the boards, averaging 38.8 rebounds per game, including a Big 12-best 15.6 offensive rebounds, while holding their opponents to 31.1 rebounds per game for an impressive +7.7 rebounding margin.  The squad has paced in the league in offensive rebounds in each of Martin’s three seasons.  This rebounding edge has helped them post 373 second-chance points (14.3 per game) compared to just 265 (10.2 per game) for its opponents.  They have out-scored their opponents in this regard in all but six games.  The team has scored 20 or more second-chance points in seven games, including a season-high 25 against both UMKC on Dec 31 and Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  This statistic has been particularly stark in Kansas State’s 17 wins, where the team has averaged 15.5 second-chance points compared to just an average of 12.1 second-chance points in the nine losses.   

Digging the Long Ball
One of the more lethal components of the Wildcats’ offense under Frank Martin has been the ability to convert from long range.  The team has posted 200 or more treys in each of the last three seasons under Martin, including a school-record 253 makes in 2009-10.  This year’s squad seems to be on track to continue that trend, as they rank fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (7.2) and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (37.1), while trailing Iowa State (233), Missouri (197) and Kansas (191) in total 3-pointers (186).  The team has tallied double-digit treys in six contests, including a season-best 14 (on 51.9 percent shooting) against Iowa State on Feb. 5.  The 14 makes ties four others for the third-most in a game in school history, while they are most since the squad also tallied 14 against UNLV on Dec. 12, 2009.  Seven different players converted on at least one 3-pointer against the Cyclones, including a season-high four by freshman Will Spradling

Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been particularly solid from beyond the arc, ranking ninth in the Big 12 in both 3-point field goals (2.1) and 3-point percentage (40.4).  He has posted at least one trey in 21 of 26 games, including two or more from long range on 17 occasions.  He has been impressive in the last 13 games, where he has connected on 44.4 percent (32-of-72) from 3-point range, which includes a 7-of-10 effort against UMKC on Dec. 31.  The seven makes tied 10 others for the fourth-most treys in school history, while he was the first to accomplish the feat since teammate Jacob Pullen did it twice a season ago.  His exploits are all the more impressive considering he shares the backcourt with Pullen, the school’s all-time leader in both 3-pointers (276) and attempts (779).  Pullen, who is seventh in 3-point field goals per game (2.2), ranks second with 51 treys, including at least two in 14 games and a season-high five against Kansas on Monday.  However, this statistic goes beyond the pair, as 10 others have at least one trey, including double-digit totals from Spradling (28), Martavious Irving (17) and Nick Russell (12). 

Practice Makes Perfect
One of the main concerns with this Kansas State team has been its ability to shoot free throws, where it 329th nationally (out of 346 teams) and last in the Big 12 at 62.3 percent (400-of-642).  However, the extra practice since the end of the semester has seemed to improve that percentage, as the Wildcats have connected on over 71 percent (225-of-314) in the last 13 games, including a season-best 84 percent (21-of-25) effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2.  During this span, the team has hit on more than 75 percent six times, including games against Kansas (82.8; 24-of-29), Texas Tech (81.3; 13-of-16), Baylor (80.6; 25-of-31), Oklahoma State (77.4, 24-of-31) and North Florida (76.9, 20-of-26).  Junior Jamar Samuels, who ranks sixth in school history in free throws attempted (486), has hit on over 75 percent (35-of-46) in Big 12 play after starting the season at 58.8 percent (37-of-63).  Pullen’s 15-of-19 effort against Kansas on Monday ranked as the seventh-most made in a game (and fourth-most in a conference game) as well as the fourth-most attempted in a contest.  They also both represented career-bests for the senior.       

Young ‘Cats Step Up
Even before the suspension of seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly before the UNLV game on Dec. 21, the play of Kansas State’s freshmen and sophomores have played a major role in the team’s record.  This nucleus has scored 931 of the team’s 1904 points thus far (49 percent), while posting 499 of 1009 rebounds (49 percent), 199 of 369 assists (54 percent) and 72 of 159 steals (45 percent).  The group boasts six of the Top 10 scorers, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Thirty-eight of the team’s 83 double-figure scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is second on the squad in double-figure scoring games with 17.  He paces the team in 3-pointer (55) and rebounding (6.3 rpg.), while he is second in scoring (10.9 ppg.), field goals (99), steals (17) and minutes (29.8 mpg.).  Freshman Will Spradling and sophomores Martavious Irving and Nick Russell rank in spots fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in scoring at 6.2, 4.8 and 4.6 points per game.  Spradling is first in free throw percentage (88.4) and second in assists (2.0 apg.) and steals (0.7 spg.), while he and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are the second and third rookie guards to earn a start under Frank Martin.

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

Bench Points
One of the definite advantage of this year’s Kansas State squad is its depth and versatility.  The Wildcats have played at least nine players in each of its 26 games, including a high of 14 against No. 18/22 Gonzaga (11/22), Texas Southern (11/26), Emporia State (11/29) and Alcorn State (12/6).  The team has used this depth to its advantage, averaging 24.2 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its foes by a margin of 630-428.  The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 18 of 26 games, including three contests with 40 or more points of bench production.  The Wildcats received a season-best 46 points from their bench vs. Duke on Nov. 23, while they posted 44 against Iowa State on Feb. 5 and 41 against Texas Southern on Nov. 26.  The 46 points versus the Blue Devils was the most from the bench since scoring 59 against Chicago State on Jan. 5, 2009, while the 44 against the Cyclones was the most in a Big 12 game under head coach Frank Martin.  The team has seen a Big 12-high 12 different players record 83 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including 23 coming off the bench from seven separate players.  Sophomore Martavious Irving leads with six double-digit scoring efforts from the bench.            
    
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes.  Since he became coach, the Wildcats have scored 2,424 points off of 2,164 turnovers in 130 games, an average of 18.6 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which, the team has outscored its foes, 448-399.  The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in seven games, including a season-best 33 points against Emporia State on Nov. 29.  The team has pressured their foes into 15 or more turnovers in 17 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison on Nov. 12, while just four opponents have posted a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.  Before the North Florida game on New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats were one of just four schools to force each of their foes into more turnovers than assists in every game.   
 
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his final season at K-State.  With his team-high 21-point effort against No. 6 Kansas on Jan. 29, he moved into second place all-time in scoring in school history with 1,850 points, passing both Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94).  He ranks 12th among NCAA Division I active players in career scoring (including second in the Big 12 to Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn) with 1,939 points in a school-record 127 games, which is less than 200 points behind all-time leader Mike Evans (2,115 points from 1974-78).  He also ranks among the Top 5 in double-digit scoring games (97, 2nd) and 20-point games (36, 3rd). 
 
Pullen ranks among the Top 5 in 17 career categories in K-State history.  Already the school’s record holder for 3-point field goals attempted (779), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 277) in the win over Emporia State on Nov. 29 with four treys, breaking his second-place tie with Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) and passing former leader Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  He also became the leader in steals with his 191st theft against the Jayhawks on Jan. 29, passing Henson’s 190 from 1987-90.  With his six makes against Florida on Dec. 11, he became the first Wildcat since Bob Boozer (1956-59) to connect on 400 free throws in a career, while his five dimes against Texas Tech on Jan. 15 made him the first since Henson to dish out 400 assists.  He tied Henson for the most games played (127) against Kansas on Monday, while his start against Texas Tech gave him 100 for his career, making him one of just four players to tally that many starts.  He ranks second in field goals attempted (1,475), free throws attempted (616) and minutes (3,705), third in consecutive starts (82), fourth in starts (108) and fifth in field goals (597).  He needs two more steals to become the first Wildcat with 1,800 points (1939), 400 assists (427), 300 rebounds (305) and 200 steals (198).

Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
Senior guard Jacob Pullen became the first Wildcat to earn preseason All-American honors from the Associated Press, as he was named first team selection by the organization in early November.  Pullen, who has been selected to a number of All-American teams, was joined on the first team by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Duke’s Kyle Singler.  He was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading K-State to its first Elite Eight since 1988.  He was already been named a preseason All-American by a number of media outlets, including to the first team by ESPN.com, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, the second team by Dick Vitale and the third team by Athlon Sports.  He was also selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for both the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, while he was recently named one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award and the midseason Top 30 list for the Wooden Award.
 
McGruder Takes Off
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been one of the team’s most consistent all-around players this season, averaging 10.9 points on 44 percent shooting, including 40.4 percent from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.7 steals in 29.8 minutes per game.  The only player to start all 26 games, McGruder also paces the team in 3-point field goals (55), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (17), field goals (99), steals (17) and minutes.  He had a career day against UMKC on Dec. 23, setting highs in five categories, including points (24), field goals (eight), field goals attempted (14), 3-point field goals (seven) and 3-point field goals attempted.  His seven treys tied 10 others players for the fourth-most in a single-game in school history, while he was the first to do it since Jacob Pullen had seven against BYU in the NCAA Tournament.  Despite the presence of the school’s all-time leader in Pullen, McGruder has been the team’s best long range threat with at least two makes from 3-point range in 17 of his 26 games.  All of 6-foot-4, he has also been the best rebounder, posting at least five boards in 20 contests, including a career-high 15 against Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  He has led the team in department on 13 occasions.  His 15 rebounds against the Red Raiders were the most by a Wildcat since Michael Beasley grabbed 17 against Missouri on Feb. 16, 2008.   

From Reserve to Starter
A reserve for much of his career, junior Jamar Samuels has made the most of his 13 consecutive starts, which has included all 11 Big 12 games.  The reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, he is averaging 10.2 points in the span on 45 percent shooting (43-of-96), including 35 percent (7-of-20) from beyond the arc, to go with 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26.9 minutes per game. Pressed into the starting lineup against North Florida due to an illness, Samuels earned his first start since the first game of his sophomore season with perhaps his best offensive day.  He collected his second career 20-point game, as he came up just one short of his career-high of 27 against Oklahoma State last season at the Big 12 Championships on March 11, 2010.  He went 11-of-15 from the field against Ospreys, including 2-of-3 effort from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 23 minutes.  He has scored in double figures in three of the last five games, including a team-high 13 points at Colorado on 4-of-7 field goals on Feb. 12 to go with a team-best seven rebounds in 21 minutes.  Samuels is closing in on a feat that only eight other players have accomplished at K-State, as he is nearing 1,000 career points (915 currently) and 500 career rebounds (478).      

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

Season Tickets Sold Out
With preseason expectations for K-State at a near all-time high, officials announced on Oct. 22 that all reserved tickets for the 2010-11 season have been sold.  K-State has sold over 12,000 season tickets to the general public and students, surpassing last year’s total by over 750 tickets.  The school has ranked among the nation’s leaders in attendance in three of the last four seasons, including ranking 31st with an average of 11,884 fans per game to 17 home games in 2009-10.  The team also ranked fourth in attendance among Big 12 institutions and was second only to Kansas in sellouts with 14.  In addition, the school enjoyed the nation’s largest average attendance increase with nearly 3,000 more fans per game.  Three of the top-5 single-season attendance averages have come in the last four years.