K-State Heads To #3/3 Missouri Tuesday
K-State Heads To #3/3 Missouri Tuesday
Feb. 20, 2012
KANSAS STATE (18-8, 7-7 Big 12) AT 3/3 MISSOURI (25-2, 12-2 Big 12)
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 * 6 p.m. CST * Columbia, Mo. * Mizzou Arena (15,061)
Television: ESPN2 (ESPN Full Court)
John Saunders (play-by-play); Doug Gottlieb (analyst)
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 93/XM 190 (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 #49, Missouri #9
K-State vs. Missouri: 118-116 (W, 75-59, 1/7/12)
In Columbia: 40-65 (L, 59-75, 1/17/11)
Frank Martin vs. Frank Haith: 1-0 (W, 75-59, 1/7/12)
Kansas State (18-8, 7-7 Big 12) concludes its gauntlet of Top 10 opponents on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats travel to Columbia, Mo., to face No. 3/3 Missouri (25-2, 12-2 Big 12) at 6 p.m. CST at Mizzou Arena. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 (as well as ESPN3.com) with John Saunders (play-by-play) and Doug Gottlieb (analyst) on the call. It will be the last scheduled meeting between the two schools, as Missouri departs for the Southeastern Conference in 2012-13. The schools have met at least twice a year for 85 consecutive seasons spanning five conference affiliations (Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12) with the first meeting coming in 1907. Tuesday’s battle will be the final game of three consecutive against current Top 10 foes, including the second of back-to-back on the road. It marks just the second time in school history that the Wildcats have faced three straight Top 10 opponent 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 foes on the road since losses to No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri in February 1990. The Wildcats are coming off a huge 57-56 win over No. 9/10 Baylor on Saturday, which snapped a two-game skid and gave the squad their second Top 10 win of the season and the seventh of head coach Frank Martin’s five-year career. His seventh Top 10 win passed Jack Hartman (six) for the second-most in school history and now trails just Naismith Hall of Famer Tex Winter (10). With Saturday’s win, K-State is now in a fifth-place tie with Texas (17-10, 7-7 Big 12) in the Big 12 standings, two games behind the third-place duo of No. 13/14 Baylor (22-5, 9-5 Big 12) and Iowa State (19-8, 9-5 Big 12) and just one game ahead of seventh-place Oklahoma State (13-14, 6-8 Big 12). With just four 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.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Kansas State has been solid on the road in Big 12 play under head coach Frank Martin, posting a 19-20 (.487) 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 six years of the Big Eight (1990-96) and the first 10 in the Big 12 to surpass the 19 road wins that Martin has posted in his tenure. This season, the Wildcats have gone 3-4 on the road, including a victory over No. 9/10 Baylor in Waco on Saturday, which was just the second over a Top 10 foe on the road since 1994.
No. 3/3 Missouri enters Tuesday’s game with a 25-2 record and 12-2 mark in Big 12 play after running its winning streak to seven with a 71-62 win over Texas A&M on Saturday. Under first-year head coach Frank Haith, the Tigers are averaging a Big 12-best 79.9 points on 50.3 percent shooting, including 38.7 percent from 3-point range, to go with 32.3 rebounds, 16.0 assists, 8.6 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. The team paces the Big 12 in seven categories, including scoring margin (+16.0), field goal percentage, steals and turnover margin (+4.6). Five players are averaging in double figures led by All-American candidate Marcus Denmon, who paces the team with 17.8 points per game and a team-high 75 3-pointers. Senior Ricardo Ratliffe is averaging 13.7 points on a Big 12-best 72.6 percent shooting and a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game, while sophomore Phil Pressey is averaging a team-high 5.9 assists and a Big 12-best 2.1 steals to go with 10.0 points per outing. The Tigers are a perfect 15-0 at home.
Saturday’s game will be the 235th meeting between K-State and Missouri dating back to Feb. 7, 1907 with the Wildcats holding a slight 118-116 edge in the series. Missouri is 65-40 all-time at home in series with four consecutive wins dating back to 2008. The Tigers have won 24 of the last 26 at home in the series, including five of seven contested in Mizzou Arena. The last Wildcat win in Columbia came by a score of 85-81 on Jan. 13, 2007. Frank Martin is 5-4 against Missouri, including 0-4 on the road.
LAST TIME OUT: KANSAS STATE 57, 9/10 BAYLOR 56
Junior Jordan Henriquez blocked Quincy Miller’s go-ahead shot with two seconds remaining, as Kansas State held on to post a 57-56 win over No. 9/10 Baylor before a sellout crowd at the Ferrell Center on Saturday afternoon. The win snapped a two-game skid and gave the Wildcats their second Top 10 win of the season and the seventh of head coach Frank Martin’s five-year career. He now has 19 Top 25 wins in his tenure, including seven away from home. The two teams battled through 12 lead changes and three ties in a tight second half. Baylor took a 51-49 lead on a jumper by Miller with 6:36 remaining before Rodriguez found Henriquez for a dunk and the foul -- the fifth on All-American Perry Jones III. Henriquez completed the traditional 3-point play to give the Wildcats a 52-51 lead with 5:05 to go. After a missed free throw by Pierre Jackson, McGruder connected on his third 3-pointer to give K-State its biggest lead of the half at 55-51 with 3:55 remaining. However, the resilient Bears fought back to take the lead, as Jackson connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 56-55 edge at the 2:11 mark. After a timeout by Martin, Rodriguez dished out his sixth assist with a feed to Henriquez for a dunk and the lead for good at 57-56 with 1:55 left. Freshman Angel Rodriguez and junior Rodney McGruder paced the K-State attack with 15 points each, while senior Jamar Samuels and Henriquez added nine points each. Coming off a 0-of-8 effort with seven turnovers against No. 4/5 Kansas on Feb. 13, Rodriguez was stellar on the day, knocking down 7-of-12 field goals, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with six assists, career-best four steals and three rebounds in a career-high 39 minutes of play. It marked the first time he has played 30 minutes. McGruder was 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Henriquez, who added a team-high seven rebounds, tied Manny Dies’ school record for career blocks (121) with three. The Wildcats are now 11-0 all-time when Henriquez leads in rebounds. After allowing 30 points off 20 turnovers in the first meeting on Jan. 10, K-State turned the game on Baylor in the second meeting, forcing 18 turnovers with 10 steals, and out-scoring the Bears, 18-13, in points off of turnovers.
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 26-10 (.722) 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 Feb. 13, as No. 4/5 Kansas handed K-State just its third home loss in February in the last four seasons. However, the squad rebounded to collect their second Top 10 win in February in the last two seasons with a 57-56 win over No. 9/10 Baylor on Saturday. All three home 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 have still won 16 straight at home against unranked teams in February dating back to 2006, including a perfect 12-0 record under Martin. Despite the loss to the Jayhawks, K-State’s overall record in the month in the last four years has been impressive, where the team is 23-5 (.821) in February, including 13-2 (.867) at Bramlage Coliseum.
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 26 games and the only ones averaging 30 or more minutes. Senior Jamar Samuels is third in starts with 23 and freshman Thomas Gipson is next with 21 (third-most among Big 12 freshmen), junior Martavious Irving has 14 starts, freshman Angel Rodriguez 10, junior Jordan Henriquez eight 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 Feb. 11, playing Rodriguez, Spradling and McGruder at the guard spots and Samuels and Henriquez at the forwards. Rodriguez has started each of the last 10 games, while Henriquez has earned consecutive starts since the Missouri, Baylor and Oklahoma games in early January.
SPARK FROM NEW STARTERS
Since jumping into the starter’s role, freshman Angel Rodriguez is averaging 9.4 points, team-leading 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 23.2 minutes per game. In this 10-game stretch, he ranks first on the team in assists (36) and steals (15) and is second in scoring and field goals (34) and fourth in minutes. Although he struggled on Monday against No. 4/5 Kansas (zero points on 0-of-8 field goals to go with a season-high seven turnovers), he rebounded to post a stellar against against No. 9/10 Baylor on Saturday with a game-tying 15 points on 7-of-12 field goals with six assists, a season-best four steals and three rebounds in a season-high 39 minutes. He has posted double figures five times in 10 games, including matching his Big 12-high of 15 points against Texas on Feb. 11 with 15 against Baylor on Saturday, while he has led in assists on seven occasions. 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 has also provided a spark in back-to-back starts for the first time since early January, posting nine points, a team-high seven rebounds and three blocks in the Baylor after collecting a career-best six blocks against the Jayhawks 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, while three swats against the Bears enabled him to tie Manny Dies’ all-time mark for blocks with 121. On the other hand, Thomas Gipson has played better after coming off the bench the last two games after eight straight starts. He posted seven points, eight rebounds and a block in 17 minutes vs. Kansas then added four points, three rebounds and a block vs. Baylor in 15 minutes.
GOOD ANGEL, BAD ANGEL
Freshman Angel Rodriguez has become a key element of the Wildcats’ attack in the last 10 games, ranking first on the team in assists (36) and steals (15), second in scoring and field goals (34) and fourth in minutes. His ability to take care of the basketball has become a huge part of the team’s success, as K-State is 14-2 this season when he records a positive or at least even assist-to-turnover ratio and 4-5 when it is negative. Factor in this statistic in the last 10 games in which he has started and it has become a glaring one, as the Wildcats are 6-1 when he has a positive or even assist-to-turnover ratio and 0-3 when it is negative. In this span, Rodriguez has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in four games -- Texas (2.0), Iowa State (5.0), Texas A&M (1.3) and Baylor (1.5) -- and an even ratio twice -- Oklahoma State and Texas Tech (twice). In these six wins, he has a 1.31 assist-to-turnover ratio (21 assists to 16 turnovers), while he has a 0.83 assist-to-turnover ratio (15 assists to 18 turnovers) in the team’s four losses in that span. For the season, he has a 1.11 assist-to-turnover ratio in 25 games played, including a 1.03 ratio in Big 12 action.
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 11 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 (70), Angel Rodriguez (70) and Shane Southwell (56) and six players have double-figure steals (including five with 20+) led by McGruder’s 32. This balance has been even more evident in the last nine games with a different player pacing the team in scoring seven times and a different rebounding leader on five occasions.
Overall, the Wildcats have seen 11 players collect 82 double-digit scoring games with McGruder posting a team-leading 21 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.
ON THE DEFENSIVE
Kansas State has been a solid defensive team this season, allowing opponents 62.8 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 30.7 percent from 3-point range, to go with a Big 12-best 38.3 rebounds, 16.7 turnovers forced, 6.2 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. The Wildcats have held 15 foes to under 65 points, including 12 below 60 points and three under 50 points. The team is 14-2 this season when holding an opponent below 65 points, including 11-1 when they score fewer than 60. Under head coach Frank Martin, the squad has a 43-3 (.933) record when an opponent scores less than 60 points. In Big 12 play, K-State is holding foes to 63.7 points on 42.5 percent shooting, including 33.8 percent from 3-point range, to go with 35.4 rebounds, 16.8 turnovers forced, 6.3 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. The Wildcats have held nine opponents to 65 points or less in league play.
K-State ranks among the Top 50 nationally in four defensive categories, including 27th in rebounding margin, 31st in field goal percentage defense, 41st in 3-point field goal percentage defense and 42nd in blocked shots. The team places in the Big 12’s Top 5 in seven defensive categories, including first in rebounding and offensive rebounds, second in field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin, third in scoring defense and 3-point percentage defense and fourth in 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 the only school to have three players rank in the Big 12’s Top 15 in rebounding (Jamar Samuels - 9th, Thomas Gipson - 15th, Rodney McGruder - 15th) and the only one with three players (Samuels - 3rd, McGruder - 8th, Gipson - 14th) 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 nine games, allowing a combined average of 58.8 points on 39.9 percent shooting, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range, while holding an +5.1 rebounding margin. The Wildcats have also forced more than 17.1 turnovers in those nine games and scored an average of 16.6 points off those miscues. The team has held six of the last eight opponents to less than 65 points (including six below 60 points), while 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 tallied 46 on Feb. 21, 2009, while the 46 scored on Feb. 7 were the fewest allowed in a league home game under head coach Frank Martin. In the last five games, the Wildcats have been even more stingy, holding foes to 57.8 points on 38.9 percent shooting -- the fewest five-game total in conference play since the 1981-82 squad allowed 56.0 points in going 4-1 against Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska from Feb. 13-27, 1982. K-State held No. 4/5 Kansas to a season-low 59 points (16.3 points below scoring average) on Feb. 13 before allowing No. 9/10 Baylor to its third-fewest point total (56) of the season and 19.1 points below its scoring average.
For their recent efforts, the Wildcats now rank among the Top 3 in eight Big 12 defensive categories in conference-only games, including first in offensive rebounds (14.8), second in scoring defense (63.7), field goal percentage defense (42.5), rebounding (35.4), rebounding margin (+4.4) and turnover margin (+1.5) and third in rebounding defense (31.0) and blocked shots (3.8).
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 2,998 points off of 2,696 turnovers in 164 games - an average of 18.3 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, 462-394. 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 16.8 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 18+ points off of turnovers in nine Big 12 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.
On Saturday, K-State’s ability to score points off of turnovers was a big factor in the win over No. 9/10 Baylor, scoring 18 points off 18 miscues in the 57-56 win. It was a reversal from the first meeting on Jan. 10 when the Bears scored 30 points off of 20 Wildcat turnovers in a 75-73 win. K-State did have 15 turnovers on Saturday, but Baylor scored just 13 points off those mistakes.
Kansas State has taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 31.3 points in the paint and 16.0 points off of second-chance opportunities. The Wildcats are averaging a Big 12-best 38.3 rebounds per game, including 15.0 on the offensive end, and have out-rebounded their opponents 20 times, including 17 times in the last 20 games. On Saturday, Baylor became just the sixth team (and third in Big 12 play) to out-perform K-State on the glass. 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 29th 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 27th nationally (and second in the Big 12) in rebounding margin (+5.6).
POINTS IN THE PAINT/SECOND CHANCE
Kansas State has posted at least 30 points in the paint in 18 of 26 games, including a combined 90 in overtime games with West Virginia (44) and North Florida (46), and have outscored their foes, 814-628, 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 193-130 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.
K-State has taken advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line this season with nearly 25 percent of their points (427) coming from the line. The Wildcats are tied for 12th nationally in free throw attempts per game (25.0), trailing among others national leader New Mexico State (30.3), while they are 43rd in the country in free throws made per game (16.4). K-State is second in the Big 12 with less than one attempt per game less than Texas (25.4), while it is tied for third with Missouri (trailing Texas and Oklahoma State) in makes per game. Opponents are averaging 22.8 personal fouls per game, while they have 45 fewer free throws attempted and seven fewer makes. The Wildcats have attempted at least 22 free throws in 19 games, 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. 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, also on Feb. 7. Of note, since totaling 40 attempts against the Red Raiders, the Wildcats have combined for just 32 free throw attempts in the last three games, including season-lows for both makes (2) and attempts(6) at Baylor on Saturday.
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 32-38 (.457) under Martin, including 4-7 this season, when they equal or are surpassed by their opponent in attempts.
Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production it’s getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 21.3 points this season, including 17.6 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.
Before winning on Saturday in dramatic fashion, Kansas State had struggled to close out games this season. The Wildcats have held a second-half lead in six of its eight losses, including five of seven setbacks in Big 12 play. Four times the team has lost when leading by 7+ points in the second half, including back-to-back road games at Iowa State and Texas. The squad surrendered 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 K-State at home on Feb. 11. The Wildcats also led West Virginia by as many as seven points after halftime before falling in double-overtime on Dec. 8, while they 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 at home, including three in the second half, before losing 63-60 on Jan. 28.
K-State has been struck by the turnover bug in Big 12 play with the Wildcats averaging 15.3 turnovers and allowing 16.1 points off those miscues. The squad has had at least 10 turnovers in each of its 14 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 12 of these games, including a Frank Martin era-worst 30 for both the Bears and Sooners (first meeting). Over 25 percent (226) of the opponents’ point total (892) 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.
MARTIN ERA HAS BEEN STELLAR
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 K-State history to guide teams to the postseason in his first four seasons. He needs two wins to tie Winter for the second-most 20-win seasons in school history (two back of Hartman), while his seven Top 10 wins trail only Winter (10) for the most. His 19 Top 25 wins are second all-time to Hartman (22) and just ahead of Winter (16).
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 (5), rebounding (6.3 rpg.) free throws (82) and free throws attempted (119), while ranking third in scoring (10.0 ppg.) and minutes (25.5). 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 No. 4/5 Kansas on Feb. 13, 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.
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 1,199 points ranks 12th in school history, just 105 points from the all-time Top 10. He also ranks in the Top 5 in school history in both career free throws (376) and free throws attempted (620). Both totals rank third, 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 Baylor, he tied Steve Henson for the second-most games played with his 127th, now trailing only Jacob Pullen (135) for most games played in a career. He also ranks in the Top 10 in three additional categories, including rebounds (669; 6th), steals (104, 7th) and blocks (89, 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. He is the first with at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career since Cartier Martin (2003-07).
McGRUDER’S STREAK ENDS
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 has responded by scoring in double digits in four consecutive games, including a game-tying 15 points in the win over No. 9/10 Baylor on Saturday. He has a team-leading 21 double-figure scoring games, which includes six games of 20+points. He ranks seventh in the Big 12 at 14.5 points per game, including sixth in league-only games at 16.2 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 score 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 eight players in the Big 12’s Top 20 in both overall scoring (14.5 ppg., 7th) and rebounding (5.3 rpg., 15th) 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 four other Big 12 categories, including eighth in field goal percentage (44.7) and offensive rebounds (2.4 rpg.), ninth in minutes (32.0 mpg.) and 11th in steals (1.2). Through 14 Big 12 games, he is in the Top 15 in six league-only categories, including fifth in scoring (16.2 ppg.), seventh in field goal percentage (44.1), free throw percentage (84.0) and offensive rebounds (2.5), 12th in steals (1.2) and 14th in 3-pointer made (1.5). Overall, he paces the Wildcats in six categories, including scoring, double-figure scoring games (21), field goals (139), field goals attempted (311), steals (32) and minutes. He joins Will Spradling as the only players to start all 26 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.
Kansas State has taken advantage of its size in the paint to post 35 more blocked shots (122-87) than its opponents this season, averaging 4.7 blocks per game. The Wildcats have posted at least five blocks in 13 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 2.1 per game. Henriquez has tallied 52 blocked shots on the year, which represents more than 40 percent of the team’s total. After posting a career-best six blocks against No. 4/5 Kansas, he tied Manny Dies’ (121; 1995-99) school record for career blocks (121) with three against No. 9/10 Baylor, including the game-winning shot with 2 seconds remaining. His 52 swats this season are the fourth-most in a single-season. He is 22 blocks away from tying Curtis Kelly’s (74; 2009-10) single-season mark. His six blocks against the Jayhawks 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 15 games, including 4+ on four occasions.
SPRADLING BUSTS OUT OF SLUMP
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 No. 4/5 Kansas on Feb. 13. 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 10.2 points on 36.9 percent shooting with a team-best 41 3-point field goals, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 30.9 minutes per game. Interestingly enough, most of his scoring has come at critical times, posting over 60 percent (163) of his scoring total (265) 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 vs. Kansas, but still has knocked down 24 of his last 26 attempts (92.3) in last eight games.
HURTS SO GOOD
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 (37). For his career, he has taken 44 charges in 60 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.
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 472 points (over 25 percent of team’s total) on 44.7 percent shooting (169-of-378) to go with 251 rebounds (25.2 percent), 103 assists (28.2 percent) and 33 steals (20.5 percent) in over 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 26 games. Rodriguez, who has played in 25 games, has started each of the last 10 games, averaging 9.4 points, team-best 3.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game. Diaz has become a key reserve in that same 10-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.
RODRIGUEZ AT THE POINT
Although it has taken some time to adjust to the college level, rookie Angel Rodriguez is starting to make an impact on the floor, earning 10 straight starts in Big 12 play. During this stretch, he is averaging 9.4 points, a team-best 3.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 23.2 minutes per game. He is first in assists (36) and steals (15) in this span, while he is second in scoring and field goals (34) and third in 3-point field goals (eight). He is also one of just four players to average 20 or more minutes per game in these 10 games. After being limited to four points in his first career start vs. Texas on Jan. 18, he has scored in double figures five times in the last nine games, including a Big 12-high of 15 points against both Texas (Feb. 11) and Baylor (Feb. 18). Against the Bears, he posted his best all-around game in this 10-game period, adding a team-best six assists, four steals and three rebounds to his 15-point effort in a career-high 39 minutes. 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.
BIG GIP GETTING NOTICED
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 (5.3 rpg.) to go with 7.9 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 5.8 points on a team-best 55.4 percent shooting and 3.8 rebounds per game in 14 Big 12 games (nine starts) this season.
OJELEYE BECOMES 3-TIME ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 RECIPIENT
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 just two seniors, he has seen action in 23 games, averaging 1.3 points on 43.3 percent shooting with 1.7 rebounds in 7.1 minutes per game. 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.
UP NEXT: IOWA STATE (19-8, 9-5 BIG 12)
K-State returns to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Iowa State (19-8, 9-5 Big 12) at 12:30 p.m. CST on the Big 12 Network. The Cyclones won the first meeting, 72-70, in Ames on Jan. 31.