6/6 K-State Travels To Texas Tech Tuesday
6/6 K-State Travels To Texas Tech Tuesday
6/6 KANSAS STATE (22-4, 9-3 Big 12)
vs. Texas Tech (16-10, 4-8 Big 12)
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. CT
Location: Lubbock, Texas | Arena: United Spirit Arena (15,098)
Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court (Doug Bell, play-by-play; Stephen Howard, analyst; Jim Feldman, producer) | Channel Directory: WIBW (Topeka/Manhattan), Metro Sports (Kansas City), KMCI (Kansas City), KSAS (Wichita) | Internet: www.ESPN360.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst) | Live Stats: www.TexasTech.com | Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan) | Satellite Radio: Sirius 125/XM 104
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 65-28 (.699) in his third season at K-State. Texas Tech - Pat Knight (Indiana '95) is 34-36 (.486) in his third season overall as a head coach as well as at Texas Tech.
Last Time Out: K-State defeated Oklahoma, 83-68, on the road on Saturday, while Texas Tech lost to 15/17 Texas, 71-67, also on Saturday.
Series: Tied 12-12 (Texas Tech leads 7-3 at home) | Last time: K-State won 85-73 in Manhattan on Feb. 11, 2009 | Series Trend: Texas Tech is 6-0 all-time at home against K-State in the Big 12 era | Frank Martin is 2-1 vs. Texas Tech, while Pat Knight is 1-1 vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 6 in AP Top 25 and No. 6 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25. Texas Tech is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: $8, $20, $30 by calling the Texas Tech Athletics Ticket Office at (806) 742.4412 or online at www.TexasTech.com.
K-State concludes two-game road trip at Texas Tech Tuesday
Kansas State (22-4, 9-3 Big 12) continues the stretch run of the Big 12 regular season on Tuesday, as the Wildcats travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech (16-10, 4-8 Big 12) at the United Spirit Arena at 7 p.m. CT. The contest is the last of back-to-back road tilts for the squad that began in Saturday's 83-68 win over Oklahoma in Norman. After Tuesday's trip to Lubbock, the Wildcats will play two of their last three regular season games in the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum, beginning on Saturday against Missouri (20-7, 8-4 Big 12). This will be the 25th all-time meeting between K-State and Texas Tech in a series that dates back to 1955. Each squad has won 12 games in the series, however, the Red Raiders have won 11 of the 16 meetings in the Big 12 era, including all six home games. The Wildcats' last win (73-72) in Lubbock came on Dec. 4, 1986 in the last of non-conference home-and-home series. The game will be broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network with Doug Bell (play-by-play) and Stephen Howard (analyst) on the call.
K-State moved further up in the Top 10 on Monday, ranking sixth in both The Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. It marked the fourth time this season that the Wildcats have been ranked in the Top 10 in both polls, including the third straight week. It is the highest AP ranking since also placing sixth on March 13, 1962, while it is the highest ranking in the Coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92. It marks the first time that the program has ranked among the AP Top 15 for eight consecutive weeks since the 1961-62 squad was ranked among the AP Top 10 for 15 weeks, while the team's current 11-week stay in the AP Top 25 is the longest since the 1972-73 squad was ranked for 16 straight weeks.
The Wildcats are off to their best start in nearly 50 years with their current 22-4 record. The mark ties for the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 squad finished the year at 22-3. The team posted their 23rd 20-win season on Feb. 13, becoming the first Wildcat squad to tally 20 or more wins in four consecutive seasons. In addition, Frank Martin became the first head coach in school history to post three 20-win seasons to start a career, while Saturday's win over Oklahoma gave him the most wins (65) by a head coach in his first three seasons.
K-State ran its winning streak to five game on Saturday with an 83-68 victory over Oklahoma at the Lloyd Noble Center. The win was the Wildcats' fifth straight on the road in league play and guaranteed them a winning conference road record for the first time in the Big 12 era and for the first time since the 1987-88 season. The squad shot 53.3 percent for the game, including 58.1 percent in the second half, to top 80 points for the 15th time this season. Senior Denis Clemente led five players in double figures with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, to go with six assists.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (80.9 ppg.) on 46.3 percent shooting (698-of-1509), including 36.4 percent from 3-point range (178-of-489), with 39.2 rebounds, 15.2 assists, 7.2 steals and 5.0 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 15 of 26 games (including five 90-point outputs), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 14 occasions. With 91 points effort against Nebraska on Feb. 17, the Wildcats topped 2,000 points scored for the fourth consecutive season, while the current total of 2,104 points are the most through 26 games in school history, just ahead of the 1986-87 team who scored 2,095 in that span. The 80.9 points per game average could possibly rival the school record of 81.4 points averaged during the 1952-53 campaign. The 77.9 points per game average through the first 12 league games are the most since the start of the Big 12 and the most in league play since averaging 81.5 points per game to start Big Eight play in 1986-87. The team is averaging 35 points (34.6) per game in the paint, while ranking first nationally in most personal fouls drawn (647) and free throws attempted (805) per game and eighth in free throws made (530). The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 69.1 points on 41.8 percent shooting while averaging 21.3 points off of 17.6 turnovers per game. The Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 14 games, including 11 of the last 17 contests, while the 40 points off turnovers against South Dakota on Jan. 3 are the most since the statistic began being kept in 2005-06.
After Saturday's win over Oklahoma, the Wildcats are now 22-4 on the season, which is the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best in school history since the 1961-62 squad finished at 22-3. Only three other teams have fared better after 26 games in K-State history, as the 1958-59 team started 25-1 and the 1950-51 and 1961-62 squads opened at 23-3 to start the year. The win over Colorado on Feb. 13 gave the team a 20-win season for an unprecedented fourth straight season, while it made Martin the first coach in school history to post 20 wins in each of his first three seasons. It was also the earliest 20-win season, surpassing the 1958-59 team that won its 20th game on Feb. 16, 1959.
Dubbed a mid-season second team All-American by both Yahoo! Sports and The Sporting News, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 18.5 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in 3-point field goals (73), free throws (137), free throw percentage (80.1) and steals (42), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 16.1 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in field goals (140), assists (106) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (898) this year, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.6) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. Earlier this season, Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points, while his current total of 1,271 points in 93 career games ranks 10th all-time, just 33 points shy of Ed Nealy (1,304; 1978-82) for ninth place. The only player to score in double figures in all 26 games, he needs 12 3-pointers to become just the second player in school history (joining Steve Henson) with at least 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 300 assists and 100 steals. Named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Monday, Clemente has become of the one of top transfers ever to play at K-State, ranking fourth on the chart for most points by a transfer (898). He also recently joined Pullen in the school's Top 10 for career 3-pointers (121; seventh) and 3-pointers attempted (341; sixth).
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 11.7 points per game on a team-best 59.4 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 24 of 25 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 5.0 per game. He has scored in double figures in 21 of his 25 games played, including his second double-double against No. 1 Texas with 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 34 of Samuels' 35 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve with K-State holding a solid 28-6 record in these contests. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.5 points per game. Kelly, who leads the squad with three double-doubles, is shooting 58.2 percent from the field and ranks first with 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per contest. He already is tied for third place on the single season list with 50 blocks, just nine shy of Gerald Eaker's mark of 59 in 1995-96. One of the Big 12's top defenders, junior Dominique Sutton is averaging 7.9 points on 52.5 percent shooting to go with 5.4 rebounds per game.
Postgame Notes vs. Oklahoma
--Oklahoma still leads the all-time series, 102-90, including a 59-25 mark in games played in Norman... K-State won for the second straight time at the Lloyd Noble Center, marking the first time the Wildcats have won consecutive games on the road against the Sooners since the 1960-61 and 1961-1962 seasons... The win guaranteed the Wildcats a winning road mark in league play for the first time in the Big 12 era and for the first time since the 1987-88 season... The team has won five straight road conference games for the first time since the 1975-76 season... The Wildcats have won 12 Big 12 road games under Frank Martin, which nearly equals the number (14) the program had from 1996-97 to 2006-07.
--The Wildcats' starting lineup was junior guard Jacob Pullen, senior guard Denis Clemente, junior forward Dominique Sutton, junior forward Curtis Kelly and senior center Luis Colon... It marked just the 13th time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 60 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 93... In addition, Sutton, who is second on the team with 67 consecutive games played, has started 43 consecutive games for the Wildcats.
--Kansas State topped the 80-point barrier for the 15th time this season, including the third time in Big 12 play... The Wildcats improved to 15-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points... The team shot 53.3 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range... It marked the seventh time this season that the squad has connected on 50 percent or better from the field.
--Kansas State scored 23 points off Oklahoma turnovers, marking the 14th time (all wins) this season the Wildcats have scored at least 20 points off opponent's miscues... Under head coach Frank Martin, the Wildcats are now 40-5 when scoring 20 or more points off turnovers.
--Senior Denis Clemente led five players in double figures with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range... It marked his 16th career 20-point game, including his fourth in the last five games... Juniors Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen each had 14 points, sophomore Jamar Samuels had 12 points off the bench and junior Dominique Sutton added 11 points... Pullen has scored in double figures in all 26 games.
The Book on Texas Tech
Texas Tech enters Tuesday's game with a 16-10 overall record and a 4-8 mark in Big 12 play after dropping a 71-67 decision to No. 15/17 Texas at home on Saturday afternoon. The Red Raiders shot 41.8 percent from the field, including 46.4 percent in the second half, and almost erased a seven-point halftime deficit. Senior guard Nick Okorie led three players in double figures with 21 points on 7-of-12 field goals, while juniors Mike Singletary and D'walyn Roberts each added 12 points.
Texas Tech is averaging nearly 77 points per game (76.5) on the season on 44.1 percent shooting, including 38.6 percent from 3-point range, with 36.2 rebounds, 14.0 assists, 6.9 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. The Red Raiders have seven players averaging six or more points, including three in double figures. Singletary paces all players at 15.2 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting, including 34.8 percent from 3-point range, while averaging a team-best 6.7 rebounds per outing. He is also averaging 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.7 blocks in 33.0 minutes per game. One of the best point guards in the Big 12, junior John Roberson is second in scoring at 14.7 points per game to go with 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Roberson also ranks first on the squad with 50 3-point field goals. Junior guard David Tairu is third in scoring at 10.4 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting, including 49.1 percent from 3-point range. Okorie is fourth in scoring at 9.4 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting and paces all players with 1.4 steals per contest.
Texas Tech is led by head coach Pat Knight, who has a 34-36 (.486) record in his third season at the helm. He succeeded his legendary father, Bob, as head coach midway through the 2007-08 season. He is in his second full season as head coach after leading the team to a 14-19 mark in his first full season in 2008-09. He helped his father coach the Red Raiders to a 138-82 (.627) record from 2001-08, where the team made four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He was an assistant coach from 2001-04 then associate head coach from 2004-06 then head coach designate from 2006-08.
Series vs. Texas Tech
This will be the 25th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Texas Tech on the hardwood, including the 17th since the inception of the Big 12, with each team winning 12 times in a series that dates back to 1955. The two teams met eight times prior to the inception of the Big 12 with the Wildcats winning seven of those meetings, including three times in Lubbock. However, since the start of the Big 12, the Red Raiders have won 11 of the 16 meetings, including all six at home. K-State has now won a contest in Lubbock since a 73-72 win on Dec. 4, 1986, which was the last non-conference meeting between the teams. The squads have split the last four meetings, including last season's 85-73 win by the Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 11, 2009. K-State raced out to a 49-25 lead at halftime before Tech rallied to out-score the team in the second half, 48-36. Senior Darren Kent led four Wildcats in double figures with 18 points, while junior Denis Clemente had 18 points and sophomores Jacob Pullen and Dominique Sutton each added 12 points. Nick Okorie had 21 points off the bench for the Raiders, while Alan Voskuil added 17.
'Cats in February
Kansas State will look to improve its play in the month of February of late where the Wildcats have won just 18 of their last 29 games. The team is 404-331 (.547) all-time in February with 12 wins in their last 15 games at home in the month dating back to the 2006-07 season. The Wildcats have won 17 of their last 28 Big 12 games in February dating back to 2006-07, including a 7-8 mark on the road. K-State has won three or more games in the month in each of the last four seasons, including a 6-2 mark in 2008-09, the most wins in February since the 1987-88 season. The team clinched just its second winning mark in February in the last 17 seasons with Wednesday's 91-87 win over Nebraska.
Second Half Surge
One of the biggest factors in K-State's last four wins has been its ability to pick up its pace in the second half. The Wildcats have averaged 47.0 points in the second half of the last four games on 54.6 percent shooting (59-of-108), including 51.2 percent (22-of-43) from 3-point range. This is in stark comparison to the first half, where the team has averaged 33.2 points on 40.5 percent shooting (49-of-121), including just 24.3 percent (9-of-37) from beyond the arc, in this same four-game span. K-State has scored at least 40 or more points in the second half in each of these four games and have combined to out-score their foes, 188-147. This comes after trailing these four foes, 134-133, at the half. The squad has been able to overcome halftime deficits (Iowa State & Nebraska) twice in these three games to post wins after starting the season 0-3 when trailing at the half. For the year, the team is averaging 43.1 points in the second half on 49.1 percent shooting, including 41.5 percent from 3-point range.
Experience is the Key
One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State this season has been its experience on the floor. The squad boasts a starting line-up (Denis Clemente, Jacob Pullen, Dominique Sutton, Curtis Kelly and Luis Colon) with a combined 476 games of experience, including 318 games as starters. The fivesome has started 13 of the last 14 games this season, while Clemente, Kelly, Pullen and Sutton have started all 26 games. In fact, four of the five starters (Clemente, Colon, Pullen and Sutton) have been in the opening line-up in 27 in the last 28 Big 12 contests.
Most of the experience lies in the backcourt, where Clemente and Pullen have started 58 of the last 60 games for the Wildcats. The tandem has combined to play in 212 games in their respective careers, including 160 combined starts. Pullen has the team's longest active streaks for both games played (93) and starts (60), which both date back to his freshman season. He ranks eighth in school history in consecutive games played, while he is sixth in consecutive starts. He trails Steve Henson in both categories, who owns the school record in consecutive games played (127) and consecutive starts (118). Clemente, who played in 61 games with 28 starts in two years at Miami (Fla.) from 2005-07, boasts 119 games of experience to go with 86 starts in his career. There is also plenty of experience in the frontcourt where Colon and Sutton have combined to play in 187 games in the past three seasons. Sutton has played in 67 consecutive games (which ranks second on the team), including starts in 62 of the last 64 games. Colon, who was one of only two players (Pullen) to start in all 34 games a year ago, has seen action in 108 games in his K-State career, including 65 starts. The only starter without experience beyond this season is junior Curtis Kelly, who sat out last season after transferring from UConn. He played in 51 games in his two seasons (2006-08) for the Huskies with one start.
Experience can also be found on the bench, where regular reserves Chris Merriewether and Jamar Samuels have combined to play in 151 games in their careers. A former walk-on, Merriewether has played in 92 games with five starts, including action in 80 of the last 93 contests. Samuels, who has come off the bench in all but three games in his career, has seen action in 59 of the last 60 games for the Wildcats. Four-year seniors Luis Colon and Chris Merriewether need one more victory to become the outright winningest senior class in school history, as they are currently tied with Fred Barton (88; 1976-78; 1979-81) on the school's all-time list.
Although known for the guard tandem of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen, Kansas State has shown an ability to have multiple players involved in the scoring output this season. The Wildcats have seen four or more players score in double figures 20 times this season, including five or more double-digit scorers in eight contests. Even though Pullen (26) and Clemente (23) have been the consistent double-digit scoring threats, six other players have registered at least one double figure scoring game this season, including Jamar Samuels (20), Curtis Kelly (18), Dominique Sutton (eight), Rodney McGruder (six), Wally Judge (four) and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (once). The Wildcats own a 17-3 mark in games when four or more players tally double digits, while they are 7-1 when five players are in twin figures. In all, the squad has seen at least seven players score in every game (including five games with 10 or more) this season, including at least four players scoring five or more points in each contest.
Kansas State has shown the ability to be a solid rebounding team, as the Wildcats rank fourth in the Big 12 with an average of 39.2 rebounds per game. The squad is tops in the league at 15.4 offensive boards per game, while they are fourth in rebounding margin (+5.4). The Wildcats have grabbed 40 or more rebounds 11 times, including in six of the last 14 games, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards four times this season. The team posted 50 or more rebounds in back-to-back games against Cleveland State and South Dakota for the first time in back-to-back games since the 2007-08 season, while the squad grabbed 50 against the Big 12's top rebounding team (then No. 1 Texas) on Jan. 18, including 19 offensive boards which translated into a 23-10 edge in second chance points. The offensive rebound chances have helped the team average over 15 points per game (14.7) in second chance points, including 20 or more second chance points on five occasions this season.
Seizing on its Opportunities
Kansas State has capitalized this season on its opportunities from the free throw line, where the Wildcats rank first nationally with 805 free throws attempted. The squad is 10 attempts ahead of Morgan State (795), while they are one of seven schools nationally (Morgan State, Vermont, Wyoming, Cal State Northridge, Texas State and North Texas) to attempt at least 750 free throws this season. The team is eighth nationally in free throws made with 530, just two back of seventh place Northern Colorado (532) and 38 back of leader Morgan State (568).
At its current pace, K-State will shatter the 51-year-old school record for free throws made (606; 1958-59), while it will break the mark for free throws attempted (862; 2008-09) for the second straight season. This is a growing trend for Frank Martin-coached teams, where his previous two teams already rank among the top 10 in both single-season free throws (fifth and seventh) and free throws attempted (first and eighth). The squad has a shot at the Big 12 marks for both categories, which are held by Kansas in 1996-97 at 698 free throws and 1,007 attempted.
The team has connected on 20 or more free throws in 16 of their 26 games, including 12 of the last 19 contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 15 games. The Wildcats made the most of their opportunities in the win over Nebraska on Feb. 17, converting on a season-high 80 percent (32-of-40) from the stripe, including 14-of-14 in the last five minutes of the game. It marked just the second time this season that the squad has made 30 or more free throws, while it was the sixth time they had at least 40 attempts in a contest. The team set near records for both categories in a win at Colorado on Jan. 16 with 38 makes on 54 attempts. The 38 free throws are the fourth-most in school history (most-ever in a road venue) and the second-most in the Big 12 era behind the 39 against Baylor at home on Feb. 13, 1999. The 54 attempts are the third-most in school history (most-ever in a league game) and the most since the Wildcats set the school mark with 56 against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958.
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 1,795 points off of 1,568 turnovers in 93 games, an average of 19.3 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past three years have come off of offense generated from these turnovers. In 2007-08, the Wildcats scored 18.9 points per game off of 16.2 turnovers per game, while in 2008-09, the team scored 25.7 points off of an average of 17.0 turnovers. This season has been no different with the squad averaging 21.3 points off of 17.5 opponent mistakes per game. K-State has scored 20+ points off of turnovers 14 times, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most since the stat began being kept in 2005-06. The team also scored 20 + points off of turnovers against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), WSU (39), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29), Cleveland State (30), Texas A&M (23), Colorado (23 & 26), Nebraska (22 & 29) and Oklahoma (23). The team has a 40-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Martin, including a 14-0 mark this season.
Right Man, Right Time
Senior Denis Clemente seems to play his best basketball against the best competition. He has been the team's leading scorer in conference play, averaging a team-best 18.3 points on 40.8 percent shooting (73-of-179), including 38.9 percent (37-of-95) from 3-point range, this season. This has included a stretch in the last five games, in which, he has averaged 22.2 points on 47.4 percent shooting, including 48.9 percent from beyond the arc. In all, he has scored in double figures in 11 of 12 league games, including five 20-point outings. For his career, he has been even better in Big 12 contests, averaging 18.4 points (515) on 41.6 percent shooting (171-of-411), including 39.9 percent (73-of-183) from 3-point range, in 28 career games. He has scored in double figures in 25 of these conference games, including nine 20-point games. He has led the Wildcats in scoring 15 times in this stretch. In comparison, he is averaging just 12.8 points (383) in his 30 career non-conference games on 38.1 percent shooting (136-of-357), including 30.4 percent (48-of-158) from beyond the arc. He has scored in double figures 21 times in these contests with four 20-point outings. This season, he averaged 14.1 points during non-league play on 37.9 percent shooting, including 29.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Quite A Duo
Senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen have become quite the scoring duo for the Wildcats in their two seasons together. The two have combined to score 1,850 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second on the team in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.6 points per game through 26 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 18.5 points per game. The 34.6-point combined average is the third-highest among Big 12 backcourts (Baylor and Colorado), while the 34.9 points per game average in conference-only games is also third among backcourts (Baylor and Oklahoma State). The 34.6-point average is the third-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and just ahead of Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5). Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 31.7) guard tandem in school history since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76.
The duo has combined to score at least 20 points 52 times in 58 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 36 occasions. After a recent slump, in which, the two combined to shoot just 22.6 percent from the field against No. 1/1 Texas and Oklahoma State, the tandem seemed to get back on track against No. 24 Baylor, connecting on 50 percent from the field, including 60 percent from 3-point range, with 42 points. It marked the ninth time (11th now) that the pair has combined to score 40 or more points in 58 career games. They were perhaps at their best in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, as the two combined for 50 points on 57.1 percent shooting (16-of-28) from the field, including 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from 3-point range, in the win. The game against the Rebels was just the fourth in which both players have topped 20 or more points in the same contest following Kansas on Feb. 14, 2009, No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22, 2009 and Washington State on Dec. 5, 2009.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season. After his 13-point effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2, he became just the 11th player in school history to eclipse 1,200 career points and the first since NBDL All-Star Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07) in 2006. Pullen broke into the school's all-time Top 10 for scoring in the win over Nebraska on Feb. 17, passing Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82) for 10th place. His current total of 1,271 points in 93 games is 33 shy of Ed Nealy (1,304; 1978-82) for ninth place and 56 back of Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) for eighth. If he keeps up his current career scoring average (13.7 ppg.), he would finish in the Top 5 just behind Mike Evans (2,115; 1974-78), Rolando Blackman (1,844; 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834; 1989-94) with over 1,700 points. He became the 21st player to tally 1,000 career points, including the eighth guard, with his fourth 3-point field goal of the first half against Alabama on Dec. 19.
Pullen ranks in the top 5 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted in school history, ranking second in attempts with 542 and third in makes with 188. After moving past Cartier Martin (178/437 attempts; 2003-07) in both makes and attempts, he now sets his sights on eclipsing two of the best 3-point shooters in school history in Askia Jones (237/624 attempts; 1989-94) and Steve Henson (240/537 attempts; 1987-90). Pullen has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 22 games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12. This season, he is connecting on 39.2 percent (73-of-186) of his attempts from beyond the arc. His 73 treys rank eighth on the school's single-season list.
More on Pullen
In addition to moving up several scoring charts, Jacob Pullen is also ascending the school's record book in both assists and steals. He became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston on Nov. 19 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off. With his three steals against Oklahoma on Feb. 20, he is now alone in second place on the all-time list at K-State, just 54 back of all-time leader Steve Henson (190; 1986-90). Pullen moved into the school's career Top 10 in assists with his 248th vs. Washington State on Dec. 5 and is now in fifth place with 312 assists. With his 10-assist outing against Colorado on Feb. 13, he became just the fifth player in school history to top 300 or more assists and the first since Clent Stewart (395; 2004-08) in 2007. Pullen needs just 12 3-pointers to join Steve Henson (1986-90) as the only players in school history with at least 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 300 assists and 100 steals in a career.
Kelly a Key Factor Down Low
Junior Curtis Kelly is starting to develop his game down low for the Wildcats after sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from UConn. A starter in all 26 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game on 58.2 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.3) and blocks (1.9) per contest. He had perhaps his best all-around game in the win over Colorado on Feb. 13, recording his third double-double (including his first in Big 12) play with 12 points and a career-tying 11 rebounds to go with three blocked shots and three steals in 29 minutes of action. The leader in double-doubles, Kelly also performed the feat in consecutive games against Ole Miss (18 points, 10 rebounds) on Nov. 20 and IUPUI (11 points, 11 rebounds) on Nov. 28. He also had a solid effort in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 field goals with eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 32 minutes. He was also the principle defender of Texas' Damion James, holding the national and Big 12 Player of the Year candidate to just nine points on 3-of-12 field goals with seven rebounds and four turnovers. In all, he has scored in double figures 18 times, including in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the team in rebounding 10 times. He has shot over 60 percent in 14 games, including connecting on 81.8 percent (9-of-11) against Loyola Chicago on Nov. 13 with a career-best 22 points. He also paces the squad with 50 blocks, which is tied with one other player for the third-most in a single season. The total is nine short of the school record of 59 held by Gerald Eaker (1995-96). He has at least two blocks in 13 games, including a career-best six against South Dakota.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels is emerging as an early candidate to become the second Wildcat to earn the Big 12's Sixth Man of the Year award, as he boosts the team off the bench at nearly 12 points and five rebounds per outing. Samuels, who is third in scoring at 11.7 points per game, had a breakout game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, posting his second double-double with 20 points and a career-best 12 rebounds against one of the best frontcourt tandems (Damion James and Dexter Pittman) in the nation. The 20-point outing was the third of his career (second this year) and just one point off his career-best of 21 scored against Fort Hays State (No. 12 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, while his 12-rebound effort was just the second double-digit rebounding game of his career. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 20 times with 19 of those coming off the bench, including in 15 of the last 18 games. For his career, 34 of Samuels' 35 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. He is averaging 9.8 points on 56.3 percent (188-of-334) in 56 career games off the bench, including 11.7 points per game on a team-best 59.4 percent shooting this season. He has been solid since the start of league play, averaging 11.5 points on a team-best 59.3 percent shooting (51-of-86) and 4.9 rebounds per game. His 51 field goals in Big 12 play trail only Denis Clemente (73) and Jacob Pullen (54) through 12 league games.
Clemente Named Big 12 Player of the Week Again
Senior Denis Clemente was the named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Monday when he shared the honor with Oklahoma State's James Anderson. He helped run the Wildcats' winning streak to five games with victories over Nebraska (91-87) and Oklahoma (83-68) this past week. He averaged 24.0 points on 53.1 percent shooting (17-of-32), including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from 3-point range, in the two wins with 4.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 36.5 minutes per game.
Clemente began the week by scoring a game-tying 21 points in helping the squad sweep the season series from Nebraska for the first time since the 2003-04 season on Feb. 17. He connected on 6-of-14 field goals, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range, with three assists and three steals in 38 minutes. He followed with a game-high 27 points in the Wildcats' second straight win at the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday. He went 11-of-18 from the field, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, with a game-high six assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes. The 11 field goals is a season-high for a player this season, while it marked the fifth time he has had five or more treys in a game.
Clemente, who has three career Big 12 Player of the Week honors, earned his first award this season on Feb. 7 in helping the squads to road wins at Nebraska (76-57) and Iowa State (79-75). He averaged 26.5 points on 50 percent shooting (16-of-32), including 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from 3-point range, in the two wins with 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 36.0 minutes per game. He posted just his second career 30-point game in the Wildcats' fourth straight win at Iowa State on Feb. 6, while it was his highest point total since tying the Big 12 record with 44 against Texas on Jan. 31, 2009. He was also named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week on Feb. 8 for his efforts, marking the second time in his career he has been named a National Player of the Week after he earned the honor from ESPN.com on Feb. 2, 2009.
One of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, Clemente has helped the Wildcats to their highest ranking in the AP poll since 1962 at No. 6 as well as their highest ranking in the Coaches' poll, also at No. 6, since USA Today took over ownership in 1991-92. He is the team's second-leading scorer (and 11th in the Big 12) at 16.1 points per game and has scored in double figures in 23 games. He ranks in the Top 10 in four Big 12 categories, including third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), fifth in 3-point field goals made per game (2.4), seventh in minutes played and ninth in assists.
Clemente Among Best Transfers
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the career 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28, 2009. Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 898 points his two-year career on 40 percent shooting (307-of-768) from the field, including 35.5 percent (121-of-341) from 3-point range, in 58 games. He broke into the school's top 10 for career points by a transfer with his 23-point effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2, surpassing Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96). He currently ranks fourth on the list, trailing Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88), Willie Murrell (1,112; 1962-64) and Jeremiah Massey (929; 2003-05). He needs 102 points to become just the sixth player in school history to top 1,000 points in a two-year career and the first since Mitch Richmond (1,327 points; 1986-88). He has also cracked the school's Top 10 in 3-point field goals, ranking sixth in attempts (341) and seventh in makes (121).
The D Stands for Defense
Junior Dominique Sutton is starting to state his case as one of the premier defenders not just in the Big 12 but nationally. Regularly assigned the opponent's top offensive performer for much of his career, he has established himself as a top-line defender this season. He has been assigned to defend the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, UNLV's Derrick Jasper, Colorado's Alec Burks, Kansas' Xavier Henry and Iowa State's Marquis Gilstrap. Sutton has held his opponents to a collective 39.7 shooting percentage (75-of-189), including a 26.9 percentage (14-of-52) mark from 3-point range, this season. Thompson, who entered the game on Dec. 5 as the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, shot just 5-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-4 from long range, with nine turnovers. Crawford had 16 points (five from the line) against Sutton, but shot just 5-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-5 from 3-point range, with three turnovers. Jasper was held scoreless for the first time in his UNLV career, going 0-of-3. He was also solid on Big 12 Newcomer of the Year candidate Marquis Gilstrap, who was 4-of-16 from the field, including just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, with 18 points in the first meeting on Feb. 6. He also played a role in the defense of Texas A&M star Donald Sloan, who was held to just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting with three turnovers.
Colon Back to Action
Senior Luis Colon made his long awaited debut against No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, scoring one point and grabbing five rebounds in 11 minutes of action off the bench. Colon, who was also hurt in the preseason, missed the first nine games off the season due to an off-the-court issue that has since been resolved. A key cog to the Wildcat attack last season, he was one of two players (along with Jacob Pullen) to start all 34 games a year ago, averaging 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds per game. Colon, who is averaging 3.0 points and 3.8 rebounds, has started 13 of the last 14 games, including 12 straight games dating back to the Missouri game on Jan. 9. His biggest impact has been on the defensive end of the court, where he played a huge role in limiting Texas' Dexter Pittman to six points and seven rebounds in the win on Jan. 18. Colon's overall production has picked up in the last four games, where he is averaging 5.8 points on 45.5 percent shooting to go with 4.5 rebounds per game. He had a big game in the win over Colorado on Feb. 13, tying a season-high with nine points to go with six rebounds.
Knocking Off No. 1
With its 71-62 win over top-ranked Texas on Jan. 18, Kansas State knocked off a No. 1 team for just the third time in school history and the first time since beating No. 1 Kansas, 68-64, at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. It was the second win over a No. 1 team on the Bramlage Coliseum floor (including the first match-up of Top 10 teams in the arena's 22-year history) and the first since defeating No. 1 Missouri, 65-58, on Feb. 8, 1990. The contest against the Longhorns was 16th in the program's history against the No. 1 team and the first since losing to top-ranked Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002. The Wildcats are now 3-12 (.200) all-time against No. 1 teams with all three wins coming in the last seven meetings with a top-ranked squad. The game was also just the third match-up with a No. 1 team when K-State was also ranked, including just the second time when ranked in the Top 10. Those other occasions were both losses, as the then fourth-ranked Wildcats lost to top-ranked Kentucky in the NCAA Championship in Minneapolis on March 27, 1951 and when No. 14 K-State lost at home to No. 1 Missouri on Jan. 30, 1982.
Pullen Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Jacob Pullen was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Dec. 14 in an announcement by the league office. Pullen, who helped the Wildcats to wins over Xavier and No. 18/17 UNLV, averaged 22.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting (13-of-27), including 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range, for the week with 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. Pullen began the week by scoring 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half of a 71-56 win over the Musketeers in 24 minutes. He then followed with a season-high 28-point output in a 95-80 win over the nationally-ranked Runnin' Rebels, including a career-best 7-of-10 effort from beyond the arc. The seven 3-point field goals tied eight other players for the fourth-most in school history.
Pullen leads the squad in scoring (18.5 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (26), 20-point games (10), 3-point field goals (73) and attempts (186), free throws made (137) and attempted (171), free throw percentage (80.1) and steals (42). He ranks among the Big 12 leaders in eight categories, including third in both scoring and 3-point field goals per game, sixth in steals, ninth in free throw percentage, 11th in assists and 3-point field goal percentage, 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and 13th in field goal percentage (41.4). His 26 consecutive double-figure games tie for the third-longest streak in school history, while his 65 career double-digit scoring efforts ranks ninth in school history.
Martin Earns Coaching Honor From CollegeInsider.com
Head coach Frank Martin was honored for Kansas State's terrific start to the season on Dec. 30, as CollegeInsider.com named him the Jim Phelan award winner as the mid-season National Coach of the Year. Martin has K-State off to its best start since the 1961-62 season and a tie for fourth-best start in school history with its current 22-4 record. Only three other teams - 1950-51, 1958-59 and 1961-62 teams - have a better record after 26 games in school history. The team earned their fifth Top 10 ranking this season, including their fourth in both polls, on Monday when the Wildcats rose to No. 6 in each poll. It is the highest ranking in the AP since also ranking sixth on March 13, 1962, while it is the highest in the Coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92. Martin guided K-State to just third-ever win over a No. 1 team and the first since 1994 with a 71-62 victory over then No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18. The win over No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 24 gave the Wildcats four wins over Top 25 teams for the first time ever in a regular season. The four wins over Top 25 teams (No. 18/21 Dayton, No. 18/17 UNLV, No. 1/1 Texas and No. 24/RV Baylor) tie Kansas for the most by a Big 12 team this season.
Although it was ended at Missouri on Jan. 9, K-State posted its longest winning streak in more than 15 years earlier this season when the team won 10 straight from Nov. 22, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010. The 10-game winning streak was the longest since also winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season and just the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history. The squad completed December perfect for just the eighth time and the first time since the 1998-99 season with their 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Dec. 29. During the streak, the team knocked off two ranked non-conference teams (No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22 and No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12) for the first time since the 1958-59 season (beat No. 4 N.C. State and No. 14 St. Joseph's on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958). The 13 non-conference wins tie for the 1993-94 team for the most in school history, while the .928 non-league winning percentage is the best. He now has the most wins by a head coach in his first three seasons, surpassing Lon Kruger, while the win over Colorado on Feb. 13 made him the first K-State coach to have three 20-win seasons to start a career.