K-State hits the road to play Colorado Saturday
K-State hits the road to play Colorado Saturday
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007
Tipoff: 3:01 p.m. Central
(CU leads 31-28 in
TV: ESPN Plus
Talent: Bill Doleman (Play-by-Play)
and Larry Farmer (Analyst)
Channels: KMCI (
Radio: K-State Sports Network (31 affiliates),
Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (Analyst)
K-State begins stretch run with road trip to Colorado on Saturday
Kansas State (19-9, 8-5 Big 12) looks to get back to its winning ways on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Boulder, Colo., to face Colorado (6-17, 2-11 Big 12) at the Coors Events Center at 3:01 p.m. The team, which posted a 78-59 win over the Buffaloes on Feb. 10, will look to earn its first win in Boulder since 2005 and its first season sweep of Colorado since 1992. K-State, which owns a 90-43 edge in the all-time series, has just two wins over the Buffaloes at the Coors Events Center since the inception of the Big 12 in 1997. A win on Saturday would also give the Wildcats’ 20 for the first time since the 1998-99 season and the first time in the regular season since 1987-88.
The game will be televised regionally on ESPN Plus (KMCI - Kansas City; KSAS - Wichita; KSNT - Topeka) with Bill Doleman (play-by-play) and Larry Farmer (color) calling the action. It will be the eighth of 12 regional broadcasts on the Big 12’s television package for the Wildcats. The audio broadcast can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call.
Despite a racious sold-out crowd on ESPN’s “Big Monday,” Kansas State could not get its offense on track against archrival and No. 9/8 Kansas in falling 71-62 on Feb. 19. The Wildcats shot just 32.3 percent from the field, as they lost for the 24th straight time to the Jayhawks at home. Senior Cartier Martin led three players in double figures with a team-high 19 points, while junior Clent Stewart added 11 points.
Noting the Kansas Game
*With the loss, Kansas State fell to 172-89 all-time against Kansas, including 70-44 in Manhattan... The Wildcats have lost 34 of their last 35 meetings with the Jayhawks, including 24 consecutive in Manhattan... The last K-State win at home in the series came on Jan. 29, 1983.
*Senior Cartier Martin led all Wildcat scorers with 19 points against the Jayhawks... It marked his 69th career double-figure scoring game, including his 12th straight... Junior Clent Stewart notched his fifth double-figure scoring game with 11 points, while Lance Harris added his 13th of the season.
In this week’s RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) ratings, the formula used by the NCAA to help determine which teams go to the post-season tournament, Kansas State ranks between Nos. 49-59. A team’s RPI is sum of three values: the team’s winning percentage, its opponents’ average winning percentage (strength of schedule) and its opponents’ opponents’ average winning percentage. This week, K-State’s best RPI ratings are from CollegeRPI.com (50), Mike Greenfield’s Team RPI (50), RealTimeRPI.com (55) and CBS Sportsline’s RPI (59), while the team is rated 49th in the latest Sagarin rankings.
A proven winning formula for NCAA Tournament selection over the years has been the ability of teams to win 20 games and post 10 or more conference victories. According to data compiled by statistician Ken Pomeroy on his website, kenpom.com, which lists pre-NCAA Tournament RPI rankings and win-loss records since 1999, of the 169 teams from BCS (Bowl Championship Series) conferences that have at least 20 overall Division I wins and 10 regular-season conference wins on Selection Sunday, all 169 have received an automatic berth or at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. In the history of the Big 12, every team that has finished in the top four, posted at least 20 overall wins and earned 10 conference regular season wins has been invited to the “Big Dance.”
Closing on 20
With its 19-9 overall record, Kansas State has already posted its highest win total in more than seven seasons and highest since tallying 20 in 1998-99. The Wildcats are one win shy of 20 victories, which would mark just the fourth time in the last 20 seasons a team has achieved that benchmark and the first time in the regular season since 1987-88. K-State has tallied 20 or more wins on 18 occasions in its history. If the team is able to achieve the mark, Bob Huggins will join Lon Kruger (posted a 20-11 mark in 1986-87) as the only rookie head coaches in school history to tally such a distinction. Huggins has posted 20 20-win seasons in his 24 years as a coach, including 12 seasons of 25 wins or more. With their eighth Big 12 win against Iowa State, the Wildcats have posted their highest league win total in the Big 12 era and and most in a single-season since tallying an 8-6 mark in the Big Eight in 1988-89.
A staple of the starting line-up in previous seasons, senior Cartier Martin has been particularily effective off the bench this season. He has scored in double figures in 13 of the 15 games he has not started for the Wildcats, including six 20-point efforts against UMES (23) on Dec. 19, Chicago State (25) on Jan. 22, Missouri (22) on Jan. 31, Texas (27) on Feb. 3, Colorado (25) on Feb. 10 and Nebraska (22) on Feb. 13. Martin is averaging 17.5 points on 48.3 percent shooting in those 15 games off the bench with 5.2 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game. Martin has been even better in that role in the last 11 games, averaging 19.1 points on 51.9 percent shooting, including 48.3 percent from 3-point range, with 5.3 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game. Kansas State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 25.8 points coming from its reserves this season. The impact has been even more telling in the last 22 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 27.8 points off the bench and have outscored their foes by a 612-375 margin. The most telling aspect of the bench play has been its diversity, which has seen significant scoring from 10 different players.
Taking Advantage of Turnovers
One of the biggest factors in Kansas State’s improved play has been its ability to force its opponent into turnovers and then to capitalize with points off those miscues. The Wildcats’ stifling defense has forced an average of 15.8 turnovers (332), including an average of 5.8 steals, in the last 21 games, while averaging 18.5 points off those turnovers. The team scored 65 points off a combined 51 turnovers in back-to-back wins over Kennesaw State and Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 17 and 19. The 32 turnovers by UMES (which yielded 37 points) was just five short of the school record of 37 set by Vanderbilt in December 1969. K-State forced a season-high 28 turnovers in the win over USC on Dec. 22 and converted those into 24 points. The team scored 19 points off 15 New Mexico turnovers en route to capturing its first in-season tournament title since 1995. K-State has continued the trend of late by scoring 22 points off 16 Texas A&M miscues, 19 points off 15 Texas Tech turnovers, 23 points off 16 Missouri miscues, 28 points off 23 Colorado turnovers and 21 points off 16 Kansas miscues. The average of 15.3 turnovers forced per game is the highest since the 1994-95 season averaged 16.7 turnovers.
Dishing Out the Assists
Although, Kansas State will not break its school record for assists this season, the Wildcats have nevertheless turned in a solid effort by averaging 15.5 assists per game this season. The team is on pace to tally 481 assists this year, which would be the fourth-most in school history since the statistic began being kept in 1976 and the most since posting 491 in 1997-98. The team has also posted a solid 1.1 assist-turnover ratio, including a 1.2 mark in Big 12-only games. K-State has posted 20 or more assists on six occasions this year, including a season-high 25 against Cleveland State on Dec. 5. Junior Clent Stewart’s 2.6 assists average leads five players with two or more assists, which has never happened at K-State since assists began being kept in 1976.
After struggling for most of the past decade on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with seven victories (second-most in the Big 12) away from Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since the 1995-96 season. The team also has five true’ road wins - at Rutgers, North Dakota State, Missouri, Iowa State and Texas - already this season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Wildcats also captured five wins. K-State has also won three consecutive conference road games for the first time since January 1988. This is contrast to the previous seven seasons, in which, the team had no more than four wins away from Manhattan in a season and compiled a 15-72 overall record, including a 10-63 mark in a true’ road venue.
The Book on Colorado (6-17, 2-11 Big 12)
Colorado enters Saturday’s contest with a 6-17 overall record and 2-11 mark in Big 12 Conference play after dropping their fourth straight game at Iowa State, 55-53, on Wednesday night. The Buffaloes, which held a 30-26 advantage at the break, shot 37.9 percent from the field against the Cyclones, including 40 percent in the first half. The team got a big night from leading scorer, Richard Roby, who posted a game-high 23 points on 10-of-21 field goals to go with seven rebounds in 37 minutes. Forward Dominique Coleman collected 11 points, seven rebounds and a team-high three steals, while
fellow forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson added a game-high 11 rebounds to go with four points and four assists in the loss.
Colorado is averaging 68.3 points on 41.2 percent shooting with 37.0 rebounds and 13.0 assists on the season. The youthful Buffaloes with just two seniors on their squad have five players averaging seven or more points, including three in double figures. One of the top players in the Big 12, Roby paces the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game to go with 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists on a team-best 31.4 minutes per game. Freshman guard Xavier Silas averages 11.9 points on 38.9 percent shooting to go with 37 3-point field goals, while senior forward Dominique Coleman adds 10.8 points on 50.3 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Sophomore forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson is averaging 8.0 points on a team-best 53.2 percent shooting to go with 6.1 rebounds, while rookies Jeremy Williams and Kal Bay add 7.5 and 6.3 points per game.
Colorado is led by veteran coach Ricardo Patton, who has posted a 183-157 mark in his 11th season at the helm. Patton, who became interim coach in 1995-96, announced on Oct. 25 that this would be his last season of coaching at Colorado. He is 15-9 all-time against Kansas State, including an impressive 8-2 edge in games played in Boulder, Colo. This will be the second meeting between Patton and Bob Huggins in their respective careers.
Series Verus Colorado
This will be the 134th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Colorado in a series that dates back to 1933. The Wildcats hold an 90-43 advantage in the all-time series, however, the Buffaloes hold a 31-28 edge in games played in Boulder, Colo. Colorado owns a 14-9 lead in the series since the start of the Big 12, including an 8-3 edge in games played at home. The Buffaloes have won six of the last 10 games played between the two squads, including four of the last five games played at the Coors Events Center.
Despite big games from Lance Harris and Cartier Martin, the Wildcats struggled to find their offense in the closing minutes against the Buffaloes last season in Boulder in falling 79-75 on Jan. 28, 2006. Down 67-66 with just over four minutes to play, K-State managed just two points over the next three minutes as Colorado got a pair of free throws and three straight lay-ups to push the lead to 75-68 with 2:02 on the clock. A lay-up by Harris and a 3-pointer by Martin kept the Wildcats in the fight, as the Buffaloes missed four straight free throws in the final 33 seconds. Another lay-up by Harris closed the gap to 78-75 with 12 seconds left, but Richard Roby converted on 1-of-2 from the stripe a few seconds later to put the game out of reach. Harris sizzled all night long in the game and finished with a 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Martin added a game-high 24 points on 7-of-15 field goals, including 5-of-8 from long range, to go with a team-best nine rebounds.
Home Sweet Home
Kansas State has continued to make Bramlage Coliseum one of the toughest home venues in the Big 12, as the Wildcats have posted a 12-2 mark at home this season, including a perfect 7-0 mark in non-conference games. The team has tallied an impressive 73-25 (.745) mark at home since the start of 2001-02 season, including 10 or more wins each of the past six years. With just one home game remaining this season, the Wildcats have already clinched a winning record at home for the 61st consecutive season, which has spanned three arenas and nine head coaches dating back to the 1946-47 season. The team has registered an 841-323 (.723) record in home games all-time, including a 213-82 (.722) mark in Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1988.
In addition to winning games, K-State has boasted big crowds this season at home. Through 14 games, the Wildcats have posted an average of 12,418 fans per game, which ranks as the second-highest average attendance in school history and the highest since 12,978 fans cheered on the 1988-89 Wildcats. The team already boasts four sellouts this season (William & Mary, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas), which is the most in a single year at Bramlage Coliseum.
Hoskins Emerges As A Leader
One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State’s improved play of late has been due to the emergence of junior David Hoskins. He has averaged 15.5 points in the last 21 games on 45 percent shooting with team-leading 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game. In that span, Hoskins is first on the squad in rebounds and steals, while he second in scoring, field goal percentage and assists. His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 15 in four categories, including ninth in free throw percentage (77.1), 14th in scoring (14.3 ppg.) and 16th in rebounding (6.0 rpg.). Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is 12th in scoring (15.3 ppg) and 14th in rebounding (6.6 rpg).
He has scored in double figures in 19 of the last 21 games, including 20 or more points on five occasions. The stretch began with a 17-point effort against Cleveland State on Dec. 5 and continued with 14 points against North Dakota State on Dec. 9. Hoskins continued his impressive play at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic, where he was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 15.8 points on 70 percent shooting to go with a team-best 5.8 rebounds. He came through in a big way offensively against Texas Tech on Jan. 8, posting 23 points on 7-of-13 field goals. Hoskins stepped his game even more in wins over Iowa State and Chicago State with back-to-back double-doubles, posting 22 points against the Cyclones with a career-high 11 rebounds in 36 minutes before totaling 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Cougars on Jan. 22. He tallied his fifth 20-point game against Iowa State on Feb. 17 with a team-leading 20 points.
Texas Win A Big One
Kansas State posted its most impressive win of the season and in the process ended a dubious streak on Feb. 3, as the Wildcats snapped Texas’ 22-game home winning streak and its 11-game home streak in Big 12 games with a 73-72 win at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. It marked the first win over a ranked opponent on the road in more than 10 years (snapping a streak of 29 straight losses) since beating No. 23 Iowa State, 92-87, on Feb. 28, 1996. The win was also the first in Austin in the Big 12 era and the first since a 51-43 non-conference win on Jan. 8, 1983, while it was the first over a ranked foe at any venue since the Wildcats upset the 10th-ranked Longhorns, 58-48, in Manhattan on March 6, 2004. K-State was aided much by the 3-point shot against Texas, as the team converted on a season-best 14 treys on a season-high 51.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. It was the most 3-point field goals in nearly seven years since the Wildcats tallied 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000, while the percentage with highest since connecting on 75 percent against Oregon State in 2002. The team also posted a stellar assist-to-turnover ratio, as the six turnovers tied for the fewest this season.
Dialing From Long Distance
After entering the game with a Big 12-worse 5.64 three-point field goals per game, Kansas State proved itself capable from long distance on Feb. 3 against nationally-ranked Texas with a season-best 14 treys. The total not only surpassed the previous high of 11 against Colorado State on Dec. 2, 2006 but also represented the most since collecting 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000. The Wildcats also converted on a team-high 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from 3-point range against the Longhorns, its highest percentage since shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) against Oregon State on Dec. 22, 2002. The team got treys from three players -- Cartier Martin (7), Lance Harris (5) and Clent Stewart (2) -- and it marked the first time since Nebraska in 2000 that two players had five or more 3-pointers in the same game when Galen Morrison and Cortez Groves posted seven and five, respectively. Of note, Harris and Martin are the two of the best players in K-State history shooting the 3-pointer, as the two rank among the top 5 in makes and attempts in their careers. Martin is fourth in makes (154) and attempts (385) and sixth in percentage (40.0), while Harris is third in attempts (407) and fifth in makes (143).
Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 19-8 record to start the season. The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in four defensive categories in the Big 12, including first in 3-point percentage defense (28.0), third in rebounding (37.1) and fifth in both field goal percentage defense (41.3) and rebounding margin (+3.4). The squad has been just as impressive in league play, where they rank first in 3-point percentage defense (27.1) and fourth in both rebounding defense (32.6) and rebounding margin (+2.0). The team has held 24 of its 28 opponents to below 80 points, including 16 of its last 19 under 75 points (with 12 under 70 points).
In holding Kansas to just 71 points on Monday, the Wildcats have continued a trend of impressive defense in the last 22 games. The team has held its opponents to just 64.1 points on 41.6 percent shooting, including 24.9 percent from 3-point range, during the stretch. In addition, K-State has forced an average of 15.8 turnovers and tallied an average of 5.8 steals.
During the course of the season, the defensive effort has produced marks that the Wildcats haven’t seen in years and even decades. Kansas State held Chicago State and Nebraska to a combined 81 points; the lowest two-game point total since allowing UMKC (39) and Coppin State (36) a combined 75 points on Dec. 19 and 21, 1998. The Wildcats held the Cougars to just 36 points on 22.2 percent shooting, which marked the fewest points allowed an opponent since Coppin State also scored 36 on Dec. 21, 1999. In the win over Rutgers, K-State held the Scarlet Knights to 41 points on just nine field goals and 19.1 percent shooting. The nine field goals are the fewest allowed since the Wildcats held Washburn a school-record seven in a 23-15 win on Dec. 6, 1940, while the 41 points are the fewest points allowed on an opponent’s court since the shot clock and fewest since allowing Nebraska 39 in 1984.
Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunites at the free throw line in the past 12 games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 73.8 percent (214-of-290) from the charity stripe. The team posted season-highs in free throws (37), free throws attempted (43) and free throw percentage (86.0) in the win over Missouri on Jan. 13. The 37 free throws and 43 attempts are the most in a game since the Wildcats collected 39 makes on 51 attempts against Baylor on Feb. 13, 1999. The total (37) was also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958. In addition, the Wildcats have been effective in the last five minutes from the stripe in the last 12 games, knocking down 71.7 percent (76-of-106), including a combined 88 percent (22-of-25) in the two games with Missouri. For the season, the team has connected on 67.8 percent (120-of-177) of its free throws in the last five minutes.
One of the major obstacles for Kansas State during the past few seasons has been its ability to win close games. Last season, the Wildcats ranked first in the nation with a school-record 10 losses by single-digits, including seven by three points or less. However, head coach Bob Huggins has clearly made a difference in this department in his first season, as the team has posted a 6-3 mark in games decided by single-digits, including wins in three of five decided by one possession (four points or less). Of note, all three of these wins - North Dakota State, Missouri and Texas - have come on the road.
Maybank to the Rescue
A transfer from St. John’s, senior Jermaine Maybank has been a solid contributor for the Wildcats in the past few weeks. Since the Nebraska game on Jan. 27, he is averaging 7.1 points on 47.1 percent shooting (16-of-34) and 74.2 percent from the free throw line to go with 1.1 steals in 17.8 minutes per game. Maybank has been even better in the last five games, averaging 8.8 points on 46.2 percent shooting (12-of-26) and 79.2 percent (19-of-24) from the free throw line to go along with 1.2 steals in 20.8 minutes per game. He posted a career night in the loss to Kansas on Feb. 7, scoring a career-high 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 12-of-15 from the free throw line. Maybank also added four rebounds, three steals in two assists against the Jayhawks in a career-best 33 minutes. The Bronx, N.Y., native took advantage of a new NCAA rule (since eliminated) which allows players that have graduated from an institution and have remaining eligibility to transfer without sitting out a season.
It's Hard to Project this Line-up
In an effort to find the right combination, head coach Bob Huggins has started 12 different line-ups this season, including a different one in 10 of the last 20 contests. He has used all types of positional line-ups from three guards (Stewart, Harris and Wright and Maybank, Young and Wright) to three forwards (Hoskins, Walker and Martin). The only constant in the line-up has been David Hoskins, who has started 50 consecutive contests, including all 28 games. The line-up variety is in stark contrast to the past two seasons when there were just six different line-ups in 2004-05 and eight in 2005-06.
Offense Taking Flight
The much-maligned Kansas State offense showed its tremendous potential in the win over Missouri on Jan. 31 by posting 80 or more points in a game for the seventh time this season. It marked the first time the squad had topped the barrier since collecting 85 against the Tigers just 18 days earlier on Jan. 13. In 26 games this season, the seven 80-point games by Wildcats surpass each of the yearly totals of the past seven seasons and is the most in a season since the 1998-99 season also had seven. The last time K-State posted more 80-point contests was the 1997-98 season when the team had nine.
Despite scoring less than 70 points in 11 of its last 15 games, the team has still averaged averaged 72.3 points on 44.8 percent shooting in the last 22 contests after averaging just 66.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting in the first six games. In doing so, the squad has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 17 of their last 44 halves of basketball, including 60 percent or better on four occasions. During the first part of the streak, the Wildcats scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since the 1990-91 season. Against Cleveland State, Kansas State shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the field (its highest percentage in nearly two seasons) and topped the 90-point barrier for just the second time this season.
Kansas State broke nearly every single-game block record on Jan. 22, as the Wildcats posted a Bramlage Coliseum-record 12 blocked shots, including an individual mark of eight by freshman Jason Bennett, in a 73-37 victory. The 12 blocks surpassed the previous highs of 10 against UMKC on Dec. 19, 1998 and the 10 Colorado registered against K-State on Feb. 11, 2003 for the most in the building’s 19-year history. Bennett’s eight swats not only broke the school mark of six that he already shared (at California on Nov. 29, 2006) with Tony Kitt (vs. Kansas on March 3, 1999) and Dramane Diarra (vs. Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005), but it also surpassed the arena marks of six by Diarra and seven by Nebraska’s Kimani Ffriend (Jan. 30, 2001).
The team’s 110 blocks this season ranks for the seventh-highest total in school history since the stat began being kept in 1982-83, while this year’s total is the highest in a single-season since the 2001-02 team also produced 117 swats. The Wildcats are on pace for 131 blocks during the regular season, which would be the second-most in a single-season in K-State history behind the 146 recorded in 1998-99. On the other hand, Bennett’s 49 blocks have already established a freshman school record, shattering the previous mark of 24 by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96. He is tied for second on school’s single-season top-10, while he is tied for 10th on the career top-10 list. Bennett is on pace for 60 blocks, which would break Gerald Eaker’s single-season record of 59 set during the 1995-96 season. He has recorded at least one block in 16 of 24 games, while his 2.04 average ranks first in the Big 12.
Trio of Prolific Scorers
Kansas State has three players on its squad - seniors Cartier Martin and Lance Harris and junior David Hoskins - who rank among the school’s top 50 scorers. Martin, who entered the school’s all-time top-10 with 15 points against Missouri on Jan. 13, became just the ninth player in school history to top 1,300 career points with his 27-point effort against No. 23 Texas on Feb. 3. He now has 1,398 points after his 19-point effort against Kansas. Harris now ranks 22nd all-time with 954 points in his four-year career and needs 48 points to become the 20th player in school history and the second this season with 1,000 career points (of which has never happened before at K-State). The program has not had two 1,000-point scorers on the same team since Mike Evans and Curtis Redding starred for the Wildcats in the 1977-78 season. Martin (154) and Harris (143) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals. Hoskins already ranks 46th on the all-time scoring list with 767 points and can move into the top 40 with 15 points. It marks the first time since 1987-88 season (Mitch Richmond, Will Scott and Charles Bledsoe) that the Wildcats have had a 1,000-point scorer and a pair of 500-point scorers on the same team. Of note, K-State is 9-0 on the season when all three players score in double figures.
Martin Joins Elite Company
Senior forward Cartier Martin joined an elite fraternity at Kansas State in the win over Coppin State on Nov. 25, 2006, as he became the 19th player in school history and the first in the Big 12 era to score 1,000 career points. The Houston, Texas, native hit the milestone at the 6:48 mark of the second half against the Eagles with a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock. He is the first Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier since Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season. Martin passed All-American Chuckie Williams (1,364; 1973-76) for sixth place on the school’s scoring list against Iowa State. With 1,398 career points, he needs just two points to join Mike Evans, Rolando Blackman, Askia Jones, Bob Boozer and Steve Henson as the only players to score 1,400 players. Martin already is one of just four players to top 1,300 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining Ed Nealy (1,304 points, 1,069 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points, 824 rebounds) and Rolando Blackman (1,844 points, 607 rebounds).
He has scored in double figures 22 times in the last 26 games, including 10 20-point outings. Martin began the streak by posting a career-high 28 points against Tennessee Tech, while he has also turned in 20-point efforts against Colorado State (21), Cleveland State (21), UMES (23) and New Mexico (23), which earned him MVP honors at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23. He has registered 20-point games in five of the last nine games, including 25 against Chicago State, 22 versus Missouri, 27 at No. 23 Texas, 25 against Colorado and 22 versus Nebraska. The team is successful when Martin performs well, as the Wildcats are 11-2 when he shoots 50 percent or better from the field and 8-2 when he scores 20 or more points.
Although he has been Kansas State’s head coach for less than a season, the impact head coach Bob Huggins has had on the Wildcat program has been nothing short of monumental. Huggins has not only gained the school widespread attention by media outlets, he has helped guide it to milestones not seen by the historically-rich program in some time. For his efforts, the Huggins’ hiring was dubbed the 2006 sports story of the year in the state of Kansas by The Associated Press in late December. Below are a few of the milestones achieved by Huggins in barely his first season at the helm.
*For the first time in the 19-year history of Bramlage Coliseum all available season ticket packages have been sold... Season tickets went from 6,500 in 2005-06 to 13,000 in 2006-07... The last time K-State could boast a sellout of season tickets was during the 1982-83 season when the Wildcats played in Ahearn Field House, while the previous high for season tickets in Bramlage Coliseum was 11,700 during the inaugural 1988-89 season.
*In addition to the season ticket sales, the school offered courtside seats for the first time in its history and sold out of the available 25 seats at $4,400 apiece with a waiting list... There are also plans in the works for loge boxes in the arena as well as other improvements, including a practice facility.
*Kansas State has or will play seven nationally-televised games this season, including two as apart of ESPN’s “Big Monday” package and two on ABC Sports (both are firsts for the program)... It is the most nationally-televised games in a single-season for the Wildcats in school history.
*Kansas State earned its first in-season tournament title in more than 10 years by winning the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23... The win in the championship game gave the program 10 victories before Jan. 1 for the first time since the 1998-99 season (its last postseason appearance).
*Kansas State attracted the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the country in November according to Scout.com, Rivals.com and Sports Illustrated... The class referred to as the greatest-ever for the school includes consensus top 10 prospects Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.
Harris Stepping Up His Game
Bob Huggins has always been a coach that has gotten the most out of his talent and senior guard Lance Harris has been a prime example of that influence. Harris has averaged 10.6 points on 45 percent shooting, including 38.4 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.4 steals in 26.5 minutes per game. He is tops on the squad in 3-point field goal percentage (38.4) and second in 3-point field goals (48), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding. Harris has scored in double figures in 14 contests (including eight of the last 12), with three 20-point efforts. He opened the year with 22 points against William & Mary on Nov. 11 before posting a career-high 26 points against Coppin State on Nov. 25. His 24 points against North Dakota State helped the Wildcats to a come-from-behind win on Dec. 9. He has connected three or more 3-point field goals in 10 games. A constant in the line-up, Harris is moving up several K-State career lists, including ranking third in 3-point field goal attempts (407), fifth in 3-point field goals made (138), sixth in minutes (2,463), 10th in games played (112) and 22nd in scoring (954).
The Wright Stuff
One of the biggest reasons for the Wildcats’ success this season has been the play of senior guard Akeem Wright. The Philadephia, Pa., native has averaged 6.6 points on 38.1 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.8 steals in 25.9 minutes per game. He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 14th in defensive rebounds and 15th in rebounding. Known more for his defensive prowess, Wright spent the summer working on his jumpshot to complete his all-around game. Wright has scored in double figures in six games this season, including a career-high 18 points against Texas A&M on Jan. 6. He has also kept up his defensive effort, pacing the team in rebounds in 10 games this season. Wright has grabbed six or more rebounds in 12 of the last 17 games. For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 16 contests. During the last 21 games, he has topped his season scoring average nine times with four double-digit efforts. Wright played the best game of his career against Texas A&M on Jan. 6, as he posted a career-high 18 points on 8-of-15 field goals to go with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a career-best three steals.
Stewart Manning the Point
Junior guard Clent Stewart has been a steadying force for the Wildcats this season since emerging as the team’s primary point guard against North Dakota State on Dec. 9. During that span, Stewart has averaged 6.9 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game in guiding the team to 14 wins in 20 games. He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 8.3 points on 42 percent shooting with 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 30.2 minutes per game. Stewart has scored in double figures in five games this season, including tying his career-high with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Missouri on Jan. 13. With 275 career assists, he needs just 15 assists to tie Anthony Beane (1993-94) for fourth on K-State’s all-time list.
Young Recovers Nicely from Surgery
Junior guard Blake Young underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 11 at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kan. He suffered a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee during the Wildcats’ scrimmage in late October. With no risk of further damage, Young had been playing with the injury throughout the first nine games. After combining for 13 minutes against Kennesaw State and Maryland-Eastern Shore, he has recovered nicely from the surgery in averaging over 16 minutes in the last 19 games, including 31 against Kansas on Feb. 7. A NJCAA honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06, Young is averaging 5.4 points, 2.5 assists, 1.9 rebounds and a team-best 1.1 steals in 20.0 minutes per game this year. After ranking third in NJCAA in scoring at 23.2 points as a sophomore, he displayed his offensive potential with a big effort against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 21 with a season-high 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He has scored in double figures in five contests.
Next Up: at Oklahoma State (19-8, 5-7 Big 12)
Kansas State hits the road for the final time in the regular season on Tuesday, as the Wildcats travel to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State (19-8, 5-7 Big 12) at legendary Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Cowboys are averaging 77.4 points on 47 percent shooting with 36.1 rebounds and has a balanced scoring team with four players averaging in double figures. The squad is paced by senior forward Mario Boggan, who is averaging a team-best 20.3 points on 55 percent shooting to go with a team-high 8.0 rebounds. Junior guard JamesOn Curry adds 17.7 points on 45.2 percent shooting with a team-best 69 3-point field goals. The Wildcats have not beaten the Cowboys since 2002 and have not won in Stillwater since an overtime win in 1993.