K-State faces big test at Oklahoma State Tuesday
K-State faces big test at Oklahoma State Tuesday
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007
Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) in
Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. Central
(OSU leads 25-24 in
TV: ESPN Plus
Talent: Dave Armstrong (Play-by-Play)
and Doug Gottlieb (Analyst)
Channels: KMCI (
Radio: K-State Sports Network (31 affiliates),
Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (Analyst)
K-State closes out its Big 12 road slate with trip to OSU Tuesday
Kansas State (20-9, 9-5 Big 12) begins the final week of the Big 12 regular season on Tuesday, as the Wildcats make an important trip to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State (19-9, 5-8 Big 12) at 8:05 p.m. With only two league games remaining, K-State is assured of at least finishing with a program-best fourth-place finish in the Big 12, while it can claim its first-ever bye in the Big 12 Championship with at least one victory this week. However, the Wildcats face a daunting task this week against two foes they have gone a combined 3-18 since the start of the Big 12, including a Cowboy squad they have not defeated since 2002 and have not beaten in Stillwater since 1993.
The game will be televised regionally on ESPN Plus (KMCI - Kansas City; KSAS, Eagle Cable - Wichita; KSNT - Topeka) with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Doug Gottlieb (color) calling the action. It will be the ninth and final regional broadcast on the Big 12’s television package for the Wildcats in the regular season. The audio broadcast can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (or via the internet at http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call.
Kansas State got its offense back on track in the second half against Colorado, as the Wildcats scored a season-high 58 points after the break on 66.7 percent shooting to claim its first season sweep of the Buffaloes since 1992. Junior David Hoskins paced four players in double figures with his sixth 20-point effort 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. 49-57. 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), RealTimeRPI.com (55), Mike Greenfield’s Team RPI (56) and CBS Sportsline’s RPI (57), 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.”
Senarios for the Week
Depending on results this week, Kansas State can claim anywhere from a third, fourth or fifth seed for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., on March 8-11. The Wildcats will be the third seed if they post wins over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and Texas loses games against nationally-ranked Texas A&M and Kansas. The squad will claim the fourth seed with either a win in its last two games or a loss by Texas Tech to either Baylor or Iowa State. The team will earn the fifth seed if they lose both games this week and the Red Raiders claim a pair of victories.
With its victory over Colorado, Kansas State earned its first 20-win season since 1998-99 and the first in the regular season since the 1987-88 season. The school has tallied 20 or more wins on 19 occasions in its history, including 12 times in the regular season. Of note, 10 of the 11 teams in school history to post 20 or more wins during the regular season have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In the process, Bob Huggins became just the second coach (and first in the regular season) in school history and the first since Lon Kruger (20-11 mark in 1986-87) to tally 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He has posted 21 20-win seasons in his 25 years as a coach, including 12 seasons of 25 wins or more. With their ninth Big 12 win against the Buffaloes, the Wildcats have posted their most league wins in the Big 12 era and and most in a single-season since tallying an 11-3 mark in the Big Eight in 1987-88.
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 14 of the 16 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 17.6 points on 48.1 percent shooting in those 16 games off the bench with 5.1 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. Martin has been even better in that role in the last 12 games, averaging 19.1 points on 51.4 percent shooting, including 47.7 percent from 3-point range, with 5.1 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. Kansas State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 26.2 points coming from its reserves this season.
The impact has been even more telling in the last 23 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 28.3 points off the bench and have outscored their foes by a 650-400 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 15.9 turnovers (349), including an average of 5.8 steals, in the last 22 games, while averaging 18.4 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.
After struggling for most of the past decade on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with eight victories (second-most in the Big 12) away from Bramlage Coliseum, which are most since the 1987-88 squad totaled 15. The team also has six true’ road wins - at Rutgers, North Dakota State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas and Colorado - this season for the first time since the 1988-89 season when the Wildcats also captured six wins. K-State also produced three consecutive conference road victories 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 home in a season and compiled a 15-72 overall record, including a 10-63 mark in a true’ road venue.
Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunites at the free throw line in the past 13 games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 74.3 percent (240-of-323) 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 is also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958. K-State, which is averaging over 24 attempts per game, has already tallied its most free throws (495) and attempts (766) in a season since 1998-99 and is on pace to post its highest free throw total (529) since the 1987-88 team totaled the second-most in school history (602). The squad has connected on 20 or more free throws eight times this season, including 30 or more makes on four occasions. The Wildcats have been effective in the last five minutes from the stripe in the last 13 games, knocking down 72.8 percent (83-of-114). For the season, the team has connected on 68.6 percent (127-of-185) of its free throws in the last five minutes.
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 15.4 assists per game this season. The team is on pace to tally 492 assists this year, which would be the third-most in school history since the statistic began being kept in 1976 and the most since posting 514 in 1987-88. 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.
The Book on Oklahoma State (19-9, 5-8 Big 12)
Oklahoma State enters Tuesday’s contest with a 19-9 overall record and 5-8 mark in Big 12 Conference play after dropping their fourth straight game at Texas Tech, 59-57, on Saturday afternoon. The Cowboys, who are a stellar 14-2 at home this season, have lost six of their last seven Big 12 contests since starting league play with a 4-2 mark. However, the team has tallied impressive wins over Auburn, Missouri State, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Texas this year. In dropping its sixth straight true’ road contest, OSU could never get on track in Saturday’s loss to the Red Raiders. The team shot 52.2 percent in the first half, but just 36.7 percent in the second half in falling in the final minute. Senior forward Mario Boggan led all players with 17 points on 8-of-15 field goals to go with eight rebounds, while fellow senior forward David Monds added 13 points and six rebounds.
Oklahoma State is averaging 76.7 points on 46.9 percent shooting with 36.2 rebounds and 14.9 assists on the season. The injury-plagued Cowboys have just 11 healthy players heading into Tuesday’s game, including just eight scholarship players. The team has four players averaging in double figures led by All-Big 12 candidates Mario Boggan and JamesOn Curry, who rank second (20.2 ppg.) and sixth (17.3 ppg.), respectively, in scoring in the Big 12 this season. They are top scoring duo in the league this season and one of the top in OSU history. Boggan also ranks second in field goal percentage (54.9) and fourth in rebounding (8.0 rpg.) in the Big 12. He has tallied 15 20-point scoring games this season, including four 30-point performances. Boggan has also recorded seven double-doubles with a 37-point, 20-rebound effort in a triple-overtime win over Texas earlier this season. Curry, who has scored 20 or more points in 11 games, paces the squad in 3-point field goals (70) and assists (3.6 apg.), while he is second in steals (1.2 spg.).
Oklahoma State is led by first-year coach Sean Sutton, who has posted a 19-9 mark in his rookie campaign. A former Cowboy player for his father, Eddie, he been an assistant coach at his alma mater since 1993, including stints as associate head coach (1999-2003) and head coach designate (2003-06). In that time, Sutton helped guide OSU to 13 NCAA Tournaments appearances, including trips to the Final Four in 1995 and 2004. He posted a 20-5 mark against Kansas State as a player and an assistant coach. This will be the first meeting between Sutton and Bob Huggins in their respective careers.
Series Versus Oklahoma State
This will be the 112th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Oklahoma State in a series that dates back to 1927. The Wildcats hold a 68-43 advantage in the all-time series, however, the Cowboys hold a 25-24 edge in games played in Stillwater, Okla. A series once dominated by K-State with 61 wins in the first 81 meetings from 1927 to 1988, OSU has now won 23 of the last 30 meetings, including wins in nine of the last 10 contests since the start of the Big 12 in 1997. The Wildcats have not beaten the Cowboys since a 70-61 win on Feb. 2, 2002 (a span of four straight losses) and have not won in Gallagher-Iba Arena since a 75-62 overtime victory on Jan. 9, 1993 (a streak of eight straight defeats). In fact, that overtime win in Stillwater in 1993 is the team’s only victory in its last 13 trips to Gallagher-Iba Arena (compared to 24 in the previous 35 visits from 1927 to 1988).
Terrell Harris’ 3-pointer with one minute to go gave Oklahoma State a 62-61 lead and the Cowboys held on for a 63-61 win over Kansas State, which blew a nine-point lead in the last five minutes. The Wildcats had a 56-47 lead with about five minutes remaining when Cartier Martin canned a pair of free throws. But then Jamaal Brown hit two 3-pointers in a 9-0 Oklahoma State spree, capped by Mario Boggan’s two free throws that made it 59-all with 1:46 to play. Forward David Hoskins led all scorers with 18 points to go with seven rebounds, while guard Lance Harris added 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
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 15.7 points in the last 22 games on 46.1 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 10th in free throw percentage (77.0), 13th in scoring (14.5 ppg.) and 14th in rebounding (6.0 rpg.). Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is 11th in scoring (15.7 ppg) and 13th in rebounding (6.5 rpg).
He has scored in double figures in 20 of the last 22 games, including 20 or more points on six 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 sixth 20-point game against Colorado on Saturday with a team-leading 21 points.
Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 20-9 record to start the season. The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in five defensive categories in the Big 12, including first in 3-point percentage defense (28.5), fourth in rebounding (36.7) and fifth in scoring defense (65.3), field goal percentage defense (41.4) and rebounding margin (+3.0). The squad has been just as impressive in league play, where they rank first in 3-point percentage defense (28.1) and fifth in scoring margin (67.2) and rebounding margin (+1.3). The team has held 25 of its 29 foes to below 80 points, including 17 of its last 20 under 75 points (with 12 under 70 points). In holding Colorado to just 71 points on Saturday, the Wildcats have continued a trend of impressive defense in the last 23 games. The team has held its opponents to just 64.4 points on 41.8 percent shooting, including 25.6 percent from 3-point range, during the stretch. In addition, K-State has forced an average of 15.9 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.
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 greatly 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. It was the most 3-point field goals since the Wildcats tallied 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000, while the percentage is highest since connecting on 75 percent against Oregon State in 2002.
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 third in makes (156), fourth in attempts (390) and fifth in percentage (40.0), while Harris is third in attempts (413) and fourth in makes (144).
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. 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.
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 7.0 points on 48.7 percent shooting (18-of-37) and 75.8 percent from the free throw line to go with 1.0 steals in 17.9 minutes per game. Maybank has been even better in the last six games, averaging 8.3 points on 48.3 percent shooting (14-of-29) and 80.8 percent (21-of-26) from the free throw line to go along with 1.0 steals in 20.5 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 21 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 51 consecutive contests, including all 29 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 Colorado on Saturday by posting 80 or more points in a game for the eighth time this season. It marked the most points in a conference game this season and the most since totaling 90 against Iowa State on Feb. 11, 2004, while it was the most in a conference road game since beating Iowa State, 92-87, in Ames, Iowa, on Feb. 28, 1996. The eight 80-point games by Wildcats this season surpass each of the yearly totals of the past seven seasons and is the most in a season since the 1997-98 season had nine.
Despite scoring less than 70 points in 11 of its last 16 games, the team has still averaged averaged 73.0 points on 44.4 percent shooting in the last 23 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 18 of their last 46 halves of basketball, including 60 percent or better on five 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 111 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 119 blocks during the regular season, which would be the fifth-most in a single-season and most since the 1998-99 squad totaled a school-record 146 blocks. 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 53 blocks, which would be six shy of Gerald Eaker’s single-season record of 59 set in 1995-96. 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 sixth player in school history to top 1,400 career points with his 19-point effort against Colorado on Saturday. He now has 1,417 points in his four-year career. Harris now ranks 22nd all-time with 962 points in his four-year career and needs 38 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 (156) and Harris (144) rank third and fourth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals. Hoskins already ranks 38th on the all-time scoring list with 788 points and can move into the top 30 with 79 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, who enters Tuesday’s game with 1,417 points, recently passed All-American Chuckie Williams (1,364; 1973-76) for sixth place on the school’s scoring list. With 19 points against Colorado, he joined 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 three players to top 1,400 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining Bob Boozer (1,685 points, 824 rebounds) and Rolando Blackman (1,844 points, 607 rebounds).
He has scored in double figures 23 times in the last 27 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 10 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.
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 7.3 points, 3.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 28 minutes per game in guiding the team to 15 wins in 21 games. He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 8.9 points on 42.9 percent shooting with 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.1 minutes per game. Stewart has scored in double figures in six games this season (all in the last 15 contests), including tying his career-high with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Missouri on Jan. 13. He has been on a tear lately, averaging 11.7 points in the last three games on 50 percent shooting (12-of-24), including 40 percent from 3-point range, with 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. A starter in 67 of his 85 career games played, Stewart currently ranks fifth on K-State’s all-time list for assists (276) and needs just 14 assists to tie Anthony Beane (1993-94) for fourth place.
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 10.5 points on 44.6 percent shooting, including 37.4 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists in 26.6 minutes per game. He is second on the squad in both 3-point field goal percentage (37.4) and 3-point field goals (49), 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 13), 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 (413), fourth in 3-point field goals made (144), sixth in minutes (2,492), ninth in games played (113) and 22nd in scoring (962).
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 6.5 points on 38.3 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 14th in both rebounding and defensive rebounds. 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 went 8-of-15 from the field with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Wright 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 18 games.
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 20 games, including 31 against Kansas on Feb. 7. A NJCAA honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06, Young is averaging 5.7 points, 2.4 assists, 2.0 rebounds and a team-best 1.2 steals in 20.1 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 six contests.
Non-Conference Play A Success
Kansas State capped another stellar non-conference season in 2006-07 with its 73-36 win over Chicago State on Jan. 22. The Wildcats posted at least 10 wins during the non-conference portion of their schedule for the 17th time in their history and for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The 11 non-league victories are the most by a Wildcat squad since the 1998-99 squad also produced 11, while the program produced 10 wins before January 1 for the first time in nearly seven seasons. K-State has now earned a winning record in non-conference play in 35 consecutive seasons dating back to 1972-73 and has totaled at least eight non-conference wins in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including each of the last five seasons. The Wildcats have won 29 of their last 37 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 25-1 (.961) mark at home.
Next Up: Oklahoma (15-12, 6-8 Big 12)
Kansas State completes the regular season on Saturday, as the Wildcats celebrate Senior Day by hosting Oklahoma (15-12, 6-8 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 2:30 p.m. The defensive-minded Sooners are averaging 67.8 points on 44.3 percent shooting with 36.6 rebounds, while holding opponents to just 58.6 points on 39.6 percent from the field. The squad is paced by junior forward Longar Longar, who is averaging 11.2 points on 56.8 percent shooting to go with a team-best 7.4 rebounds per game. The Wildcats have not beaten the Sooners since a 66-51 win on Jan. 23, 1999.