K-State Returns Home to Face Nebraska
K-State Returns Home to Face Nebraska
Kansas State (19-9, 7-6 Big 12) vs.
Nebraska (16-10. 6-7 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, February 28, 2009
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)
Series: K-State leads 122-93
(K-State is 71-30 at home)
Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360.com
Dave Armstrong (play-by-play)
Jon Sundvold (analyst)
Steve Kurtenbach (producer)
Kevin Shank (director)
Channels: Metro (Kansas City), KSNT (Topeka), KMTW (Wichita)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (29-station); Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 121
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Tickets: Sold out. It is the third sell out of the season at home.
Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 19-9 (7-6 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): RV/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 40-21/2
School Record: 40-21/2
vs. Nebraska: 1-2
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Feb. 25, 2009
Lost at 11/8 Missouri, 94-74
SID: Tom Gilbert
Record: 16-10 (6-7 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Doc Sadler
Alma Mater: Arkansas, 82
Career Record: 101-55/5
School Record: 53-37/3
vs. Kansas State: 3-2
07-08 Record: 20-13 (7-9 Big 12)
Last game: Feb. 24, 2009
Lost to Texas A&M, 57-55
SID: Jerry Trickie
Kansas State (19-9, 7-6 Big 12)
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)
G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)
F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6-5, 210, So.)
F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)
F - #15 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)
Nebraska (16-10, 6-7 Big 12)
G - #4 Steve Harley (5-11, 180, Sr.)
G - #5 Sek Henry (6-3, 200, Jr.)
G - #11 Ade Dagunduro (6-5, 200, Sr.)
G - #24 Cookie Miller (5-7, 165, So.)
F - #32 Chris Balham (6-8, 235, Jr.)
Kansas State (19-9, 7-6 Big 12) returns from a two-game road swing on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Nebraska (16-10, 6-7 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 7:05 p.m. The university will pay tribute to two of its greatest players at halftime of the contest with the jersey retirements of All-Americans Willie Murrell (1962-64) and Mitch Richmond (1986-88). The pair will join the likes of fellow All-Americans Rolando Blackman, Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett, Mike Evans, Dick Knostman, Lon Kruger, Jack Parr and Chuckie Williams to have their jerseys lifted to the rafters. The Wildcats will continue pursuit of their 20th win of the season and in the process attempt to become the first team to win 20 or more games in three consecutive years since it was done in the 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons. K-State ran into a buzzsaw on Wednesday, as No. 11/8 Missouri set or tied opponent highs in eight categories in posting a 94-74 win. It was the most points allowed an opponent since Xavier scored 101 on Dec. 31, 2007 and the most allowed in a Big 12 game since Kansas scored 97 on Feb. 7, 2007. Despite the loss, the team has still won seven of its last nine games, including six of the last eight in league play, since a four-game losing streak from Jan. 10-21. The loss snapped a streak of four consecutive road conference victories, the longest since the 1979-80 season.
Kansas State could not sweep the season series from Missouri, as the Tigers enacted revenge from their earlier defeat with a convincing 20-point win at home on Wednesday. The squad set or tied opponent highs for points (94), field goals (28), free throws (33), free throws attempted (43), rebounds (47), offensive rebounds (20), points in a half (55) and fewest turnovers (20). It was the most point scored by the Tigers in the series since also scoring 94 back in 1955, while it was the largest margin of victory since an 89-59 win in 1998. Junior Denis Clemente single-handedly kept the Wildcats in the game with 33 points on 12-of-19 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. It marked the team-leading 11th time he has led the squad in scoring, while it was the team-best 18th time he has scored in double figures. The 33-point effort was his second-highest output of the season and the highest since tying the Big 12 single-game record with 44 points against No. 11 Texas on Jan. 31.
K-State remains the definition of balance with seven different leading scorers, nine different assist leaders and seven different rebounding leaders. Right now, six players are averaging seven or more points, while five players are averaging four or more rebounds. There have been 94 double-digit scoring games by 10 players. Of the 10 players, six have registered double figures 10 or more times.
The Wildcats have been a solid team defensively, allowing just 65.8 points on 40.7 percent shooting, including 34.7 percent from 3-point range. The team is forcing an average of 17.2 turnovers per game, while averaging 20.1 points off those turnovers.
The contest against Nebraska will be televised on the Big 12 Network (Metro Sports - Kansas City, KSNT - Topeka, KMTW - Wichita), with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) calling the action. Fans will also be able to watch the game on the Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com. Information on these outlets can be found at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/.
Fans will also be able to listen to the audio broadcast on the K-State Sports Network (Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 121) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst).
Sold out. It is the third sell out of the season for Kansas State.
Kansas State became just the second school in Big 12 history to rally from 0-4 start to get back to at least .500 in league play. Iowa State did it first in 2004-05, rallying from a 0-5 start to win seven in a row and eventually finish 9-7 in conference action. Two other squads (Missouri - 2006-07 and Nebraska - 2007-08) both started 0-4 and came to within one game of getting back to .500 in league play before finishing 7-9. In the previous 10 occasions, no other Wildcat team in school history has ever rallied back to .500 after starting 0-4 in league play. The previous best finish after such a start came in 1983-84 when K-State finished Big Eight play with a 5-9 mark.
Quite A Turnaround
After starting Big 12 play with four straight losses, Kansas State has seemed to have found its groove again with wins in seven of its last nine league games. The Wildcats have averaged 73.7 points on 42 percent shooting, including 39.2 percent from 3-point range, in the last nine Big 12 games after averaging 60 points on 38.4 percent shooting, including 29 percent from beyond the arc, in the first four league contests. During this stretch, the team is also forcing twice as many turnovers (135-56) than the previous four contests, while scoring 60 more points off those turnovers (120-40). The defensive numbers have also improved with the Wildcats holding the nine foes to an average of 70.7 points on 41.5 percent shooting compared to 76 points on 51 percent shooting in the first four league games.
Back on Track
Despite its early struggles in Big 12 play, K-State is still averaging nearly 77 points points per game. The team has scored 70 or more points in 20 of 28 games, including 80 or more points 12 times. The squad has posted four games of 90 or more points, including a 107-point output against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, which ranks as the most in a non-conference game since 1994 and the highest point total since the Wildcats scored 111 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998. The four 90-point games are the most since the 1997-98 season (five).
The 2,139 points are the fourth-most through 28 games in school history, trailing the 1986-87 (2,232), 2007-08 (2,228) and 1987-88 (2,150) teams and just ahead of the 1997-98 (2,135) squad. The current 76.4 scoring average is just outside school’s all-time top-5. This year’s team is on pace to top 2,400 points for the third year in a row for the first time in school history. Prior to the 2006-07 season, the squad had scored 2,000 or more points in a season just four times in the previous 12 years. The 12 80-point games tie three other teams for the fifth-most in school history.
Since Frank Martin’s arrival in 2007, K-State has shown the ability to score points, totaling two of the most prolific scoring teams in school history. Last year, the Wildcats set the school mark with 2,574 points, while also posting the second-most field goals attempted (2,067) and the third-most field goals (916) and 3-point field goals made (210) as well as the third-highest scoring average (78.0).
K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 28 opponents thus far to an average of 65.8 points per game. The Wildcats have held 17 foes to less than 70 points, including 12 to 60 points or less. The 1,843 points yielded are the second-fewest through 28 games in the last 25 seasons and fewest since the 1998-99 team allowed just 1,753 points. This year, 15 foes have been held to below 40 percent shooting, while 12 have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range. Despite allowing 70.5 points during Big 12 play, the team had held two of the more potent offenses - Oklahoma and Missouri - to 15 or more points under their averages.
Unlike last season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team has shown a lot more diversity with its scoring output thus far.
Through 28 games, all 12 players have totaled double-digit points with eight scoring in triple digits. The duo of junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Jacob Pullen are averaging in double figures led by Clemente’s 15.3 points per game. Six players are averaging seven or more points, including senior Darren Kent (8.9 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (8.9 ppg.), redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (8.8 ppg.) and sophomore Dominique Sutton (7.8 ppg.). Since statistics became available in 1950, there has been just one team - the 1955-56 squad - to have six players average eight or more points in a season.
There have already been seven different leading scorers in 28 games, including a league-best six players with 20-point outings. In all, there have been 94 double-digit scoring games with Clemente doing it a team-best 18 times. Ten players have scored in double figures with six of those players doing it 10 or more times.
Backcourt Play has been Key
A big key to Kansas State’s hopes this season has been the play of its three primary guards - Fred Brown, Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. The trio represent nearly half of the team’s point (1,019), field goals (355) and field goals attempted (865) total this season as well as over 85 percent of the 3-point field goals (163).
The play of these three guards has been key to the team’s fortunes this year. In the 19 wins, the trio is averaging 37.1 points on 43.3 percent (245-of-566) shooting from the field, including 41.9 percent (121-of-289) from 3-point range. The squad is 2-0 when all three players score in double figures, while they are 11-1 when both Clemente and Pullen score 10 or more points. In the nine losses, the trio averages 34.8 points on 36.8 percent (110-of-299) shooting, including just 30.4 percent (42-of-138) from beyond the arc.
The trio became the first in school history to each tally 50 or more 3-pointers in a single season since the inception of the 3-point line. They are also just the third threesome to each post 40 or more treys, joining the group of Will Scott (70), Mitch Richmond (46) and Steve Henson (42) in 1987-88 and Brian Henson (48), Askia Jones (45) and Anthony Beane (42) in 1992-93.
Rebounding Still a Strength
Most critics wondered how Kansas State would replace two of the best Big 12 rebounders - Michael Beasley and Bill Walker - after the duo helped the program average 41.3 rebounds a year ago. The duo plus departed seniors Clent Stewart and Blake Young averaged over 25 boards per game. Despite their absence, rebounding continues to be a strength with seven players averaging at least two boards per game.
Through 28 games, K-State is averaging 39.7 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.0 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards. The team ranks among the best in the Big 12 in four categories, including first in overall rebounds and offensive rebounds, second in margin (+6.8) and third in rebounding defense (32.9). Five players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon, Darren Kent, Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton - have grabbed double-digit rebounds 13 times with Kent averaging a team-best 5.6 boards per game. Kent has a team-leading four double-doubles thus far this season, while Anderson, Colon and Sutton each has two and Samuels has one.
Pressure is the Key
Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 563 points (almost 30 percent of season total of 2,139 points) off 481 opponent turnovers. The squad has also outscored its foes, 290-183, on fast-break opportunities. Kansas State has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 14 of the team’s 28 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.
In its 19 wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 425-209 (22.4 ppg.), in points off turnovers with an average of 17.8 turnovers. In contrast, the team has been outscored 174-138 (15.3 ppg.) in points off turnovers in its nine losses with an average of 15.9 turnovers. In all, the Wildcats have forced nine foes into 20 or more turnovers. The squad is averaging 7.0 steals per game with seven players grabbing 10 or more this year led by Jacob Pullen’s 44 steals.
After dominating the paint a year ago with the likes of Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, Kansas State’s strength has shifted to the backcourt where the Wildcats start two of the best at their positions in junior Denis Clemente and sophomore Jacob Pullen.
The duo, which has started 26 of 28 games, have combined for 771 points on 40.5 percent shooting (265-of-654), including 36.0 percent
from 3-point range (111-of-308), with 175 of the team’s 399 assists. Clemente ranks first on the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (140) and free throw percentage (77.9). He is second to Pullen in assists (83) and minutes (747) and third in 3-point field goals (50) and steals (23). Pullen is second in scoring at 13.4 points per game on 37.9 percent shooting with team-highs in 3-point field goals made (61), assists (92), steals (44) and minutes (838).
The two have scored in double figures 12 times in the same game (team is 11-1) with a combined 36 points against Florida A&M, 31 against Cleveland State and Kentucky, 45 against Oakland, 34 against Gardner-Webb, 39 against Wagner, 32 against Colorado, 33 against Missouri, 28 against Iowa State, 30 against Texas A&M, 27 against Texas Tech and 48 against Kansas. Clemente has led in scoring a team-best 11 times with a Big 12 record-tying 44 points against Texas, while Pullen, who is second to Clemente with 17 double-figure games, posted a career-best 26 against Oakland.
Clemente Earns Honors
Junior Denis Clemente was named the ESPN.com National Player of the Week as well as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week Feb. 2. In wins over Missouri and No. 11 Texas, he averaged 27.0 points on 54.8 percent shooting (17-of-31), including 77.8 percent (7-of-9) from 3-point range, with 5.0 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 31.0 minutes per game. He also went a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line, including a stellar 10-of-10 in the last five minutes against the Longhorns. He is the first K-State player to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season and the first since Michael Beasley won it for a third time on March 9, 2008. He is the first guard to win the honor since Galen Morrison won it on Jan. 10, 2000.
Clemente's Big Day
Junior Denis Clemente tied Michael Beasley’s Big 12 single-game record for points with his career-best 44 points against Texas on Jan. 31. He went 13-of-25 from the field, including a perfect 6-of-6 from 3-point range, and 12-of-12 from the free throw line. He scored the first 17 points of the second half for the Wildcats, including five straight 3-point field goals. He tied Beasley for the fifth-most points in school history, including the second-most in a conference game. It marked just the 12th 40-point game in school history, including just the eighth in a conference game. It was the most points by a guard since Askia Jones broke the school mark with 62 points against Fresno State on March 24, 1994. The 44 points were also the most by a single player in Erwin Center history, surpassing the 43 by Texas’ Reggie Freeman against Fresno State on Dec. 14, 1996.
Junior Denis Clemente saw his streak of 29 consecutive free throws end against Iowa State on Feb. 3. It had started in the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma on Jan. 10 and had run through seven consecutive games before ending on his second attempt of the second half at the 10:57 mark. He has been stellar from the line, connecting on a team-best 77.9 percent (67-of-86) overall for the season and 77.6 percent (45-of-58) in Big 12 play. Before missing three on Feb. 3 against Iowa State, he had connected on 33 of his last 34 attempts. He is an impressive 20-of-24 from the line in the last five minutes.
Brown from Outside
Sophomore Fred Brown has emerged as a dangerous threat from the outside for the Wildcats, as he ranks fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (43.7) and 14th in 3-point field goals (52). He has at least one 3-pointer in 22 games, including two or more 15 times. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage in league-only games at 43.8 percent (21-of-48). He has also hit big 3-point shots at critical moments, knocking down an arching trey with 18.6 seconds left in overtime in the win at No. 11 Texas then hitting the clinching 3-pointer with 43 seconds left in the victory at Texas A&M. He has scored in double figures 10 times, including two 20-point outings against SE Missouri (21) and Chicago State (26).
Kent Stepping Up as a Senior
One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of Darren Kent. Kent, the team’s only senior, has been a force on the boards, ranking first with 5.6 rebounds per game. He is averaging 8.9 points on 42.3 percent shooting (83-of-196) to go with 1.4 assists and 0.6 blocks in 21.7 minutes per game. His improvement has been evident this year, as he has already scored in double figures in 13 games, including seven times in Big 12 play, and totaled 249 points. In contrast, he came into the year with 104 career points and just one double-figure scoring game. Kent has also totaled his four career double-doubles all this season, which leads the squad. He turned in a career day against Centenary on Dec. 20 with career-highs in points (24), field goals (nine) and field goals attempted (14).
Samuels a Spark off the Bench
Redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels has provided a spark off the bench, averaging over 20 minutes per contest despite just two starts this season. He is fifth in scoring at 8.8 points on a team-best 53.6 percent shooting with 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 blocks in 20.3minutes per game. He ties for third with 13 double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14. He scored in double figures in four straight games to start the season and tallied 10 or more points in 10 of the first 16 contests. He collected his first double-double against Iowa State on Feb. 21 with a team-best 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Samuels was sensational against Missouri on Jan. 28, collecting a personal Big 12-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 24 minutes.
Sutton Steals the Show
After getting a late start to his time at K-State, sophomore Dominique Sutton has become an all-around factor for the Wildcats this season. One of five Wildcats shooting 45 percent or better from the field, he is averaging 7.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 assists in 22.5 minutes per game. He posted double figures for the third time in five games against N.C. Central on Feb. 17 with a team-high 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting to go with eight rebounds. He has now scored in double figures 10 times this season. Sutton collected his second double-double of the season against Iowa State on Feb. 3 and first in Big 12 play with 13 points and a career-tying 10 rebounds. Sutton tied the school single-game record for steals against Idaho State on Jan. 3 with eight, matching a mark set by Lynn Smith against South Dakota on Nov. 29, 1986 then followed by Elliot Hatcher against Wichita State on Jan. 2, 1996. He posted a career night against Wagner on Dec. 30 with highs in six categories, including points (21), boards (10), field goals (7) and field goals attempts (11).
Colon a Force in the Middle
A starter in the post all season, junior Luis Colon is finally coming into his own this year. He is averaging 5.1 points on 50.0 percent shooting with 5.3 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game. He, along with sophomore Jacob Pullen, are the only Wildcats to start in all 28 games this season, while he has seen action in 34 games in a row. Like Kent, Colon’s improvement has been dramatic this season. He has already surpassed his career totals for points (87) and rebounds (84) in his previous two years combined. He has scored in double figures five times this season, while has collected double-figure rebounds three times after never doing it in the previous 57 games. He collected his second double-double of the season and first since Southern Miss on Dec. 11 with 12 points and career-high 12 rebounds against N.C. Central. He had a career night against Southern Miss, posting a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds en route to becoming the first Wildcat since 2002 to go 9-of-9 from the field.
Home Sweet Home
Bramlage Coliseum has become a strong homecourt advantage for Kansas State in its 21 years of existence, as the Wildcats have posted a 242-87 (.734) record since its opening in 1988. The team has earned 10 or more home wins in 16 of its 21 seasons, including a school-record tying 14 in 1998-99, 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Wildcats have been even better in the last eight years at home with the team tallying double-digit victories each season. In the win over Iowa State, the squad posted its 100th home win since the 2001-02 season, where the record currently stands at 102-30 (.773) in that span. It is the longest stretch of consecutive seasons with 10 or more home wins since the program did it 10 years in row from 1972-82 and posted a record of 122-18 (.871) at Ahearn Field House.
K-State to Retire Jerseys of Murrell and Richmond
Kansas State Director of Athletics Bob Krause announced Jan. 20 that the school will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Willie Murrell (1962-64) and Mitch Richmond (1986-88) in a halftime ceremony during the Nebraska game on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009.
The duo becomes the fourth class of jersey retirements following those of Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett and Jack Parr in 2005, Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in 2006 and Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman in 2007. The criteria for determining the honor includes statistical achievement, conference and national records, honors received (i.e., all-conference, All-America, Academic All-
America, etc.), character and sportsmanship.
One of just 11 players to earn first team All-America honors, Murrell was a two-year letterman for head coach Tex Winter from 1962-64. He guided the Wildcats to a 38-16 record, including a pair of Big Eight titles and a Final Four appearance in 1964.
The 6-foot-6 native of Taft, Okla., Murrell is one of just six players in K-State history to average a double-double for his career, averaging 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds in 54 career games. He was twice named an All-American during his record-setting senior season in 1964 and was also a two-time first team All-Big Eight selection. His career averages in scoring and rebounding still rank among the top-5 in school history, including third in rebounding (10.7 rpg.) and fifth in scoring (20.6 ppg.).
Murrell averaged 25.3 points during the Wildcats’ run through the 1964 NCAA Tournament, including a 29-point, 13-rebound effort in the national semifinals against UCLA on March 20, en route to earning recognition to the All-Midwest Regional Tournament team and the All-Final Four squad. He is the only player to ever record a double-double in a Final Four game and the only one ever named to an All-Final Four team. His 29 points against the Bruins are the most in a Final Four game in school history.
One of the most recognizable players in Kansas State history, Mitch Richmond was a two-year letterman for coach Lon Kruger from 1986-88. He helped guide the Wildcats to a 45-20 record, including a pair of NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the 1988 NCAA Elite Eight.
The 6-foot-5 native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Richmond assembled perhaps the greatest two-year playing career in school history. He is one of just 20 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,327 points and fourth in career scoring average (20.7 ppg.). His 1,327 points are the most by a player in a two-year career. He still ranks among the top 10 in 21 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories at K-State.
As a senior, he led the Wildcats to a school-record tying 25 wins, a second-place finish in the Big Eight and a rousing trip through the NCAA Tournament that led Kansas State to an Elite Eight appearance. He broke the then single-season scoring mark by pouring in 786 points. Fellow All-American Michael Beasley broke the record in 2007-08 with 866 points. He averaged 22.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting in 1987-88 with 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists en route to earning second team All-America honors from UPI, Basketball Weekly, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers of America (USBWA). He was also named first team All-Big Eight and first team All-District by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Following graduation, Richmond won a spot on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team and was a first-round draft pick (fifth selection) by the Golden State Warriors. He became one of the premier shooting guards in the NBA, appearing in six NBA All-Star games, and being named the most valuable player of the 1995 NBA All-Star game. He also earned second team All-NBA honors in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and third team honors in 1996 and 1998 with the Sacramento Kings.
Richmond is one of just six players in NBA history to average 21.0 or more points in each of his first 10 seasons (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Oscar Robertson). He was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1989 after averaging 22.0 points per game. After three seasons with Golden State, he spent six years with Sacramento before being traded to Washington following the 1998 season. He retired following his 14th season after helping the Lakers win a NBA title in 2002.
Nebraska enters Saturday’s game with a 16-10 overall record and 6-7 mark in Big 12 play after dropping a 57-55 heartbreaker to Texas A&M at home on Tuesday night. The Cornhuskers led by as many as 18 points in the second half before the Aggies made their rally. The squad shot 48.5 percent in the first half to lead by 13, but made just five field goals on 25 percent shooting in the second half. Senior Ade Dagunduro was the lone player in double figures with 16 points.
The Cornhuskers are averaging 64.0 points through 26 games on 43.9 percent shooting, including 36.9 percent from 3-point range, with 28.6 rebounds, 13.2 assists, 8.7 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. They are one of the top defensive teams in the Big 12, allowing just 58.6 points on 42.1 percent shooting, including 33.3 percent from 3-point range.
A balanced Nebraska squad is led by Ade Dagunduro, who averages 12.2 points on 52.3 percent shooting with a team-best 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 25.2 minutes per game. Fellow senior Steve Harley is second in scoring at 10.5 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting, while junior guard Sek Henry is third at 8.3 percent per game on 46.2 percent shooting. Senior Paul Velender has a team-best 58 3-point field goals to go with a 7.7 points per game average. Sophomore Cookie Miller averages 7.1 points per contest.
The Huskers are led by third-year head coach Doc Sadler, who has posted a 53-37 mark at the helm. He has a 101-55 record in five years as a coach, which includes a two-year stint at UTEP (2004-06). Sadler is 3-2 against K-State with both losses coming on road.
K-State and Nebraska will be meeting for the 216th time on Saturday with the Wildcats holding a 122-93 mark in the all-time series. The 215 meetings are the third-most against one opponent, while the 122 wins are the second-most against a foe. K-State is 71-30 in games played at home in the series, including wins in 12 of the last 14 meetings. The Wildcats have a slight 14-12 edge since the inception of the Big 12, including 10 wins in the last 12 match-ups. K-State won last year’s meeting at home by a score of 74-59.
Last 5 meetings:
1-27-07 K-State 61-45 Manhattan
2-13-07 Nebraska 74-63 Lincoln
2-6-08 K-State 74-59 Manhattan
2-20-08 Nebraska 71-64 Lincoln
1-17-09 Nebraska 73-51 Lincoln
Solid Non-Conference Season
Kansas State’s win against North Carolina Central on Feb. 17 gave the team 12 non-conference wins, including a perfect 11-0 mark at home. The 12 non-conference wins tie the 1985-86 team for the second-most in school history and the most since the 1993-94 squad tallied a school-record 13. It marks the first time the team has posted consecutive seasons of at least 10 non-conference wins since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. The Wildcats have won at least 10 non-league contests four times in the last five seasons.
Recruiting Class Praised
The four-man recruiting class that Kansas State pulled down on Nov. 12 has been rated among the best in the country. The class, which includes McDonald’s All-American and ESPNU100 prospect Wally Judge, has been rated the 17th-best class by ESPN Scouts, Inc., as well as 21st- best class by Rivals.com. The quartet includes Judge, fellow high school teammate Rodney McGruder, Dallas (Texas) point guard Nick Russell and prep school forward Jordan Henriquez. Judge recently became the fourth Wildcat to be named a McDonald’s All-American, joining Tom Freeman (1976), Deryl Cunningham (1990) and Michael Beasley (2007).
Kansas State enters the 2008-09 season with one its youngest teams in recent history, as senior forward Darren Kent is the lone senior on a roster of 13 players. When you factor in that four of the six juniors are either transfers from another Division I school or a junior college, the Wildcats are one of the youngest teams in its history. Dating back to the 1981-82 season, there has been just one team - the 1983-84 squad which had no seniors - with fewer seniors on its roster. The 1996-97 also had just one senior on its roster.
Martin Inks Stellar Class
Kansas State head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent on the second day of the fall signing period on Nov. 13.
The four-man recruiting class, which was ranked 16th nationally by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and 21st by Rivals.com, includes prep school standout Jordan Henriquez (Winchendon [Mass.] School/Port Chester, N.Y.) and high school seniors Wally Judge (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.), Rodney McGruder (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.) and Nick Russell (Grace Preparatory Academy/Arlington, Texas).
The headliner of this class, Wally Judge is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward originally from Washington, D.C., who is entering his second year at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla. Considered one of the top power forwards in the high school ranks, Judge was rated as a top 25 recruit by several recruiting services, including the No. 17 prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 23 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. He was also rated as an ESPNU Top 100 recruit. In addition, he is ranked among the top-10 at his position, including No. 6 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 9 by Rivals.com.
Judge is in his second year at Florida powerhouse, Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, where he helped the Apaches to their fourth
consecutive Class 2A state title with a 24-6 record in 2007-08. Judge averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds and was named second team Class 2A All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association.
A teammate of Judge at Arlington Country Day, Rodney McGruder is considered one of the best shooting guards in the country. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 91 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. McGruder is also ranked among the top-35 at the position by a number of outlets, including No. 23 by Rivals.com and No. 31 by ESPN Scouts, Inc.
McGruder transferred to Arlington Country Day in the off-season from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals in leading the Lions to a 16-10 overall record and an appearance in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) semifinals in 2007-08. He was named to the Washington Post All-Met first team.
One of the top point guard prospects in the country, Nick Russell comes to K-State from Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 114 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com. Russell is also ranked among the top-40 at his position by a number of outlets, including No. 20 by Rivals.com and No. 36 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. In addition, he is rated the No. 4 player in the state of Texas for the Class of 2009 by Texashoops.com.
Russell helped Grace Prep to a 26-12 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in league play, as a junior in 2006-07. He helped the Lions to a runner-up finish at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools) Class 5A state tournament, where they lost to
Midland Christian, 74-60. Russell averaged 23 points, six assists and five rebounds as a junior. He was named first team TAPPS Class 5A all-state as well as co-most valuable player of the District 1-5A and first team all-district.
Jordan Henriquez comes to Kansas State from The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he is playing a postgraduate year in 2008-09. The 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from New Rochelle, N.Y. signed with the Wildcats this past May after finishing his career at Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y. As a senior, he led the team to an 18-6 record and an 8-0 mark in league play en route to a runner-up finish at the Section I Championship. In averaging a team-best 15.3 points, Henriquez scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games in 2007-08, including six 20-point contests.
The recruiting class will join a loaded Kansas State squad in 2009-10, as the Wildcats will return all but one player. They will be joined by junior forward Curtis Kelly, who is sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from University of Connecticut this past summer.