K-State hosts Oklahoma on Senior Day Saturday

Game 31

Oklahoma (15-13, 6-9 Big 12)
at Kansas State (20-10, 9-6 Big 12)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Bramlage Coliseum (13,340) in Manhattan, Kan.

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 2:38 p.m. Central

Series: Oklahoma leads 101-87

(K-State leads 53-33 in Manhattan, Kan.)

TV: ESPN on ABC 

Talent: Ron Franklin (Play-by-Play)
and Fran Fraschilla (Analyst)

Coverage Map: Split National Feed
(throughout Midwest & West)    

Radio: K-State Sports Network (31 affiliates),
Yahoo! Radio
Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
and Stan Weber (Analyst)

K-State closes out regular season with Senior Day against Oklahoma
Kansas State (20-10, 9-6 Big 12) wraps up the regular season on Saturday, as the Wildcats hosts Oklahoma (15-13, 6-9 Big 12) on Senior Day at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 2:38 p.m.  The athletic department will honor seniors Serge Afeli, Lance Harris, Cartier Martin, Jermaine Maybank and Akeem Wright, along with team manager John Smallwood, in a ceremony before the game. 

K-State enters the contest with plenty at stake for their postseason hopes.  The team, which is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Sooners and capture its first win in the series since 1999, needs a win to claim the fourth and final bye for next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.  In the history of the Big 12 Conference, there has never been a team to tally 20 or more wins, 10 or more league victories and a bye in conference tournament and not receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The game will be televised on a split national basis by ABC Sports with Ron Franklin (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (color) calling the action.  The school will be making just its third appearance on ABC Sports in school history and the second this season following its 73-72 win at Texas on Feb. 3.  It will be the school-record seventh and final appearance on national television for the Wildcats this season.  The audio broadcast of the game 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.

Senarios for Saturday
Depending on Saturday’s results, Kansas State can claim either a fourth or fifth seed for next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.  The Wildcats will be the fourth seed and receive a bye in the first round with a win over Oklahoma or a loss by Texas Tech to Iowa State.  The squad will earn the fifth seed and play 12th seed Colorado on Thursday at 2 p.m. with a loss or a Red Raider win in Ames.

RPI Update
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. 53-60.  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 (55),  Mike Greenfield’s Team RPI (58), CBS Sportsline’s RPI (59) and RealTimeRPI.com (60), while the team is rated 53rd in the latest Sagarin rankings.

Winning Formula
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.”

Milestone Wins
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.

Super Sub
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 15 of the 17 games he has not started for the Wildcats, including seven 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, Nebraska (22) on Feb. 13 and Oklahoma State on Feb. 27.  Martin is averaging 18.1 points on 47.3 percent shooting in those 17 games off the bench with 5.1 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game.  He has been even better in that role in the last 13 games, averaging 19.5 points on 50 percent shooting, including 46.6 percent from 3-point range, with 5.2 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game.  K-State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 26.3 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 24 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 28.2 points off the bench and have outscored their foes by a 677-413 margin.  The most telling aspect 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 (363), including an average of 5.8 steals, in the last 23 games, while averaging 18.3 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.

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.

Clutch Shooting
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 74.8 percent (258-of-345) 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 (513) and attempts (726) 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 72.9 percent (86-of-118).  For the season, the team has connected on 68.8 percent (130-of-189) 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 2.7 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 (15-13, 6-9 Big 12)
Oklahoma enters Saturday’s contest with a 15-13 overall record and 6-9 mark in Big 12 Conference play after dropping a hard-fought game to No. 3 Kansas, 67-65, in Norman, Okla., on Monday night.  The defensive-oriented Sooners held the high-scoring Jayhawks to just 67 points on 44.9 percent shooting in the loss, including 14.3 percent from 3-point range.  The team also forced converted 16 Kansas turnovers into 19 points.  Oklahoma was once again diverse in its scoring, with seven players scoring in the game led by senior Nate Carter’s 20 points.  Sophomore Taylor Griffin added 12 points. 
 
Oklahoma is averaging 67.7 points on 43.9 percent shooting with 36.5 rebounds and 13.9 assists per game on the season.  One of the top defensive teams in the nation, the Sooners rank second in the league in scoring defense in both overall (58.9) and conference-only games (63.2) and are third in field goal percentage defense (38.9) in all contests.  One of the more balanced scoring teams in the league, the squad has eight players averaging five or more points per game, including three in double figures.  Senior guard Nate Carter paces the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting with 4.9 rebounds.  Junior center Longar Longar is second in scoring at 11.0 points per game on a team-best 56.6 percent shooting to go with a team-high 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.  Senior guard Michael Neal averages 10.2 points with a team-best 48 3-point field goals, while rookie guard Tony Crocker and sophomore guard Austin Johnson add 8.3 and 7.5 points per game, respectively.  Johnson averages a team-best 3.1 assists. 

Oklahoma is led by first-year coach Jeff Capel, who came to Norman after posting a 79-41 mark during his four-year stint at Virginia Commonwealth.  A four-year starter at Duke from 1994-97, he led the Rams to one Colonial Athletic Association title (2003-04) and two postseason appearances (NCAA in 2003-04 and NIT in 2004-05).  This will be the first meeting between Capel and Bob Huggins in their respective careers.

Series Versus Oklahoma
This will be the 189th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Oklahoma in a series that dates back to 1920.  It is the fifth-longest series in school history behind Kansas (261), Missouri (225), Nebraska (212) and Iowa State (203).  The Sooners hold a 101-87 advantage in the all-time series, however, the Wildcats hold a 53-33 edge in games played in Manhattan, Kan.  A series once led by K-State, Oklahoma has now won 36 of the last 51 meetings since 1978, including wins in nine of the last 11 meetings since the start of the Big 12 in 1997.  The Wildcats have not beaten the Sooners since a 66-51 win at home on Jan. 23, 1999 (a span of eight straight losses).  However, the games have been extremely tight between the two squads with a margin of victory of just 5.7 points in the last seven meetings, including four games decided by two points or less.  The contests have been even tighter in Manhattan with the last three decided by a grand total of four points and two of the contests going into overtime. 

Last season, Taj Gray scored 23 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:15 to play, and Terrell Everett added 12 points and 10 assists to give No. 22 Oklahoma a 71-70 win over K-State in Norman, Okla.  The Wildcats had one last chance for the win, but Dramane Diarra’s contested putback from the right block came up short and the Sooners survived for their third straight one-point victory.  Cartier Martin scored a game-high 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting for K-State, while David Hoskins and Mario Taybron added 17 and 12 points, respectively.  The Wildcats shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half.

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 15.9 points in the last 23 games on 47.5 percent shooting with team-leading 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game.  In that span, Hoskins is first on the squad in field goal percentage, rebounds and steals, while he second in scoring and assists.  His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 15 in four categories, including 11th in free throw percentage (77.0), 14th in scoring (14.7 ppg.) and 15th in rebounding (5.9 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is 11th in scoring (16.0 ppg) and 14th in rebounding (6.3 rpg). 

He has scored in double figures in 21 of the last 23 games, including 20 or more points on seven 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 seventh 20-point game against Oklahoma State on Tuesday with 20 points.  

Getting Defensive 
Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 20-10 record to start the season.  The Wildcats rank among the top 6 in five defensive categories in the Big 12, including first in 3-point percentage defense (29.3), fifth in field goal percentage defense (41.8) and rebounding margin (+2.9) and sixth in scoring defense (65.9) and rebounding (36.4).  The squad has been just as impressive in league play, where they rank second in 3-point percentage defense (29.7) and fifth in scoring margin (+1.6) and rebounding margin (+1.1). 

The team has held 25 of its 30 foes to below 80 points, including 17 of its last 21 under 75 points (with 12 under 70 points).  In holding Colorado to 71 points on Feb. 24, the Wildcats have continued a trend of impressive defense in the last 24 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 65.3 points on 42.3 percent shooting, including 26.8 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. 

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 (159), fourth in attempts (398) and fifth in percentage (40.0), while Harris is third in attempts (420) and fourth in makes (146).

Road Warriors
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. 

Of the 31 bubble’ teams in the most recent RPI rankings, K-State is one of only two schools (along with Appalachian State) to have two wins on the road against the highest quality teams (those ranked in the RPI Top 25 or in the top 3 of one of the BCS Conferences).  The team 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.

Role Reversal
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.

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 7.5 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 28.4 minutes per game in guiding the team to 15 wins in 22 games.  He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 8.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting with 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 30.5 minutes per game.  Stewart has scored in double figures in seven games (all in the last 16 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 11.3 points in the last four games on 50 percent shooting (16-of-32), including 40 percent from 3-point range, with 3.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.  A starter in 68 of his 86 career games played, Stewart currently ranks fifth on K-State’s all-time list for assists (282) and needs just nine assists to surpass Anthony Beane (290; 1993-94) for fourth place.

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 22 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 52 consecutive contests, including all 30 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.  Earlier this year, the team scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since the 1990-91 season.  Against Cleveland State, K-State shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the field (its highest in nearly two seasons) and topped the 90-point barrier for just the second time this season.

Block Party
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 114 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 118 blocks during the regular season, which would tie for 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 51 blocks, which would be eight shy of Gerald Eaker’s single-season record of 59 set in 1995-96.  He has recorded at least one block in 16 of 25 games, while his 1.96 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 1,442 points in his four-year career.  Harris now ranks 21st all-time with 972 points in his four-year career and needs 28 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 (159) and Harris (146) rank third and fourth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals.  Hoskins already ranks 37th on the all-time scoring list with 808 points and can move into the top 30 with 59 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 9-1 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 Saturday’s game with 1,442 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). 

In addition to his scoring mark, he ranks among the top-10 in 10 other career statistics at Kansas State, including third in 3-point field goals made (159), fourth in minutes (2,915) and 3-point attempts (398), fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (40.0), seventh in field goals made (483), eighth in 20-point games (26), field goal attempts (1,058) and free throw attempts (405), ninth in free throws made (317) and 10th in games started (72). 

Martin has scored in double figures 24 times in the last 28 games, including 11 20-point outings.  He 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.  Martin has registered 20-point games in six of the last 11 games, including 25 against Chicago State, 22 versus Missouri, 27 at No. 23 Texas, 25 against Colorado, 22 versus Nebraska and 25 against Oklahoma State.  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 8-3 when he scores 20 or more points.

Huggins Effect
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 10.5 points on 44.2 percent shooting, including 37 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 26.8 minutes per game.  He is second on the squad in both 3-point field goal percentage (37.0) and 3-point field goals (51), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in 15 contests (including nine of the last 14), 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 (420), fourth in 3-point field goals made (146), sixth in minutes (2,496), eighth in games played (114) and 21st in scoring (972).

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 6.3 points on 48.6 percent shooting (18-of-37) and 75.8 percent from the free throw line to go with 0.9 steals in 16.9 minutes per game.  Maybank has been even better in the last seven games, averaging 7.1 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 0.9 steals in 18.7 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.

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 6.4 points on 37.6 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 26.1 minutes per game.  He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 13th in defensive rebounds and 14th 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, 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.  He has also kept up his defensive effort, pacing the team in rebounds in 11 games.  He has grabbed six or more rebounds in 13 of the last 19 games, including three double-digit efforts. 

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 21 games, including 31 against Kansas on Feb. 7.  A NJCAA honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06, Young is averaging 5.5 points, 2.4 assists, 2.0 rebounds and a team-best 1.2 steals in 19.8 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.  

Next Up: Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship
Kansas State will be making its 31st conference tournament appearance, as the Wildcats travel to the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., for the 11th annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 8-11.  The team, which will be either a fourth or fifth seed next week, has a 26-28 all-time record in postseason conference tournament play, including a 20-18 record in the Big Eight and a 6-10 mark at the Big 12 Championship.  The Wildcats have won two league tournament championships, taking the inaugural Big Eight Tournament in 1977 as well as the 1980 crown.  The program, which has advanced to the title game six times, has earned four runner-up finishes, placing second in 1978, 1981, 1988 and 1993.  With either a fourth or fifth seed, K-State will have its highest seeding of the Big 12 era and the highest since being slotted fourth at the final Big Eight Tournament in 1996.