'Cats, Hokies Tangle In Early Top 25 Match-up

Senior Jacob Pullen led the Wildcats with 20 points in the opener vs. James Madison

Nov. 14, 2010


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3/3 Kansas State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. 22/24 Virginia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon

Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010  |  Tipoff: 3 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.  |  Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Live Stats: www.kstatesports.com
Television: ESPN (Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Bob Knight, analyst; Aaron Stojkov, producer)
Internet: ESPN3.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 121/XM 141 
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 73-32 (.695) in his fourth season.  Virginia Tech - Seth Greenberg (Fairleigh Dickinson ‘78) is 346-264 (.567) in his 21st season as a head coach and 133-94 (.586) in his eighth season at the school.
Series: First meeting.  |  Martin vs. Greenberg:  First meeting.  |  K-State vs. ACC:  7-9  |  Last time vs. ACC:  L, Clemson, 79-45, Nov. 25, 1998
Last Time Out:  K-State defeated James Madison, 75-61, at home, while Virginia Tech beat Campbell, 70-60, at home, both on Friday night.
Rankings: K-State is No. 3 in both the preseason AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls.  Virginia Tech is No. 21 and No. 23 in the respective polls.
Tickets: Sold out.  Selected tickets for holiday games [Dec. 23, Dec. 31, Jan. 3] are available at www.k-statesports.com.

K-State, Virginia Tech Tangle In Early Top 25 Battle
No. 3/3 Kansas State (1-0) faces one of its most difficult early season match-ups in the program’s history on Tuesday, as the Wildcats battle No. 22/24 Virginia Tech (1-0) in ESPN’s third annual College Hoops Tip-off Marathon at Bramlage Coliseum in a unique 3 p.m. tip-off.  The Wildcats and Hokies will be one of 12 live college basketball games in 24 consecutive hours on ESPN for the second straight season.  Overall, the marathon will include 20 live games - 19 men’s and one women’s - in a minimum of 25.5 hours across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  ESPN3.com will offer two exclusive games as well as a simulcast of every ESPN and ESPN2 telecast.  The marathon will start at 11 p.m. CT on Monday night with Miami (Fla.) playing Memphis and will also include Big 12 foe Baylor hosting LaSalle at 1 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s game continues a busy slate for the Wildcats, who will be playing the second of three games in a seven-day period.  The team concludes Manhattan Regional Round play of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic on Thursday with a contest against Presbyterian (0-1) at 7 p.m.  The squad then heads to Kansas City, Mo., to compete in the CBE Classic Championship Round at the Sprint Center, beginning with No. 12/12 Gonzaga (1-0) on Monday, Nov. 22 at 8:30 p.m.  The winner will face either 1/1 Duke (0-0) or Marquette (1-0) on Tuesday at 9 p.m. for the tournament title.

K-State earned its 14th consecutive home-opening win on Friday night, as the Wildcats survived an early deficit to James Madison to post a 75-61 victory before a sold-out crowd.  The squad is now 83-24 (.776) all-time in season openers, including a 69-9 (.885) mark when debuting at home.  Down 6-0 to start the game, the team fought through three ties before using a 19-9 run to open up a 38-28 lead just before halftime.  The Wildcats opened the second half with a 17-5 run over the first six minutes, capped by a 3-pointer by senior guard Jacob Pullen, to take a 55-35 advantage.  The Dukes would get no closer than 13 points the rest of the way, as K-State earned its first victory of the 2010-11 season.  The team shot just 43.6 percent from the field, but did connect on 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from 3-point range, while struggling mightily from the free throw line (17-of-32).  The Wildcats took advantage of 26 Duke turnovers, converting them into 21 points.  The squad has forced 20 or more opponent miscues 31 times in the Frank Martin era, while scoring 20 or more points off of those turnovers on 49 occasions.

Pullen led all scorers with 20 points on 5-of-10 field goals, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, with a game-high five assists and three steals in 24 minutes of action.  It marked the 32nd time in Pullen’s career he led the team in scoring, while it represented his 77th career double-figure scoring game and his 26th career 20-point game.  He now ranks fifth all-time in career double-digit scoring games and is tied for ninth in career 20-point games in school history.  Sophomore Nick Russell posted career-highs in 10 categories in the victory, including points (19), field goals (6), field goals attempted (14), free throws (5), assists (4) and minutes (31).  To put it in perspective, Russell scored just 31 points in 21 games all of last season as a freshman in 143 minutes played.  Fellow guards Rodney McGruder (9), Will Spradling (9) and Martavious Irving (8) combined to add 26 points, while sophomore Jordan Henriquez-Roberts was solid all-around with six points, eight rebounds and four blocks.           

The Wildcats own their highest ever preseason rankings in both major polls, checking at No. 3 in both The Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches polls.  The No. 3 ranking ties for the highest of any of the major polls, in which, the squad is ranked in the Top 10 in nearly every poll.  The No. 3 ranking is the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the Wildcats ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962.  The team has been ranked in the AP Top 10 for nine consecutive polls dating back to last season, including a No. 7 ranking prior to the NCAA Tournament.  Overall, the school has appeared in 16 consecutive AP polls dating back to Dec. 14, 2009.  The squad returns nine lettermen, including two starters, from a team that won a school-record 29 games, including a Big 12 era high 11 in league play, and advanced to their first Elite Eight since 1988. 

K-State is 221-80 (.734) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 138-36 (.793) as a Top 10 squad and 86-22 (.796) as a Top 5 team.  The Wildcats have played 33 games previously as the nation’s No. 3 team in the country, boasting a 26-7 (.788) mark.  This will be just the second game as the No. 3 team since defeating Nebraska 84-60 on March 7, 1962. 

This will be the first meeting between K-State and Virginia Tech on the hardwood.  This will be the first match-up of a ranked Wildcat squad and a ranked non-conference foe since since 2007 when No. 17 Oregon knocked off No. 25 K-State, 80-70, in overtime in the first Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series on Nov. 29.  Overall, it will be just the fourth match-up of ranked teams in Bramlage Coliseum history.  Last season, the team defeated No. 1 Texas, 71-62, on Jan. 19 before losing in overtime to No. 2 Kansas, 81-79, on Jan. 30.  The Wildcats are 8-8 all-time against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with the last match-up coming against Clemson in the 1998 Maui Invitational.  This will be the first visit by an ACC opponent to Bramlage Coliseum and the first to Manhattan since Maryland came to Ahearn Field House in 1965.  The game will pit two of the nation’s top senior guards in preseason All-Americans Jacob Pullen and Malcolm Delaney.     

K-State to honor Winter at halftime of Virginia Tech game
Kansas State will honor the accomplishments of former head coach Tex Winter at halftime of Tuesday’s Virginia Tech game to play tribute to him for his induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame later this month.  He is one of eight individuals who will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2010. The 2010 induction ceremonies will be held on Sunday, Nov. 21 at the College Basketball Experience (CBE) and the historic Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Mo.  Winter, who led the Wildcats to 261 wins and eight conference titles from 1953-68, will be joined in the 2010 induction class with players Christian Laettner (Duke), David Thompson (N.C. State), Jerry West (West Virginia) and Sidney Wicks (UCLA), fellow coach Davey Whitney (Alcorn State) and contributors Wayne Duke and Tom Jernstedt. 

A renowned basketball innovator credited with the triangle offense, Winter led the Wildcats to a 261-118 (.689) record, which included eight Big Seven/Eight conference titles, five Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament crowns and six trips to the NCAA Tournament.  His 261 wins rank second all-time in school history behind Jack Hartman’s 295, while he is second in NCAA Tournament victories (seven) and 20-win seasons (five). 

Winter’s .689 winning percentage ranks fourth all-time in school history behind Zora Clevenger (.761; 1916-20); current coach Frank Martin (.702) and E.A. Knoth (.700; 1920-21). He also laid claim to more conference titles (eight) than any other head coach in the program’s history, while his teams finished among the Top 20 nationally nine times in his 15 seasons, including No. 1 in both polls in 1958-59. 
The Book on Virginia Tech
A team much like K-State known for its renaissance in college football, Virginia Tech (1-0) enters the 2010-11 season with veteran leadership with the return of 10 lettermen, including all five starters, from a squad that posted a 25-9 overall record and finished tied for third in ACC play.  The team has advanced to the postseason four consecutive seasons. 

The Hokies are a veteran squad with four senior starters led by preseason All-American Malcolm Delaney.  A season ago, Delaney averaged 20.2 points, 4.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds as a junior en route to earning AP honorable mention All-America honors and unanimous first team All-ACC accolades.  He has plenty of support with three fellow senior starters in Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson and Terrell Bell and junior Victor Davila.  Hudson was second on the team in scoring a year ago at 15.2 points to go with 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists, while Allen averaged 12.0 points, a team-best 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.  Bell added 6.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, while Davila had averages of 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in 2009-10.  The team also returns senior J.T. Thompson, who averaged 7.3 points off the bench a year ago.   

The squad opened the season with an 80-70 win over Campbell at home.  Delaney led four players in double figures with 20 points, including an 11-of-11 effort from the free throw line, while Allen had an impressive all-around game with 11 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals in 31 minutes.  Bell added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Virginia Tech is led by eighth-year head coach Seth Greenberg, who posted a 133-94 (.584) record during his tenure.  He has led the squad to three 20-win seasons in three of the past four seasons, including 25 a year ago, as well as four consecutive postseason appearances.  A veteran coach with a 346-264 (.567) record in 20 seasons, he has had coaching stints at Long Beach State (1990-96) and South Florida (1996-2003). 

Series vs. Virginia Tech
This will mark the first meeting between K-State and Virginia Tech on the hardwood.  The Wildcats are 8-8 all-time against teams currently in the Atlantic Coast Conference, including contests against Boston College (1-1), Clemson (1-1), Florida State (2-0), Maryland (1-0), North Carolina (1-4) and N.C. State (2-2).  This will be the first meeting with an ACC foe since dropping a third-round game to Clemson, 79-45, at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 25, 1998.  The team is 3-0 all-time against the league in Manhattan with wins against N.C. State (69-67, 1958), North Carolina (77-69, 1960) and Maryland (63-57, 1965).  However, this will be the first meeting with an ACC opponent at Bramlage Coliseum and the first in Manhattan since knocking off Maryland, 63-57, on Dec. 11, 1965 at Ahearn Field House.  Ironically, legendary head coach Tex Winter, who will be honored at halftime on Tuesday’s game for his induction into College Basketball Hall of Fame, was the coach of that Wildcat squad.

Up Next: Presbyterian
K-State will have a quick turnaround from Tuesday, playing host to Presbyterian (0-1) on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.  It is the second and final Manhattan Regional Round game of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic.  The Blue Hose lost their season opener at Vanderbilt, 88-47, on Nov. 12. 

‘Cats in November
Kansas State is 82-24 (.774) all-time in the month of November, including wins in 31 of its last 38 games.  The Wildcats have won 23 of their last 24 games at home in November dating back to the 2003-04 season, including eight in a row dating back to an 80-77 overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2008.  The Oregon loss snapped a 17-game homecourt winning streak in the month and was the first November home loss since a 59-55 setback to Northwestern on Nov. 30, 2002.  A year ago, the Wildcats posted their best winning percentage in the November since 2005-06, posting a 5-1 record.  The team totaled at least five wins in the month for the third consecutive season – a first in school history – while tying the 1998-99 (5-2), 2007-08 (5-2) and 2008-09 (5-2) teams for the most wins in the month.  Last season, the squad earned wins over Loyola Chicago (92-54), Western Illinois (82-50), Boston U. (80-70), No. 18/21 Dayton (83-75) and IUPUI (70-57) to go with a loss to Ole Miss (86-74).

Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes.  Since he became coach, the Wildcats have scored 1,997 points off of 1,764 turnovers in 105 games, an average of just over 19 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers.  In the season opener, the squad scored 21 points off 26 James Madison turnovers.  In 2007-08, the Wildcats scored 18.9 points per game off of 16.2 turnovers per game, while in 2008-09, the team scored 25.7 points off of an average of 17.0 turnovers.  The 2009-10 season was no different with the squad averaging 19.9 points off of 16.9 opponent mistakes per game.  K-State scored 20+ points off of turnovers 17 times last season, including a school-record 40 against South Dakota on Jan. 3.  The team also scored 20 or more points off of turnovers against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), WSU (39), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29), Cleveland State (30), Texas A&M (23), Colorado (23 & 26), Nebraska (22 & 29), Oklahoma (23) and Missouri (21), OSU (23) and Baylor (22).  The Wildcats have a 44-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Martin, including 17-0 record a year ago.
Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
The accolades for Jacob Pullen continue to mount, as the senior was named a preseason first team All-American by The Associated Press earlier this month.  Pullen, who has been selected to a number of All-American teams, was joined on the first team by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Duke’s Kyle Singler.  Pullen was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading K-State to its first Elite Eight since 1988.  He has already been named a preseason All-American by a number of media outlets, including to the first team by ESPN.com, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, to the second team by Dick Vitale and to the third team by Athlon Sports.  He was also recently selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top player by the LA Athletic Club. 

A year ago, Pullen led the Wildcats in scoring at 19.3 points per game, while setting school single-season marks for games played (37), 3-point field goals (110) and steals (67).  He has a chance at becoming the school’s all-time leader in a number of categories.

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he enters his fourth and final season.  After his 20-point effort against James Madison in the season opener, he moved to within 20 points off for Cartier Martin (1,546, 2003-07) for sixth place in scoring at K-State.  His current total of 1,506 points in 105 games ranks seventh on the scoring list, as he is one of just three players (Mike Evans and Rolando Blackman) in school history to score 1,500 points in his first three seasons.  If Pullen keeps up his current scoring average (14.4 ppg.), he would finish in the Top 5 just behind Mike Evans (2,115; 1974-78), Rolando Blackman (1,844; 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834; 1989-94) with over 1,700 points.  A year ago, he was one of three players (along with Denis Clemente and Curtis Kelly) to set the single-season record for games played (37) and started (37), while also setting school marks for double-digit scoring games (37), 3-point field goals (110) and steals (67).

Pullen ranks among the Top 10 in 14 career categories, including eight in the Top 5 in school history.  He is already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (639), while he paces second in steals (164), third in 3-point field goals (228), assists (345) and free throws made (364), fourth in consecutive starts (72) and fifth in minutes played (2,990) and double-digit scoring games (77).  He also ranks sixth in free throws attempted (475) and consecutive games played (105), seventh in starts (86) and field goals attempted (1,162), eighth in field goals (467) and ninth in 20-point games (26).  Within the next few games, he has an opportunity to become just the fifth player in school history with 3,000 career minutes played, while he needs 10 3-point field goals to surpass Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) for second place and 13 to take first place from Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  Pullen is the first player in school history to be named team captain three consecutive years.

Recapping the Exhibition Season
Kansas State completed its exhibition slate a perfect 2-0 with a pair of wins over Division II foes, Newman (83-56) on Nov. 2 and Washburn (90-44) on Nov. 7.  The Wildcats have won 10 consecutive exhibition games dating back to the 2004-05 season and are 33-9 in exhibitions since 1987.

*K-State averaged 86.5 points on 41.5 percent shooting (54-130), including 38.3 percent (18-of-47) from 3-point range, with 56.0 rebounds, 17.5 assists, 8.5 steals and 7.0 blocks per game.  The Wildcats out-scored their opposition, 68-45 in the paint, 50-22 off turnovers, 41-12 on second chance opportunities and 88-33 off the bench.  The team allowed 50 points off 29.1 percent shooting, including 27 percent from beyond the arc.

*Senior guard Jacob Pullen led a balanced scoring attack with 13.5 points per game in the two exhibition games, while playing a team-high 24 mintues per game.  In all, 10 players averaged at least five points per game, while five averaged at least four boards per game.  Sophomores Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder averaged 10.5 and 10.0 points per game, respectively, while senior Curtis Kelly posted 8.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per outing.  Newcomers Shane Southwell and Freddy Asprilla averaged 7.0 and 6.5 points, while Asprilla hauled in a team-best 9.5 rebounds.