K-State faces road test at Rutgers Wednesday

Game 2

Kansas State (1-0) at Rutgers (0-0)

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006

Louis Brown Athletic Center (8,000)
Piscataway, N.J.

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 6:30 p.m. Central

Series: Rutgers leads 1-0
(W, 76-66 in Manhattan on 12/28/04)

TV: None

Webcast: ESPN360
(For more information, contact www.espn360.com)

Talent: Dave Popkin (Play-by-Play) and Rob Kennedy (Analyst)

Radio: K-State Sports Network (31 affiliates across Kansas), Yahoo! Radio

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (color)

Tickets: Limited number available at (800) 221.CATS (2287)

 

Kansas State hits the road for challenge against Big East foe Rutgers Wednesday

Kansas State hits the road for the first time in 2006-07 when the Wildcats travel to Piscataway, N.J., to face Big East foe Rutgers (0-0) at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Wednesday.  The contest will be the first of eight non-conference games away from the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum and the earliest true’ road game in school history.  The eight non-conference road games, which tie four other squads for the most in school history, are the most by the Wildcats in a regular season since the 1989-90 team also played eight.

 

The contest will be broadcast via webcast on ESPN360 with Dave Popkin (play-by-play) and Rob Kennedy (analyst) calling the action.   ESPN360 is a multi-feature broadband service free to fans that receive high-speed broadband service through an ESPN-affiliated provider.  It is also available to more than six million homes but is not offered through all internet providers.  To view a list of participating internet providers, log-on to www.espn360.com.  ESPN is making the service available for those whose online connections are through either campus networks. 

 

Fans may also listen to the radio broadcast on the 31-station K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) calling the action. 

 

K-State will be making their first visit to the Garden State in the school’s 103 seasons with just its second all-time meeting with Rutgers.  The Scarlet Knights snapped the Wildcats’ eight-game winning streak to begin the 2004-05 season with a 76-66 win on Dec. 28, 2004.   

 

Noting the William & Mary Game

Kansas State opened the 2006-07 season with a 70-60 win over William & Mary before a sold-out crowd of 13,340 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Wildcats struggled from the field all day, connecting on just 30.0 percent of its field goals, but used a stellar defensive effort to claim their fourth straight season opening win at home and their 12th in the last 13 home openers. 

 

K-State posted 59 rebounds, including 32 offensive boards, and forced 19 turnovers to gain the victory.  Down 18-7 with 11:13 remaining in the first half, the Wildcats turned up the defensive pressure to reel off 14 straight points over the next four minutes to take the lead for good at 21-18.  The team finished the half on a 27-9 run to take a 34-27 lead at the break.  The Tribe got no closer than four points in the second half, as K-State’s lead grew to as many as 14 points. 

 

Senior Lance Harris led all four Wildcats in double figures with 22 points, while junior David Hoskins added 15 points.  Senior Akeem Wright collected his first double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

 

*Saturday’s game marked the first victory for Bob Huggins as the Kansas State head coach... Huggins is 568-199 with four different schools in his 25th year of coaching... He became the 15th K-State head coach to win his first game, joining legends Jack Gardner, Tex Winter and Jack Hartman.

 

*Kansas State moved to 79-24 all-time in season openers and 65-9 when debuting in Manhattan... The Wildcats have won 12 of their last 15 openers with all three losses coming on the road... The program has won 12 of their last 13 home openers... K-State is 202-80 all-time at Bramlage Coliseum.

 

*Head coach Bob Huggins moved to 21-1 all-time in season openers since going to Akron in 1984, including a perfect 18-0 mark in home games. 

 

*The paid attendance was 13,340... The actual attendance in Bramlage Coliseum was 11,340, making it the second-largest season-opening crowd in 20 years and the second-largest since Bramlage was opened in 1988... Kansas State’s largest season-opening crowd was Bramlage Coliseum’s grand-opening, an 81-77 win over Purdue on Nov. 26, 1988, which was witnessed by 13,304 fans... Despite not topping the record of the 1988 grand opening, the average attendance in Kansas State’s 18 home openers in Bramlage Coliseum before Saturday’s game was just 7,418.

 

*Lance Harris paced four players in double figures with 22 points... It marked the 31st time in his career he reached double figures and fourth time to break the 20-point barrier... David Hoskins’ 15 points marked his 21st double-figure scoring effort in 29 career games... Blake Young turned in 11 points to post double figures in his first career game... Akeem Wright posted 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his first career double-double.

 

*Freshmen Jason Bennett, Luis Colon and Chris Merriewether made their collegiate debuts, while junior Blake Young made his first Division I appearance after transferring from Daytona Beach Community College... Colon and Young made their first career starts in their first career games.

 

Get These Guys Some Windex

Kansas State demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball on Saturday in the win over William & Mary, as the Wildcats grabbed 59 rebounds, including 32 offensive boards, to go along with 19 forced turnovers.  The 59 rebounds were the most by a Wildcat team since collecting 61 in a triple-overtime loss at Oregon State on Dec. 6, 2003 and the most in a regulation game since totaling a Bramlage Coliseum-record 62 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 16, 1998.  The mark was a mere 15 shy of the school-record 74 set against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 2, 1967.  The last time a K-State team surpassed 50 rebounds in a game was a 54-board effort against Savannah State on Jan. 1, 2004.

 

Block Party

Kansas State posted eight blocked shots in the season opener against William & Mary, the most by a Wildcat team since blocking nine shots against Longwood on Dec. 5, 2005.  Freshman center Jason Bennett, the tallest player in school history at 7-foot-3, tallied four blocked shots in Saturday’s game, which ranks as the most since Dramane Diarra had a school-tying six blocked shots against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005.

 

Road Less Traveled

Kansas State will be making the first of eight road trips during non-conference play with its journey to Rutgers on Wednesday.  The team’s eight non-conference road games tie four other squads for the most in school history and the most since the 1989-90 squad also played eight.  Wednesday’s game is the earliest true’ road contest in school history, surpassing the previous mark of Nov. 16 set twice (1994, 1999).  It is also the second-earliest of any road contest in K-State history, which was set during the 1989-90 season when the team played Florida State, Hawai’i and Michigan State at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska on Nov. 9-11, 1989.  Of note, the game against William & Mary was the earliest home opener in school history and the second-earliest start to a season since the 1989 Great Alaska Shootout. 

           

The Wildcats will also be looking for their first win in the first true’ road game of the season since posting a 71-50 victory over UMKC on Dec. 3, 1997.  The team has dropped six straight games on opponents’ home courts in road openers dating back to an 88-69 loss at No. 10 Arizona on Nov. 16, 1999.  This statistic does not count on neutral floors, which includes the Wildcats’ 64-61 win over Wyoming at the Wyoming Shootout in Casper on Dec. 11, 2004.           

 

Head coach Bob Huggins has posted a 11-10 record in road openers in his Division I career, including a 72-61 win at Rutgers by his 10th-ranked Cincinnati squad on Nov. 28, 1994.  Of his 10 career losses in road openers, four have come to teams ranked in the Top 25.  

 

Non-Conference A Mixed Bag

Kansas State has posted at least eight non-conference wins in 21 of the last 25 seasons, including each of the last four seasons.  The Wildcats have earned a winning record in non-conference play in 34 consecutive seasons dating back to the 1972-73 season with 10 or more victories on 16 occasions.  K-State has won 19 of its last 23 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 18-1 (.947) mark at home.  The one setback at home came in a 76-66 loss to Rutgers at Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 28, 2004.

 

However, Kansas State has posted just a 1-12 mark in non-conference road games dating back to the 2000-01 season, including five straight losses.  The last non-conference road win came in a 79-66 victory over Wichita State on Dec. 14, 2002.

 

Recapping the Exhibition Season

Kansas State overcame a poor shooting performance to power past Washburn, 94-90, in triple overtime its only exhibition game on Saturday night.  The Wildcats shot just 33 percent for the contest, including just 13.3 percent from 3-point range, and were out-rebounded by the smaller Ichabods, 62-59.  The team trailed by as many as nine points to the Division II power in the second half before tying the game on a free throw by junior David Hoskins with 51 second remaining.  The two teams continued to slug it out for the next 15 minutes before freshman Chris Merriewether gave the Wildcats the lead for good on a free throw with 2:17 remaining in third overtime.

 

Hoskins led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-24 field goals with 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 44 minutes of action.  His minutes, points, field goals, field goal attempts, rebounds and blocks would have all been career-highs had it been a regulation game.  Senior Cartier Martin followed with 19 points and nine rebounds, but struggled to find his shooting touch connecting on just 4-of-19 field goal attempts.  Senior transfer Jermaine Maybank and junior Clent Stewart each chipped in 11 points to the effort.

 

Season Tickets Sold Out

For the first time in the 19-year history of Bramlage Coliseum all available season-ticket packages have been sold.  The last time K-State could boast a sellout of its season tickets was 1982-83 when the Wildcats played in Ahearn Field House.

“There was no question when we hired Bob Huggins that interest in K-State basketball would be rekindled,” said Director of Athletics Tim Weiser.  “But to think we would reach this point so quickly ... it’s amazing.  This is just further evidence of the passion and support of K-State fans.”

 

Public and student season ticket allocations have accounted for approximately 13,000 of the 13,340 capacity of Bramlage Coliseum.  K-State will make available 300 tickets on an individual-game basis, which were already sold out for the Washburn exhibition game and the regular-season opener against William & Mary.  Tickets remain for K-State’s other non-conference games.  The individual-game allotment for Big 12 Conference games will go on sale Nov. 14 to Ahearn Scholarship Fund donors and season-ticket holders with a priority deadline of Dec. 7.

 

’Cats Chosen Fifth in Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll

The Kansas State men’s basketball team was given its highest-ever ranking in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll, as the Wildcats were chosen fifth with 76 points.  Boosted by the hiring of legendary head coach Bob Huggins and the return of four starters and eight lettermen, the Wildcats received their highest ranking in nine preseason polls dating back to the 1997-98 season.  The previous high came in 1998-99 when the team was selected sixth. 

 

For the seventh time in Big 12 history, Kansas is the preseason favorite to win the conference title as the Jayhawks gained 121 total points and received all 11 possible first-place votes in polling of the head coaches.  Texas A&M was picked second in the poll, as the Aggies received the other first-place vote and 109 points.  Oklahoma State and Texas were selected just ahead of the Wildcats in third and fourth place, respectively.  Texas Tech was chosen sixth with 68 points, while Baylor followed in seventh with 60 points for its highest predicted finish in Big 12 history.  Missouri (44) and Oklahoma (42) were picked eighth and ninth, respectively, while Nebraska (37), Iowa State (23) and Colorado (20) rounded out the poll. 

 

The Book on Rutgers

Like Kansas State, Rutgers comes into the 2006-07 season with a new identity as former assistant coach Fred Hill takes over the helm of the program from the departed Gary Waters.  Known for his recruiting abilities, Hill will have plenty to work with in his first season, as the Scarlet Knights return four starters and 12 lettermen from a 2005-06 team which produced a 19-14 overall record and advanced to the second round of the Postseason NIT.   

 

Rutgers played just one exhibition game in the preseason, earning a 64-41 win over Caldwell College on Nov. 8.  Leading by just five at the break, the Scarlet Knight shot a blistering 56 percent from the field in the second half to take the easy 23-point victory.  The team was balanced both offensively and defensively with eight players scoring at least five points and six recording at least four rebounds.  Senior Marquis Webb was only player in double figures for the Scarlet Knights with 14 points, while junior Ollie Bailey grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.

 

Webb averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 rebounds as a junior in 2005-06, while sophomores J.R. Inman (8.7 ppg., 5.3 rpg.) and Anthony Farmer (8.3 ppg., 2.7 rpg.) both return after solid freshman seasons.  The Knights lost All-Big East selection Quincy Douby (25.4 ppg.) to the NBA Draft.

 

Series Versus Rutgers

Kansas State lost its only meeting to Rutgers in 2004, as the Scarlet Knights ended the Wildcats’ opening eight-game winning streak to start the 2004-05 season with a 76-66 victory on Dec. 28 at Bramlage Coliseum.  The teams have never met at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

 

Head coach Bob Huggins is a perfect 4-0 all-time against Rutgers, including boasting a 1-0 mark on its own home court.  All four meetings came during his 16-year stint at Cincinnati, including his first season in 1989-90.  Huggins’ Bearcats posted a 79-71 win on Dec. 30, 1989, a 75-61 decision at the Delta Airlines Bearcat Classic on Dec. 11, 1993, a 72-61 victory on Nov. 28, 1994 and a 105-65 win on Nov. 30, 1996.

 

Up Next: Tennessee Tech (1-0)

Kansas State returns home to face Tennessee Tech (1-0) on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 8 p.m.  The Wildcats will be meeting the Golden Eagles for just the second time in school history and for the first time since a 89-61 victory at the Far West Classic in Portland, Ore.

 

Tennessee Tech opened the 2006-07 season on Monday night with a resounding 110-69 win over Bluefield College.  The Golden Eagles had four players reach double figures led by junior Anthony Fisher’s 18 points.  Senior Amadi McKenzie produced a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.