K-State Faces Gonzaga in CBE Classic Monday

Sophomore Rodney McGruder has scored in double figures in back-to-back games.

Nov. 20, 2010

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3/3 Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. 11/12 Gonzaga (2-1, 0-0 WCC)
O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic Championship Rounds

Date: Monday, November 22, 2010  |  Tipoff: 8:30 p.m. CT
Location: Kansas City, Mo.  |  Arena: Sprint Center (18,897)  |  Internet: ESPN3.com
Television: ESPN2 (Dan Shulman, play-by-play; Bob Knight, analyst; Eric Mosley, producer)  | 
Internet: ESPN3.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  | 
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 122/XM 143 
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 75-32 (.701) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Gonzaga - Mark Few (Oregon ‘87) is 293-74 (.798) in his 12th season as a head coach and at the school.
Series: K-State leads 1-0  |  Martin vs. Few:  First meeting  |  K-State vs. WCC:  6-3  | 
Last time vs. WCC:  W, 83-60, St. Mary’s, 11/13/98
Last Time Out:  K-State defeated Presbyterian, 76-67, on Thursday night at home, while Gonzaga lost to San Diego State, 79-76, at home on Nov. 16
Rankings: K-State is No. 3 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, while Gonzaga ranks No. 11 and No. 12 in the respective polls.
Tickets: Sold out.   

K-State plays Gonzaga in CBE Classic Championship Round
No. 3/3 Kansas State (3-0) hits the road for the first time this season, as the Wildcats travel to Kansas City, Mo., to play in the Championship Round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic on Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 22-23.  The squad will face its second ranked opponent in three games in its match-up against No. 11/12 Gonzaga (2-1) in Monday’s night-cap at 8:30 p.m. CT with the winner advancing to play either No. 1/1 Duke (3-0) or Marquette (4-0) on Tuesday at 9 p.m. CT for the tournament championship.  The losers of the two semifinal games on Monday will square off in the consolation contest at 6:45 p.m. CT on Tuesday.  All four games of the Championship Round will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

This will mark just the second time in school history that the Wildcats have faced two ranked opponents in their first four games and the first time since the 1971-72 season when the squad lost 78-72 at No. 19 BYU (in the debut of the Marriott Center) in the season opener on Dec. 3 before losing 71-64 to No. 10 Kentucky  in the home opener on Dec. 6.  K-State knocked off No. 22/24 Virginia Tech, 73-57, on Tuesday at home in just the fourth match-up of ranked foes in Bramlage Coliseum history.  It marks the second straight season that the team will play at least two ranked non-conference opponents, which previously had not happened since 2000-01.  Last season, the squad knocked off No. 18 Dayton, 83-75, in the third-place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 21, before a 95-80 win over No. 18 UNLV at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 12.  Overall, the Wildcats are 11-12 against ranked opponents under Frank Martin, including a school-record seven wins in 2009-10.    

The Wildcats moved to 3-0 on the season for the eighth consecutive season on Tuesday afternoon with a less-than-stellar 76-67 win over Presbyterian on Thursday.  After leading by as many as 14 points in the first half, the team survived 34.4 percent shooting from the field, including just 16.7 percent from 3-point range, in the second half to hold off a determined Blue Hose squad, who closed to within 69-65 with just under four minutes to play.  The squad saw a season-high five players scored in double figures led by All-American candidate Jacob Pullen, who led the team in scoring for the third consecutive game with 15 points.  Sophomore Rodney McGruder chipped 13 points, while Martavious Irving, Wally Judge and Jamar Samuels each added 10 points.  K-State scored 20 points off second-chance points and another 19 off turnovers.  The team also posted at least 25 points off its bench for the third consecutive contest.  On Tuesday, the squad had 37 off the bench against the Hokies.    

The Wildcats are ranked No. 3 in the first edition of both The Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls after starting the season in the same spot for their highest ever preseason rankings in both polls.  The No. 3 ranking is the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the team ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962.  K-State 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 from a team that won a school-record 29 games and advanced to their first Elite Eight since 1988. 

K-State is 223-80 (.736) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 140-36 (.795) as a Top 10 squad and 88-22 (.800) as a Top 5 team.  The Wildcats have played 35 games previously as the nation’s No. 3 team in the country, boasting a 28-7 (.800) mark.  This will be just the fourth game as the No. 3 team since defeating Nebraska, 84-60, on March 7, 1962. 

This will be just the second all-time meeting between K-State and Gonzaga on the hardwood and the first since the Wildcats knocked off the Bulldogs, 66-64, in the second round of the Postseason NIT on on March 22, 1994.  The Wildcats are 6-3 all-time against teams from the West Coast Conference with an average margin of victory in those six wins of 12 points.  This will be the first meeting with WCC foe since posting an 83-60 win over St. Mary’s on Nov. 13, 1998.  The 23-point victory was the largest against a West Conference foe in nine all-time meetings.  The squad has never faced Duke on the hardwood, while the last of their 10 meetings with Marquette came more than a two decades ago in 1988.

Postgame Notes vs. Presbyterian
• Thursday’s contest was the first ever between K-State and Presbyterian... K-State is now 6-0 against teams from the Big South Conference.
• The Wildcats’ starting lineup vs. Virginia Tech consisted of senior guard Jacob Pullen, sophomore guard Nick Russell, sophomore guard Rodney McGruder, sophomore forward Wally Judge, and junior forward Freddy Asprilla... This was the third time K-State has used this lineup this year... •The Wildcats scored 20 second-chance points thanks to 16 offensive rebounds... They also scored 19 points off 18 Blue Hose turnovers.
• K-State had five players score in double digits on the night... Jacob Pullen (15), Rodney McGruder (13), Martavious Irving (10), Jamar Samuels (10) and Wally Judge (10)... the last time the Wildcats had five players score in double figures was at Oklahoma (Feb. 20) last season.
• The Wildcats were able to hold off a strong shooting performance by Presbyterian as the Blue Hose shot 50.0 percent (25-of-50)... K-State is now 9-16 under Frank Martin when opponents shoot 50 percent or better and also is 25-21 in games decided by 10 points or less in that span.
• K-State shot 54.3 percent (19-of-35) in the first half... This is significantly higher than the Wildcats’ previous two games this season when they shot 38.7 percent against James Madison and 36.4 percent against Virginia Tech.

Famed Coach Tex Winter Heads into Hall of Fame
Kansas State famed head coach Fred “Tex” Winter will become the first Wildcat to be elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame when he joins seven other honorees in induction ceremonies on Sunday at the historic Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Mo.  Winter, who led the Wildcats to 261 wins and eight league titles from 1953-68, will be joined by players Christian Laettner (Duke), David Thompson (N.C. State), Jerry West (West Virginia) and Sidney Wicks (UCLA), 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 (.701) 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 Gonzaga
One of the nation’s top college basketball programswith 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including four trips to the Sweet 16, Gonzaga returns seven lettermen, including four starters, from a squad that won 27 games and advanced to the NCAA second round in 2009-10.  Under head coach Mark Few, the Bulldogs have posted 11 consecutive 20-win season and captured 10 straight WCC regular-season titles.     

Gonzaga, which is coming off its first loss of the season to a veteran San Diego State squad on Nov. 16, is averaging 93 points per game on 54.4 percent shooting, including 39.7 percent from 3-point range, through three games.  Three players are averaging in double figures led by All-American candidate guard Steven Gray, who is averaging a team-best 25.7 points on 59.1 percent shooting to go with 7.3 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in 34.0 minutes per game.  Gray, co-MVP of the Maui Invitational, became the 33rd player in school history with 1,000 points against IUPUI.

In all, eight players average six or more points per game for the Bulldogs, while four average at least five rebounds.  Gray is aided by junior forward Robert Sacre, who is second in scoring at 11.7 points to go with a team-best 7.3 rebounds per game, and freshman forward Sam Dower, who is third at 11.0 points per game.  Freshman forward Mathis Monninghoff and sophomore forward Kelly Olynyk both average 9.3 points, including 5.7 rebounds by Olynyk, while sophomore forward Elias Harris, the 2010 WCC Newcomer of the Year, adds a 7.7 points per game average. 
Gonzaga is led by veteran head coach Mark Few, who posted a 293-74 (.799) record in 12 seasons at the school.  Eight times Few has been named the conference Coach of the Year, while his career winning percentage of .799 tops all active head coaches in Division I.  

Series vs. Gonzaga
This will be just the second all-time meeting between K-State and Gonzaga on the hardwood and the first since the Wildcats knocked off the Bulldogs, 66-64, in the second round of the Postseason NIT on on March 22, 1994.  The Wildcats are 6-3 all-time against teams from the West Coast Conference with an average margin of victory in those six wins of 12 points.  Those eight other games have come against Saint Mary’s (1-0, 1998), San Francisco (4-2, 1948-51-52-58-59-81) and Santa Clara (0-1, 1948).  This will be the first meeting with WCC foe since posting an 83-60 win over St. Mary’s on Nov. 13, 1998.  The 23-point victory was the largest against a West Conference foe in nine all-time meetings.    

Up Next: 1/1 Duke or Marquette
K-State will face either top-ranked Duke (3-0) or Marquette (4-0) in the second game of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic on Tuesday at either 6:45 p.m. or 9 p.m. CT.  It would be the first meeting with Duke on the hardwood, but the second in three games against an ACC foe after knocking off No. 22/24 Virginia Tech, 73-57, on Tuesday.  The Wildcats are 9-8 all-time against the ACC.  It would be the 11th meeting with Marquette, but the first in more than 20 years since the squad posted a 78-57 win over the Golden Eagles at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo., on Jan. 3, 1988.  K-State holds a 7-3 edge in the all-time series, which includes a dramatic 67-66 win by Marquette in the 1977 NCAA Tournament.

‘Cats in November
Kansas State is 84-24 (.778) all-time in the month of November, including wins in 33 of its last 40 games.  The Wildcats have won 25 of their last 26 games at home in November dating back to the 2003-04 season, including 10 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).

Youngsters Stepping Up
For all the attention Kansas State seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly have gotten in the preseason, it has been the play of the team’s freshmen and sophomores, who have helped the Wildcats off to a 3-0 start for the eighth consecutive season.  This nucleus has scored 147 of the team’s 224 points thus far (66 percent), while posting 76 of 113 rebounds (67 percent), 32 of 50 assists (64 percent) and 14 of 24 steals (58 percent).  The group represents three of the team’s Top 5 scorers and seven of the Top 10, while it includes four of the Top 5 rebounders and three of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Six of 11 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is first in rebounding (6.7 rpg.), 3-point field goals (six) and minutes (29.7 mpg.) and second in scoring (11.7 ppg.) and assists (3.0 apg.) and steals (1.0 spg.).  Sophomore guard Martavious Irving is third in scoring at 9.7 points per game, while fellow sophomores Nick Russell (8.0 ppg.) and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (6.0 ppg.) rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in scoring.  Henriquez-Roberts is also second in rebounding at 6.3 per outing.

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 2,030 points off of 1,799 turnovers in 107 games, an average of 19 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which, the team has outscored its opponents, 54-20, through three games.  In the season opener, the squad scored 21 points off 26 James Madison turnovers before converting 17 Virginia Tech miscues into 14 points on Tuesday.  The Wildcats pressured Presbyterian into 18 turnovers on Thursday, outscoring the Blue Hose, 19-2.   

In 2007-08, K-State averaged 18.9 points 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 turnovers per game.  K-State scored 20+ points off of turnovers 17 times a year ago, including a school-record 40 against South Dakota.  The team scored 20 or more points off of turnovers versus several marquee opponents, including UNLV (26), Alabama (22), Texas A&M (23), Colorado (23 and 26), Nebraska (22 and 29), Oklahoma (23), Missouri (21), Oklahoma State (23) and Baylor (22).  The Wildcats have a 44-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Martin.
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 Kansas 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 selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, while he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T on Nov. 16.  Pullen is also a candidate for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given to the nation’s top all-around senior basketball player.  A year ago, he 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). 

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior guard Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he enters his fourth and final season.  With his game-high 15 points against Presbyterian on Thursday, he moved into sixth-place all-time in scoring at K-State with 1,554 points in 107 career games.  He passed current Washington Wizard Cartier Martin (1,546, 2003-07) and now sits just over 100 points behind Steve Henson (1,655, 1987-90) to crack the school’s Top 5.  He needs just under 50 points to become the first Wildcat since Askia Jones in 1994 to post 1,600 career points.  One of three players (Mike Evans and Rolando Blackman) in school history to score 1,500 points in his first three seasons, Pullen has an outside chance (needs 562 points) to become the school’s all-time scoring champion, which is currently held by Mike Evans with 2,115 points from 1974-78.  A season 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 18 career categories, including 10 in the Top 5 in school history.  He is already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (648), while he paces second in steals (169) and free throws (374), third in 3-point field goals (230), assists (352), consecutive starts (74), fourth in double-digit scoring games (79) and fifth in minutes (3,036) and free throws attempted (488).  He is sixth in consecutive games played (107), seventh in starts (88) and field goals attempted (1,181), eighth in field goals (475) and ninth in 20-point games (26).  Within the next few games, he has an opportunity to surpass Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) for second place in 3-point field goals (needs eight treys), while he needs 11 to take first place from Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  Despite playing 19 minutes Tuesday, he became just the fifth player with 3,000 minutes played.  Pullen is the first player in school history to be named team captain three consecutive years.