K-State Returns Home To Face Texas Southern Friday

Sophomore Martavious Irving scored a career-high 11 points vs. No. 1 Duke.

Nov. 25, 2010

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4/4 Kansas State (4-1, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. Texas Southern (1-4, 0-0 SWAC)

Date: Friday, November 26, 2010  |  Tipoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.  |  Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)  | 
Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com  |  Internet: ESPN3.com
Television: Cox Communications (Ben Boyle, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst; Kevin Shank, producer)  |  Channels: Kansas 22, KSMO-TV 62
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Mike Clark, analyst)  | 
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 91   
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 76-33 (.697) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Texas Southern - Tony Harvey (Carmon ‘88) is 25-45 (.357) in his third season as a head coach and at the school.
Series: First meeting  |  Martin vs. Harvey:  First meeting  |  K-State vs. SWAC:  5-0  |  Last time vs. SWAC:  W, Ark.-Pine Bluff, 90-76, 12/21/09
Last Time Out:  K-State lost to top-ranked Duke, 82-68, on Tuesday in Kansas City, while Texas Southern lost at Oregon, 75-52, also on Tuesday.
Rankings: K-State is No. 4 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, while Texas Southern is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: General admission are available for $20 by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or www.k-statesports.com 

K-State returns home to face Texas Southern Friday
No. 4/4 Kansas State (4-1) returns home to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Friday night, as the Wildcats play host to Southwestern Athletic Conference member Texas Southern at 7 p.m.  It will be the first of two games in a four-day period for the squad, as they attempt to post the most wins in the month of November in school history.  A win against Texas Southern on Friday night then another over Division II foe Emporia State (2-2) on Monday would give the Wildcats six in the month, surpassing the five set in 1998-99 (5-2), 2007-08 (5-2), 2008-09 (5-2) and 2009-10 (5-1).  Last season, the squad posted its highest winning percentage in November with a 5-1 record.  The two games will be the last at home before the team embarks on their first road test on Friday, Dec. 3 at Washington State (3-0) in the last Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series game.

The Wildcats are coming off a second-place finish in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic, as the Wildcats knocked off No. 18/22 Gonzaga, 81-64, in Monday’s second semifinal game before losing to top-ranked Duke, 82-68, in Tuesday’s championship game in Kansas City’s Sprint Center.  The squad opened the Classic with wins over James Madison (75-61) and Presbyterian (76-67) in Manhattan Regional Round action before the Championship Round in Kansas City.  The squad was attempting to win its first regular-season tournament title since beating New Mexico, 72-56, in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23, 2006, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  The Wildcats were once again balanced scoring in the two-game tournament at the Sprint Center with eight players averaging five or more points, led by seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly, who averaged 11.0 points, while all-tournament team selection, junior Jamar Samuels, averaged 10 points. 

The meeting with the Blue Devils was the 17th in school history against the country’s top-ranked team with the squad now holding a 3-14 all-time record.  Last season, the Wildcats went 1-1 against the No. 1 team, knocking off Texas, 71-62, at home on Jan. 19 before losing to Kansas, 72-64, in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship game on March 13 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.  Despite the team’s dismal record vs. No. 1, the three all-time wins have come in the last eight meetings, all since 1990.  It marked the first time that the school has faced the nation’s top-ranked squad during the non-conference season since losing to No. 1 Cincinnati, 75-61, at home on Dec. 14.  Overall, the Wildcats have now faced the No. 1 team five times outside of Big Eight/12 play, including three times in NCAA Tournament play.  It was the first meeting with a top-ranked non-Big Eight/12 team since losing to UCLA in the NCAA National Semifinals in Kansas City, Mo. on March 20, 1964.

K-State shot a solid 46.6 percent from the field against Duke in the title game, but struggled from the 3-point line (3-of-17) and free throw line (11-of-23), while turning the ball over 21 times in its first loss of the season.  The Blue Devils converted those 21 miscues into an opponent-high 25 points to cruise to the 82-68 victory.  The Wildcats once again got impressive effort from their bench, getting 45 of their 68 points from its seven-man bench.  The team has now scored 30 or more points off the bench in four of its first five games.  Senior forward Curtis Kelly erupted for a game-high 19 points on 8-of-11 field goals to go with six rebounds, while junior forward Jamar Samuels added 12 points on 4-of-9 baskets.  Another reserve, sophomore Martavious Irving, chipped in a career-high 11 points on 5-of-8 field goals, including 1-of-1 from beyond the arc.  It marked the first time in more than two years that a starter failed to score in double-digits for the Wildcats.   

The Wildcats are ranked No. 4 in the second edition of both The Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls after starting the season at No. 3 for their highest ever preseason rankings in both polls.  The No. 3 ranking was 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 10 consecutive polls dating back to last season, including a No. 7 ranking prior to the NCAA Tournament.  Overall, the school has appeared in 17 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 224-81 (.736) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 141-37 (.795) as a Top 10 squad and 89-23 (.800) as a Top 5 team.  The Wildcats have played 37 games previously as the nation’s No. 4 team in the country, boasting a 32-5 (.800) mark.  This will be just the third game as the No. 4 team since defeating Iowa State, 69-54, on February 26, 1962.

This will be just the first all-time meeting between K-State and Texas Southern on the hardwood and the first of two this season against a SWAC opponent.  The Wildcats are 5-0 all-time against teams from the SWAC with an average margin of victory in those five wins of 21.8 points.  All five visits have come at home at Bramlage Coliseum.  Those five other games have come mainly against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who the team has played four times, including visits to Bramlage Coliseum in 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2009.
Postgame Notes vs. Duke
• Tuesday’s game was the ninth time the Wildcats have played in Sprint Center... K-State is now 6-3 in games played at the Sprint Center… The Wildcats will play at least four games in the building, including the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic on Dec. 21 and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
• Tuesday’s contest was the 17th time K-State has faced the No. 1 team in the nation... The Wildcats are now 3-17 in those contests with all three of the victories coming in the last nine such meetings, all since 1990... It also was the first meeting between K-State and Duke... The team is now 9-9 all-time against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
• The Wildcats’ starting lineup Tuesday 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 fifth time K-State has used this lineup this season.
• Junior Jamar Samuel was named to the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic All-Tournament Team, along with Jimmy Butler (Marquette), Steven Gray (Gonzaga), Mason Plumlee (Duke), Sonic MVP Kyrie Irving (Duke).
• K-State scored 30+ points off the bench for the third straight game... The Wildcat non-starters contributed 45 points tonight led by Curtis Kelly’s 19... It was his second-highest point total as a Wildcat, following the 22 vs. Loyola-Chicago (11/13/09).
• The Wildcats turned the ball over 21 times resulting in 25 points for Duke... It is one turnover shy of the most turnovers by K-State this season.
• Senior Curtis Kelly scored a season-high 19 points in tonight’s contest... Kelly pulled down six rebounds for the Wildcats as well.
•Junior Jamar Samuels posted a season-high in points with 12... He also added 6 rebounds.
•Sophomore Martavious Irving scored 11 points on the night for a new career-high... He shot 5-of-8 on the night hitting his only 3-point attempt.

The Book on Texas Southern
A Southwestern Athletic Conference member with just 10,000 students, Texas Southern enters Friday night’s contest with a 1-4 record.  The Tigers have played all five games on the road this season and will play their sixth at K-State on Friday before their home opener against North Texas on Dec. 4.  Having already faced Oklahoma on Nov. 18, the team will play four Big 12 teams in all, including future tilts at Iowa State (Dec. 12) and Baylor (Jan. 2).  The Tigers return seven lettermen, including two starters, from a squad that posted a 17-16 overall record in 2009-10, including an 11-7 mark in conference play, good enough for a fourth-place finish.

Texas Southern fought through its first two road games, losing narrowly at Drake (60-46) and Wichita State (79-67) on Nov. 13 and 16 before a blowout loss at the hands of the Sooners (82-52) on Nov. 18.  The team just completed a two-game tour of Oregon, knocking off Pac-10 opponent Oregon State, 66-60, on Nov. 21 to earn their first victory before dropping a 75-52 decision at Oregon on Nov. 23.  In the win over the Beavers, the Tigers connected on 53.2 percent from the field, including 57.1 percent in the second half, to go with a season-high 10 3-point field goals.  The team was led by redshirt freshman guard Lawrence Johnson-Danner, who scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-15 field goals, while senior forward Kevin Galloway dished out a game-best 12 assists.        

The Tigers have three players averaging in double figures led by Johnson-Danner’s 16.4 points per game average.  He is connecting on just over 50 percent of his field goals, including 42.4 percent from 3-point range, and paces the squad in field goals (28) and 3-point field goals (14).  Galloway is second in scoring at 14.2 points per game on 38.6 percent shooting, while is first in both rebounding (5.6 rpg.) and assists (7.3 apg.).  Senior guard Harrison Smith is third in scoring at 12.0 points per game.
Texas Southern is led by third-year head coach Tony Harvey, who has posted a 25-45 (.357) at the school.  He has slowed built the Tiger program, going from 7-25 in his first season in 2008-09 to 17-16 a year ago.  He is familiar with the Big 12, having spent time as an assistant at Missouri.

Series vs. Texas Southern
This will be first meeting between K-State and Texas Southern on the hardwood and just the sixth overall with a school from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).  The Wildcats are 5-0 all-time against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference with an average margin of victory in those five wins of 21.8 points.  All five visits have come at home at Bramlage Coliseum.  Those five other games have come mainly against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who the team has played four times, including visits to Bramlage Coliseum in 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2009.  The other contest came against Alabama State, a 99-81 win at home on Dec. 14, 1994.  This will be the earlier visit by a SWAC school in the series.   

Up Next: Emporia State
K-State will conclude play in November on Monday, as the Wildcats play host to Division II foe Emporia State (2-2) at 7 p.m.  This will be the 20th all-time meeting between the schools, including just the third in the last 60 seasons.  The Wildcats won the last meeting, 82-60, on Nov. 19, 2008.

‘Cats in November
Kansas State is 85-25 (.778) all-time in the month of November, including wins in 34 of its last 42 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.  Wins against Texas Southern and Emporia State to close out the month would give the Wildcats a school-record six wins in November, surpassing the five recorded in 1998-99 (5-2), 2007-08 (5-2), 2008-09 (5-2) and 2009-10 (5-1), plus give them at least five wins in the month for the fourth consecutive season (a first in school history).  A year ago, the team posted their best winning percentage in the November since 2005-06 with a 5-1 record, which included two wins at Bramlage Coliseum and one at the Sprint Center. 

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 an impressive 4-1 start for this season.  This nucleus has scored 211 of the team’s 373 points thus far (57 percent), while posting 95 of 193 rebounds (49 percent), 48 of 76 assists (63 percent) and 15 of 36 steals (42 percent).  The group represents five of the team’s top eight scorers and six of the Top 10, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and three of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Nine of 17 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is first in rebounding (7.2 rpg.) and minutes (30.8 mpg.), second in 3-point field goals (8), assists (2.8 apg.) and steals (1.0 spg.) and third in scoring (10.4 ppg.).  Sophomore Martavious Irving is fifth in scoring at 8.6 points per game, while sophomore Nick Russell (7.6 ppg.) and rookie Will Spradling (6.6 ppg.) rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in scoring.  Sophomore Jordan Henriquez-Roberts is fourth in rebounding at 4.0 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 2,066 points off of 1,830 turnovers in 109 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, 90-63, through five 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 Nov. 16.  The Wildcats pressured Presbyterian into 18 turnovers on Nov. 18, 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 Nov. 18, he moved into sixth-place all-time in scoring at K-State, passing current Washington Wizard Cartier Martin (1,546, 2003-07).  His current total of 1,576 points in 109 career games is less than 100 points behind current UNLV assistant coach Steve Henson (1,655, 1987-90) to crack the school’s Top 5.  He needs less than 25 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 539 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 11 in the Top 5 in school history.  He is already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (664), while he paces second in steals (171) and free throws (377), third in 3-point field goals (235), assists (357), consecutive starts (76) and fourth in double-digit scoring games (80), minutes played (3,092) and free throws attempted (488).  He is fifth in consecutive games played (109) and starts (90), sixth in field goals attempted (1,205), eighth in field goals (482) 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 three treys), while he needs six to take first place from Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  Despite playing 19 minutes against Presbyterian, 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.