K-State continues road trip at CSU Saturday

Game 7

Kansas State (4-2) at Colorado State (4-2)

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006

Moby Arena (8,745) in Fort Collins, Colo.  


Game Information:

Tipoff: 4:05 p.m. Central

Series: K-State leads 7-4 (0-4 all-time in Fort Collins)

TV: the mnt. (Mountain West Sports Network) 

Talent: Dave Benz (Play-by-Play) and Dave Bollwinkel (Analyst)

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

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


Kansas State continue road trip at Colorado State Saturday

Kansas State (4-2) continues its weeklong road trip on Saturday, as the Wildcats travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Mountain West foe Colorado State (4-2) at Moby Arena at 4:05 p.m. Central.  It will mark the school’s first visit to the Colorado State campus in over 60 years.

The contest will be broadcast on the newly-formed Mountain West Sports Network (the mnt.) with Dave Benz (play-by-play) and Dave Bollwinkel (analyst) calling the action.  The network is the first and only one completely dedicated to covering men’s and women’s sports in the Mountain West Conference.                          

The CSU game will be the second Wildcat game broadcast on the network after the Nov. 21 tilt at New Mexico was also shown to viewers in the region.  To view a list of participating cable network providers, log-on to http://themtn.cstv.com/how/.  The audio broadcast of the game can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (or via the internet at http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call. 

K-State has won 22 of its last 28 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 20-1 (.952) mark at home. 
However, the Wildcats have posted just a 2-14 mark in non-conference road games dating back to the 2000-01 season. 

State and Colorado State will be meeting for the 12th time in their respective histories and for the second straight season.  The Wildcats earned a 71-67 win over the Rams on Dec. 7, 2005.  K-State is winless in four previous trips to Fort Collins

Noting the California Game

*Kansas State dropped to 5-1 all-time against California, including 2-1 in games played in Berkeley, in the 78-48 loss to the Golden Bears on Wednesday... It marked the Wildcats’ first visit to the Golden State since the 1998-99 season and the first on the UC Berkeley campus since 1958.

*The 48 points were the fewest points scored by the team this season and the fewest since the Wildcats scored 42 in a loss to Nebraska on Jan. 11, 2006... The team shot just 34.5 percent from the field, which marked the fourth time this season that the team has shot 35 percent or less in a contest.

*Freshman center Jason Bennett tied the school record for blocks in a single-game with six against the Golden Bears... The mark tied two other Wildcats (Tony Kitt against Kansas on March 6, 1999 and Dramane Diarra against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005) for the most in school history.

*Senior forward Cartier Martin led the Wildcats in scoring for the second time this season and 23rd time in his career with 16 points on 7-of-14 field goals... Senior guard Lance Harris also chipped in 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

*Harris’ 3-point field goal just under three minutes into the game extended the Wildcats’ streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 287... It also marked the fourth time this season, including the third straight game, the team has opened its scoring with a 3-point field goal.

Block Party

At no surprise, freshman center Jason Bennett, the tallest player in school history at 7-foot-3, has made an immediate impact on the defensive end of the court with 17 blocked shots this season, including a season record-tying six in Wednesday’s loss at California.  Bennett tied the mark set first by Tony Kitt against Kansas on March 6, 1999 and then accomplished by Dramane Diarra against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005.  With 17 blocks on the year, he is just eight away from breaking the freshman mark for blocks in a season (24 by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96) and 43 away from eclipsing the school record for blocks in a season (59 by Gerald Eaker in 1995-96).  Bennett’s 2.83 blocks per game average ranks first in Big 12.  His four blocks against William & Mary in the opener were the most by a Wildcat since Dramane Diarra had a school-tying six blocked shots against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005.  The total was also the most blocks by a true freshman since Travis Canby registered four against Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002.

Through six games, Kansas State is averaging 5.7 blocked shots per game, including an eight-block performance in the season opening win over William & Mary on Nov. 11. The eight blocks against the Tribe is the most by a Wildcat team since blocking nine shots against Longwood on Dec. 5, 2005.   The Wildcats, who’s block average is third in the Big 12, have recorded three or more blocks in each of their six games, including six or more four times. 


Martin Joins 1,000-Point Club

Senior forward Cartier Martin joined an elite fraternity at Kansas State in the win over Coppin State on Nov. 25, 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 from the left corner to beat the shot clock.  It was the first of 11 points scored by the senior in the last seven minutes of the game.  Martin became the first Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point since ince Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season. 

Martin enters Saturday’s game against Colorado State with 1,026 career points, which ranks 17th in school history, and needs six points to top Curtis Redding (1,030; 1977-78) for 16th place.  He needs just 20 points to jump into the school’s top-15 and 159 to crack the top-10.  A second team All-Big 12 performer from numerous outlets last season, Martin became the third player since 1990-91 to top 500 points in a single-season, while his 18.0 scoring average was the highest by a Wildcat since Askia Jones averaged 22.1 points in 1993-94.  In addition to his impressive scoring touch, Martin has been incredibly durable for the Wildcats, fighting through countless injuries to play in 75 consecutive games dating back to the Kansas game on Jan. 28, 2004.  He has also started in 60 straight contests dating back to the Washington State game on Nov. 27, 2004.

Martin Starting to Heat Up

After averaging just 5.5 points on 33.3 percent shooting in the first two games, senior forward Cartier Martin has seemed to bust out of his shooting slump in the last four games.  He has averaged 17.0 points in that span on 45.5 percent shooting (25-of-55), including 36.8 percent from 3-point range, to bring his season average to 12.6 points.  The Big 12 leader in free throw shooting last season at 84.1 percent, Martin has also performed better from the free throw line, connecting on 11-of-13 shots after connecting on just 1-of-2 in the first two contests. 

Martin began the streak by collecting a career-high 28 points on a career-best 10-of-19 field goals against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18.  It marked the 16th time in his career he has scored 20 or more points, including the first time since scoring 26 against Oklahoma on Feb. 25, 2006.  He has continued his double-digit scoring in games against New Mexico on Nov. 21 and Coppin State on Nov. 25.  Against CSU, Martin became the 19th player and the first in almost 15 years to score 1,000 career points.  After struggling the first 33 minutes of the game, he caught fire in the last seven minutes against the Eagles to score 11 points on 3-of-3 field goals (all 3-pointers).  In all, Martin has scored in double figures in 50 games in his career.   

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 a team-best 13.3 points on 46.9 percent shooting, including 42.9 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a career-best 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.7 steals per game.  He has scored in double figures in four of six contests, including 20-point efforts against William & Mary on Nov. 11 and Coppin State on Nov. 25.  The area Harris has improved the most is rebounding, where he is second on the squad with a 5.5 per game average.  He already has 33 boards, including seven offensive, after tallying 68 (with just four offensive) in 28 games last season. 

Harris broke out of a two-game scoring slump against Coppin State on Nov. 25 by posting a season-high and tying his career-high with 26 points on 10-of-15 field goals, including 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.  He has connected on three or more three-point field goals in four of six games.  Harris registered his first career double-double against Rutgers with 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds just four days after opening the season with a team-high 22-point effort against William & Mary.  He ranks among the top 10 in five Big 12 categories, including ninth in both 3-point field goals made (2.40) and defensive rebounds (4.80), 13th in field goal percentage (45.5), 17th in rebounding and 19th in scoring.

Young A Valuable Addition

Junior Blake Young has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats this season since transferring from Daytona Beach Community College, where he was an honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06.  The Orlando, Fla., native is averaging 9.5 points, a team-best 4.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals in a team-high 31.7 minutes per game this season.  After ranking third in NJCAA in scoring at 23.2 points as a sophomore at Daytona Beach, Young displayed his offensive potential with a big scoring effort against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 21 with a season-high 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, to go with four assists, two steals and one block.   He has paced the Wildcats in assists in four of six games this season, including dishing at least four assists in all but two contests.  Young posted a season-high six assists against Rutgers on Nov. 15. 


The Book on Colorado State

Colorado State enters Saturday’s game with a 4-2 record after posting an 81-73 win over Denver on Wednesday night.  The Rams have won three in a row since dropping back-to-back games at the Preseason NIT to Baylor (87-82 2OTs) and Rice (70-61).  The team began the season with a 76-67 win over Colorado State-Pueblo then followed the two losses at the Preseason NIT with victories over Montana State-Northern (87-82), Boise State (67-50) and Denver (81-73).  In the win over the Pioneers on Wednesday, the Rams overcame an eight-point halftime deficit by shooting 57.7 percent in the second half to post the eight-point victory.  Preseason All-American candidate and junior forward Jason Smith led the squad with 24 points and nine rebounds, while junior transfers Tim Denson and Tyler Smith added 18 and 14 points, respectively.


Colorado State is averaging 73.5 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting with 36.8 rebounds, 14.7 assists and 8.0 steals.  The Rams, which features three players over seven feet tall and eight who are six-foot-seven or taller, are led by junior Jason Smith, who paces the squad in scoring (17.8 ppg.), rebounding (10.2 rpg.) and blocks (2.0 bpg.).  He is one of six players averaging six or more points.  Junior guard Tyler Smith is the lone other player averaging in double figures at 13.0 points per game to go with a team-best 2.2 steals.  Junior guard Tim Denson averages 8.7 points and 1.3 rebounds, while junior center Stuart Creason adds 7.8 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Rams.   

Head coach Dale Layer, who was hired to be CSU’s head coach by current K-State athletic director Tim Weiser, has a 257-182 in his 16th season as a head coach, including a 90-95 mark at Colorado State

Series Versus Colorado State

Saturday’s match-up is the 12th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Colorado State with the Wildcats holding a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1937.  The schools met nine times in a nine-year span from 1937 to 1945 and again in 1960 before the last meeting in 2005.  Neither team has been able to win on the road with K-State winning all seven meetings in Manhattan, including last year’s 71-67 victory on Dec. 7, 2005, while CSU has claimed all four games in Fort Collins.  This will be the first meeting on the Colorado State campus in more than 60 years since the Rams posted back-to-back wins on Dec. 20 (52-43) and 21 (60-37), 1945.   The Wildcats have also dropped games in Fort Collins to the Rams on Dec. 30, 1937 (50-40) and Dec. 16, 1939 (52-44).  This year’s meeting ends a two-year, home-and-home contract signed between the two schools in 2005. 

Last season, K-State took advantage of a strong performance from the free throw line (27-of-32) to rally from a one-point deficit and post a 71-67 win in Manhattan.  The Wildcats, who shot just 35.7 percent for the game, got a big performance from forward David Hoskins, who posted a then career-high 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while forward Cartier Martin and guard Lance Harris added 18 and 14 points, respectively.  Kansas State is 30-19 all-time against teams from the Mountain West Conference, including a 6-13 mark on the road.  This will be head coach Bob Huggins’ first meeting with Colorado State in his career and he holds an 11-1 mark against MWC schools (1-0 BYU; 0-1 New Mexico; 3-0 TCU; 4-0 UNLV and 3-0 Wyoming). 

Familiar Foe

There are a number of connections between the two opponents.  Kansas State athletic director Tim Weiser spent five years as the athletic director at Colorado State (1997-2001) before accepting the K-State position on July 1, 2001.  While at CSU, Weiser hired Dale Layer as the Rams’ coach on April 11, 2000 after he spent two seasons as assistant under Ritchie McKay (who defeated the Wildcats’ 78-54 on Nov. 21 in his current position at New Mexico).  First-year Colorado State athletic director Paul Kowalczyk spent time working at Kansas State, where he served as assistant athletics director for business operations from 1988 to 1991.  CSU faculty athletics representative Jackie Hartman in a 1980 graduate of K-State and the daughter of legendary Wildcat coach Jack Hartman, who is the school’s all-time winningest coach with 295 victories to go with seven NCAA Tournaments and four Big Eight crowns.  Two other K-State staffers also spent time at CSU, including associate athletic director Casey Scott and the director of sportscasting Wyatt Thompson.  Scott served previously as the associate athletic director for external operations at CSU, while Thompson was the school’s play-by-play voice for five years. 

Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 4-1 record to start the season.  The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in five defensive categories in the Big 12, including first in offensive rebounds (17.5) and rebound offense (46.0), second in defensive rebounds (28.5), third in blocked shots (5.67) and fourth in rebounding margin (+8.2).  The squad is seventh in field goal percentage defense (38.6) and scoring defense (65.6).  The team has held five of its first six opponents to 45 percent or less shooting, while grabbing an average of 46.0 rebounds.

In the win over Rutgers, the Wildcats were even more impressive on defense.  In addition to holding its second straight opponent to 60 points or less and to below 40 percent shooting from the field, the team held the Scarlet Knight to just 41 points on just nine field goals and 19.1 percent shooting.  The nine field goals allowed are the fewest since the Wildcats allowed Washburn a school-record low seven in a 23-15 K-State win on Dec. 6, 1940, while the 41 points are the fewest since Arkansas-Pine Bluff managed just 39 on Dec. 4, 2002.  It was the fewest points allowed an opponent on their own floor since the introduction of the shot clock in 1986-87 and fewest since a 41-39 win over Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., on March 6, 1984.     

Get These Guys Some Windex

Kansas State posted 50 or more rebounds in back-to-back games against William & Mary and Rutgers.  The 59 rebounds in the opener against the Tribe 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 prior to this season was a 54-board effort against Savannah State on Jan. 1, 2004.  The Wildcats also tallied 32 offensive rebounds against the Tribe, which is thought to be the most in school history.

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 22 of its last 28 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 19-1 (.950) mark at home.  The one setback at home came in a 76-66 loss to Rutgers at Bramlage Coliseum on Dec. 28, 2004, which the Wildcats’ avenged on Nov. 15 in a 55-41 victory in Piscataway, N.J.   


However, Kansas State has posted just a 2-14 mark in non-conference road games dating back to the 2000-01 season. The Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak in the 55-41 win over Rutgers on Nov. 15.  It was the program’s first non-conference road victory since a 79-66 win over Wichita State on Dec. 14, 2002 and the first in a true’ (on an opponent’s home court) road opener since a 71-50 win over UMKC on Dec. 3, 1997. 


Road More Traveled

Kansas State will be making the fourth of eight road trips during non-conference play with its journey to Colorado State on Saturday, Dec. 2.  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.  The first road game against Rutgers on Nov. 15 was 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 season opener against William & Mary on Nov. 11 was the earliest home opener in school history and the second-earliest start to a season since the 1989 Great Alaska Shootout. 


Finally Some Offense

After using strong defense and an efficient offense to capture wins in the first two games, Kansas State broke out their offensive slump with a 101-79 win over Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18.  The Wildcats eclipsed the 100-point barrier for the first time in nearly four seasons and for the first time since scoring 102 points in a win over Texas-Pan American (102-68) on Dec. 11, 2002.  The team shot a season-best 50.8 percent from the field, including 57.7 percent in the second half, and registered season-highs in field goals (30), 3-point field goals (9) and assists (22).  Prior to the game, the Wildcats had averaged just 62.5 points on 30.9 percent shooting (43-of-139), including 23.5 percent (12-of-51) from 3-point range.


Several individuals finally got on track offensively in the big win, as three players - Cartier Martin, David Hoskins and Blake Young -- all set career-highs and became the first Wildcat trio to score 20 or more points in the same contest in nearly 15 years.  Martin posted a career-best 28 points for his 16th 20-point scoring effort in his career, while setting new career-highs in both makes (10) and attempts (19).  Hoskins tallied a career-high 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with a 10-of-13 effort from the free throw and Young earned his first career 20-point effort with 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including a 4-of-6 effort from beyond the arc.  The last three players to score 20 or more points in the same game were Jean Derouillere (23), Jeff Wires (21) and Maurice Brittain (20) in a 95-70 win over Oklahoma at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 5, 1991.


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, while the previous high for season tickets in Bramlage Coliseum was 11,700 during the inaugural 1988-89 season.  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 sold out for the Washburn exhibition game and the 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.   



Up Next: Cleveland State (5-3)

Kansas State returns home to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 5, as the Wildcats host Cleveland State (5-3) in the first of six straight broadcast by FSN Midwest.  The Vikings recorded their third straight victory on Wednesday with a 66-59 win over Kent State at home.  The team got double-digit scoring from Carlos English, Raheem Moss and Victor Morris, while J’Nathan Bullock grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the seven-point victory.  CSU began the season with a 79-74 loss to Final Four participant George Mason before posting wins over Notre Dame College and Miami (Fla.).  After setbacks on the road at Evansville and Buffalo, the team has reeled off wins over John Carroll, Delaware and Kent State going into Saturday’s tussle with nationally-ranked Butler.  The Vikings are averaging 71.4 points on 42.9 percent shooting with 36.4 rebounds and have four players averaging in double figures.  CSU is led by sophomore forward Bullock, who is averaging team-best in both scoring (15.3 ppg.) and rebounding (6.6 rpg.).  Cleveland State is led by first-year head coach Gary Waters, who previously coached five seasons at Kent State (1996-2001) and Rutgers (2001-06).