5/5 K-State Travels to Unbeaten Washington State Friday

Senior Jacob Pullen set the school-record for career 3-point field goals made vs. Emporia State

Dec. 1, 2010

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5/5 Kansas State (6-1, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. Washington State (5-0, 0-0 Pac-10)

Date: Friday, December 3, 2010  |  Tipoff: 10 p.m. CT
Location: Pullman, Wash.  |  Arena: Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum (11,671)  | 
Live Stats: www.wsucougars.com
Television: FOX Sports Net (Steve Physioc, play-by-play; Don MacLean, analyst; Eric Billigmeier, producer)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)   
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 78-33 (.703) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school.  Washington State - Ken Bone (Seattle Pacific ‘83) is 356-182 (.662) in his 19th season as head coach and 21-15 (.583) in second season at WSU.
Series: K-State, 3-2  |  Martin vs. Bone:  Martin, 1-0  |  K-State vs. Pac-10:  39-28  |  Last time vs. Pac-10:  W, Washington State, 86-69, 12/5/09
Last Time Out:  K-State defeated Emporia State, 85-61, on Monday at home, while Washington State beat Sacramento State, 84-36, on Tuesday.
Rankings: K-State is No. 5 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, while Washington State is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: Available by calling 1.800.GO.COUGS or online at www.wsucougars.com

K-State opens December with road test at Washington State
No. 5/5 Kansas State (6-1) will play its first official road game of the season on Friday, as the Wildcats travel to Pullman, Wash., to compete in the fourth and final Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series with the surging Washington State Cougars (5-0) at Friel Court.  The game will be broadcast nationally on FOX Sports Net at 10 p.m. CT with Steve Physioc (play-by-play) and Don MacLean (analyst) on the call.  The squad is 1-2 all-time in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, losing back-to-back games to Oregon in 2007 and 2008 before defeating Washington State, 86-69, at home last season.  The Big 12 held a 9-3 edge in the Hardwood Series last season and currently leads the overall four-year series, 21-16, after Nebraska’s defeat of USC on Nov. 27.  The Series gets kicked off Thursday with three games on tap and continues through Dec. 21. 

The Wildcats, who have played at least one Pac-10 opponent each of the past nine seasons, are looking to snap a nine-game losing streak to Pac-10 teams on the road.  The last win against at a Pac-10 venue came nearly 30 years ago when the squad knocked off Arizona, 55-53, on Dec. 6, 1980.  Overall, the team is 39-28 all-time against Pac-10 opponents, including an 11-20 mark on the road.  The squad is 6-5 against Pac-10 opponents since 2003-04, but has four losses on the road, including Oregon State (87-82, 3 OTs, 12/6/03), Washington State (58-57, 12/3/05), California (78-48, 11/29/06) and Oregon (75-70, 12/7/08).  The lone win outside of Manhattan in that span came against USC (80-67) in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., in 2008.  This will be the sixth meeting with Washington State in a series that dates to 1941.  The Wildcats hold a slight 3-2 edge with both losses coming in Pullman in 1941 (47-22) and 2005 (58-57).  

K-State enters Friday’s contest having won 11 consecutive games in the month of December, which includes a perfect 7-0 mark a season ago.  The last loss in the month came at Oregon on Dec. 7, 2008.  The 11-game winning streak is the longest in the month since the team won 16 in a row between 1946-48.  Overall, the team is 30-7 in the month since 2004-05, including an impressive 15-3 mark under Frank Martin.  The squad won a school-record 16 away from Manhattan in 2009-10, including a remarkable 7-2 mark in true road contests.

The Wildcats capped the month of November, earning their school-record sixth win and posting their highest winning percentage (.857) with an 85-61 defeat of Division II foe Emporia State on Monday night.  The six November wins surpassed the efforts of the 1998-99 (5-2), 2007-08 (5-2), 2008-09 (5-2) and 2009-10 (5-1) squads, while the team recorded its best winning percentage for the second consecutive season (eclipsing the .833 in 2009-10).  The team has at least five wins in the month for the fourth consecutive season for the first time in school history. 

K-State posted season-highs in a number of categories in the win over ESU, including points (85), field goals (34) field goal percentage (52.6) and steals (10).  It marked the 16th consecutive win over a squad from the MIAA dating back to 1946.  The Wildcats dominated the boards, holding a 44-29 edge on the glass, while out-scoring the Hornets, 46-16, in the paint and 24-7 in fast-break opportunities.  The squad also converted 21 turnovers into 33 points, its highest total off of miscues since posting a school-record 40 against South Dakota on Jan. 3, 2010.  In all, nine players tallied at least one point and 10 at least one rebound.  However, the 19 points off the bench was the lowest so far this season.   

Senior Jacob Pullen led the way for the sixth time in seven games with a season-high 26 points (including 20 in the first half) on 10-of-18 field goals, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.  He also added a team-high five assists and three steals in 33 minutes.  It was his 27th career 20-point game and his 82nd double-digit scoring game, while he topped the 20-point barrier in a half for the fourth time (also performed against Alabama, Texas Tech and BYU last season).  With his 3-pointer at the 4:42 mark of the first half, Pullen became the school-record holder for most 3-point field goals (241) at K-State, surpassing the 20-year-old record of Steve Henson (1987-90).  He now owns the school mark for 3-point field goals made and attempted (676), while he is closing on Henson’s record for steals (needing just 12 to pass his total of 190).  Junior Freddy Asprilla and sophomore Rodney McGruder added a season-best 17 points each, while junior Jamar Samuels posted eight points and six rebounds off the bench.  Asprilla is starting to get a better feel for his role in the past five games, averaging 7.8 points on 65.4 percent (17-of-26) from the field with 6.2 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game, while leading the squad in rebounds in each of the past two games.  McGruder has posted double figures in five games and recorded his highest point total since scoring a career-high 20 points against Boston University at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 19, 2009.  The team leader in rebounds, McGruder also grabbed at least five boards for the fifth time in seven games.             

The Wildcats are ranked No. 5 in the third edition of both The Associated Press and USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls released on Monday 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 11 consecutive polls dating back to last year, including a No. 7 ranking prior to the NCAA Tournament.  Overall, the school has appeared in 18 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 226-81 (.735) as a ranked team all-time in The Associated Press poll (which dates to 1949-50), including 143-37 (.793) as a Top 10 squad and 91-23 (.800) as a Top 5 team.  The Wildcats have played 20 games previously as the nation’s No. 5 team in the country, boasting
a 15-5 (.750) mark.  This will be the second game as the No. 5 team since losing back-to-back games to Kansas and Iowa State in March 2010.

Postgame Notes vs. Emporia State
• Monday’s contest was the 20th time K-State has faced Emporia State... The Wildcats are now 12-8 against the Hornets.
• The starting lineup for the contest consisted of senior guard Jacob Pullen, sophomore guard Nick Russell, sophomore guard Rodney McGruder, junior forward Freddy Asprilla and senior forward Curtis Kelly... This is the first time this season this starting lineup has been used.
•K-State scored 33 points off turnovers tonight... The Wildcats are now 46-5 in the Frank Martin era when scoring 20+ points off opponents’ mistakes... Emporia State was able to only convert 15 K-State turnovers into 6 points.
•The Wildcats are now 50-2 under Frank Martin when scoring 80 or more points... They are also 55-6 when allowing fewer than 70 points.
•K-State tied a season-high with nine blocks on the night... It also ties for seventh-most in school history.
•The following players posted career-highs in points scored: Freddy Asprilla (17) and Nino Williams (4).

The Book on Washington State
Washington State enters Friday night’s game with a perfect 5-0 record on the season with an average margin of victory of just over 26 points per game.  The Cougars, who return nine lettermen and all five starters from a  16-15 squad a year ago, have knocked off Southern (86-47), Idaho (88-71), Portland (84-68), Fresno State (66-55) and Sacramento State (84-36).  The team is coming off an impressive effort versus Sacramento State on Tuesday, in which, they connected on 52.4 percent from the field, including 40 percent from 3-point range, while holding the Hornets to just 31.9 percent from the field, including 6.7 percent from beyond the arc.  

The Cougars, who have topped the 80-point barrier in four of five games, is averaging 81.6 points on 53.4 percent shooting, including 38.1 percent from 3-point range, with 36.4 rebounds, 15.6 assists, 8.4 steals and 4.0 blocks per game.  The team has three players averaging in double figures, including two over 20 points per game, and is led by reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week Klay Thompson.  He is averaging 22.2 points on 53 percent shooting, including 36 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 5.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 33.6 minutes per game.  He scored a team-high 16 points against Sacramento State, while he posted 28 points in the win at Fresno State on Nov. 26.  He is lethal combination with junior Faisal Aden, a transfer from Hillsborough (Fla.) Community College.  Aden is averaging 20.8 points on 51 percent shooting to go with a team-high 15 3-point field goals and 2.6 steals per game.  Sophomore Brock Motum is averaging 10 points on a team-best 84 percent shooting, while junior DeAngelo Casto adds 9.3 points per game on 64 percent shooting to go with a team-best 2.7 blocks.  Junior Marcus Capers paces the squad in rebounding at 7.4 per outing to go with 7.0 points per game.    
Washington State is led by second-year head coach Ken Bone, who has posted a 21-15 (.583) mark at the school.  He has won over 350 games in his his 19-year coaching career, which includes stints at Division II power Seattle Pacific (1990-2002) and Portland State (2005-09).  Bone led Vikings to back-to-back Big Sky Tournament Championships and consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009.  

Series vs. Washington State
This will be sixth meeting between Kansas State and Washington State on the hardwood, but fourth with the school in the last seven years.  The two teams’ first met in 1941 with the Cougars earning a 47-22 win in Pullman, Wash., on Dec. 20, 1941.  The Wildcats got their revenge with a 63-39 win at home on Dec. 22, 1949.  The schools didn’t meet again until 2004 when they played the first of a home-and-home series, a 62-53 win in Manhattan on Nov. 27, 2004 then a 58-57 loss in Pullman on Dec. 3, 2005.  Last season, K-State used a strong first-half effort to post an 86-69 win over WSU on Dec. 5.  The guard tandem of Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente each scored 21 points for the Wildcats with Pullen adding four assists and three steals in 25 minutes.  Cougar guard Klay Thompson had 22 points, while Reggie Moore added 16 points and six assists.  

Up Next: Alcorn State
K-State will return home briefly on Monday, Dec. 6 when the Wildcats play host to Alcorn State (0-5) at 7 p.m. 

Cats in December
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play in the month of December, where the where the Wildcats have won 40 of their last 50 games.  The team is 447-230 (.660) all-time in December with 33 wins in their last 34 games at home dating back to the 2002-03 season, including a current of streak of 21 consecutive home victories dating back to the 2004-05 season.  The squad’s last home loss in the month came to Rutgers (76-66) on Dec. 28, 2004.  The Wildcats, which completed its first perfect December since 1998, have won 11 consecutive games in the month dating back to a loss at Oregon (75-70) on Dec. 7, 2008.  It is the longest winning streak in the month in more than 60 years since the team rattled off 16 in a row from Dec. 14, 1946 to Dec. 2, 1948.  K-State has won four or more games in December in each of the last eight seasons, including seven in 2009-10.  The squad has posted a winning mark in the month 62 times, including eight consecutive seasons.

Bench Points
One of the definite advantage of this year’s Kansas State squad is its depth and versatility.  The Wildcats have played at least 10 players in each of its first seven games, including a high of 14 against both No. 18/22 Gonzaga (11/22), Texas Southern (11/26) and Emporia State (11/29).  The team has used this depth to its advantage, averaging 32.6 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its seven opponents by a margin of 234-82.  The squad has scored 30 or more points from the bench in five of the last six games, including a string of five straight from Nov. 16-26 for the first time under head coach Frank Martin, while it posted 40 or more points of production in back-to-back contests for just the second time under Martin and the first time since 2008-09.  The Wildcats scored 86 points from the bench against Duke (45) and Texas Southern (41), which is the most in consecutive games since they totaled 104 points in games against Idaho State (45, 1/3/09) and Chicago State (59, 1/5/09).  The team has seen nine different players record 23 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including nine coming off the bench from five separate players.  Junior Jamar Samuels leads the way with three double-digit scoring efforts from the bench.           

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 6-1 start for this season.  This nucleus has scored 281 of the team’s 542 points thus far (52 percent), while posting 142 of 282 rebounds (50 percent), 60 of 109 assists (50 percent) and 23 of 55 steals (42 percent).  The group represents six of the team’s Top 10 scorers, while it includes two of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Ten of 23 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is first in rebounding (6.6 rpg.) and minutes (29.6 mpg.), second in scoring (11.3 ppg.), 3-point field goals (13), assists (2.3 apg.) and steals (1.0 spg.).  Sophomore Martavious Irving is fifth in scoring at 7.8 points per game, while sophomore Nick Russell (5.7 ppg.) and freshman Will Spradling (5.6 ppg.) rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in scoring.  Sophomore Jordan Henriquez-Roberts is fourth in rebounding (4.7 rpg.).

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 2,120 points off of 1,868 turnovers in 111 games, an average of 19.1 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 foes, 144-87, through seven games.  In the opener, the squad scored 21 points off 26 James Madison turnovers before converting 18 Presbyterian mistakes into 19 points on Nov. 18.  The Wildcats pressured Emporia State into 21 turnovers on Monday, outscoring the Hornets, 33-6.

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 46-5 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.   

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior guard Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his fourth and final season at Kansas State.  With his game-high 26 points against Emporia State on Monday, he became just the sixth player in school history and the first since Askia Jones in 1993 to eclipse the 1,600-point barrier.  His current total of 1,618 points in 111 career games ranks sixth on the school’s all-time scoring chart and is less than 40 points behind Steve Henson (1,655, 1987-90) for fifth and less than 70 points behind Bob Boozer (1,685, 1956-59) for fourth place.  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 497 points) to become the school’s all-time scoring champion, which is currently held by Mike Evans with 2,115 points from 1974-78.  He trails Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94) by 216 points for third and Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) by 226 points for second place.  A season ago, Pullen 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.  Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goal attempted (676), he became the leader in 3-point field goals in Monday’s win over Emporia State with four treys, breaking his second-place tie with Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) and passing former leader Steve Henson (240, 1987-90) with 241.  His next record could come in steals, where his 178 career thefts trail Henson (190) by 12.  He is also second in free throws (381), third in assists (369) and consecutive starts (78), fourth in double-digit scoring games (82), minutes played (3,155) and free throws attempted (499) and fifth in consecutive games played (111).   In addition to his records, Pullen is the first player in school history to be named team captain three consecutive years.