K-State hosts Cleveland State Tuesday

Game 8

Cleveland State (5-4) at Kansas State (4-3)

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006

Bramlage Coliseum (13,340) in Manhattan, Kan.


Game Information:

Tipoff: 7:07 p.m. Central

Series: First Meeting (3-5 vs. Horizon League)

TV: Fox Sports Midwest
(Available only in Kansas City and state of Kansas)

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 648, Dish Network 449

Talent: Ben Boyle (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (Analyst)

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

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Matt Walters (Analyst)


Kansas State returns home to face Cleveland State Tuesday

Kansas State (4-3) returns home on Tuesday after a pair of difficult road trips to California and Colorado State last week, as the Wildcats host Cleveland State (5-4, 0-1 Horizon League) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 7:07 p.m.  This is the first game of a home-and-home series inked between the two programs.  The Wildcats are scheduled to participate in the second edition of the John McLendon Scholarship Series at the Wolstein Center on the CSU campus in December 2007. 


The game will be the first of 10 games (including the next six in a row) televised throughout the state and the Kansas City area by Fox Sports Midwest with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) calling the action.  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 Matt Walters (color) on the call. 


K-State has won 22 of its last 29 games against non-conference opponents, including a 20-1 (.952) mark at home.  The Wildcats have won 14 consecutive games against non-league foes at home dating back to an 81-63 victory over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2004.


This will be the first meeting between Kansas State and Cleveland State in their respective histories.  The Wildcats are 3-5 all-time against teams from the Horizon League and 7-7 against squads from the state of Ohio.  Head coach Bob Huggins is 5-5 all-time against CSU.


Rough Road Trip

K-State will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak on Tuesday after dropping games on the road to California and Colorado State last week. 


Making their first trip to the Golden State since 1998 and the first to the UC Berkeley campus in nearly 50 years, the Wildcats were again hampered by poor shooting from the field in a 78-48 loss to the Golden Bears.  The 48 points were the fewest scored this season and the fewest since scoring 42 in a loss to Nebraska on Jan. 11, 2006.  Kansas State shot just 34.5 percent from the field, which marked the fourth time this year that the team has shot 35 percent or less in a contest.  The Wildcats were led by seniors Cartier Martin and Lance Harris, who posted 16 and 14 points, respectively, while freshman Jason Bennett tied the school-record for blocked shots with six against the Golden Bears.  The mark tied two others (Tony Kitt against Kansas on March 6, 1999 and Dramane Diarra against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005).


K-State nearly rallied from a 15-point deficit to Colorado State in the second half, but the Wildcats couldn’t take advantage of a foul on a 3-pointer with .1 remaining on the clock in an 84-83 setback.  Down 65-53 with 8:29 left, the team scored 29 of the next 49 points capped by junior Blake Young’s 3-pointer with two seconds left to cut the lead to 84-82.  After a timeout, CSU threw the ball out of bounds with 1.2 seconds left to give the Wildcats’ one last chance.  Cartier Martin received the pass and was fouled attempting a 3-pointer from the left corner.   However, he could only make 1-of-3 attempts as the Rams held on for the one-point win.  Martin led the squad with 21 points (all in the second half) after playing just seven minutes in the first half.


Noting the Colorado State game

*Kansas State still leads the all-time series against Colorado State, 7-5, after the 84-83 loss to Colorado State on Saturday... The Wildcats, which made their first trip to the CSU campus since dropping back-to-back games on Dec. 20 and 21, 1945, remain winless in five trips to Fort Collins.


*K-State got back on track offensively after a rough trip to California, but suffered on defense as it gave up a season-high 84 points on a season-best 52.9 percent shooting by Colorado State... The Wildcats shot 47.8 percent -- their second-highest percentage of the season -- to post 80 or more points for just the second time this season... The team also set a season-high with 11 3-point field goals against the Rams, which is the highest in a game since the Wildcats connected on 13 in an overtime loss at Texas on Feb. 12, 2005... The squad also doubled their scoring output from the first half (27 points on 44.4 percent shooting) with a near season-high 56 points on 50.0 percent shooting in the second half.


*Senior forward Cartier Martin led the Wildcats in scoring for the third time this season and 24th time in his career with 21 points (all in the second half) on 8-of-18 field goals... Junior Blake Young collected 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while senior Serge Afeli had a career-high 14 points.


*Junior Clent Stewart’s 3-point field goal with 12:08 left in the first half extended the Wildcats’ streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 288.


Power Serge

Senior forward Serge Afeli flashed his potential in Saturday’s loss at Colorado State, as the Abidjan, Ivory Coast native registered career-highs in a three categories, including points (14), field goals (7) and minutes (21), and season-highs in nearly every category.  With freshman Luis Colon inactive and rookie Jason Bennett struggling offensively, Afeli was a big reason the Wildcats were able to post 36 points in the paint against a squad with three seven-footers and eight who are six-foot-seven or taller.  He came off the bench with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed a season-high seven rebounds to go with one assist, one block and one steal in 21 minutes.  The 14 points were a huge effort for Afeli, who had scored just four points on two field goals in the team’s first six games and just 11 points in 16 games all of last season.  His minutes were even more impressive as they represented nearly a third of his season total (21 of 64) and nearly 20 percent of his total (21 of 120) from all of last season. 


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 a loss at California on Nov. 29.  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 2.43 blocks per game average ties him for second 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 seven games, Kansas State is averaging 5.00 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 are the most by a Wildcat team since blocking nine shots against Longwood on Dec. 5, 2005.   The Wildcats, whose block average is fourth in the Big 12, have recorded three or more blocks in six of their seven games, including six or more four times.


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 five games.  He has averaged 17.8 points in that span on 45.2 percent shooting (33-of-73), including 42.3 percent from 3-point range, to bring his season average to a team-best 14.3 points.  Martin has scored in double figures in each of the last five games, including a career-high 28 points on a career-best 10-of-19 field goals against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18 that began the streak.  He continued his double-digit scoring in each of the last four games, including a 21-point second-half scoring performance against Colorado State on Dec. 2.  It marked the 16th time in his career he has posted 20 or more points, including the first since the win over Tennessee Tech.  Against Coppin State on Nov. 25, 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 52 games in his career.     


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 since Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season. 


Martin enters Tuesday’s game against Cleveland State with 1,047 career points, which now ranks 15th in school history, and needs 17 points to top Lon Kruger (1,063; 1971-74) for 14th place.  He needs 138 to pass Jack Parr (1,184; 1955-58) and 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 77 consecutive games dating back to the Kansas game on Jan. 28, 2004.  He has also started in 62 straight contests dating back to the Washington State game on Nov. 27, 2004.  


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 12.0 points on 44.4 percent shooting, including 39.5 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a career-best 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.6 steals per game.  He has scored in double figures in four of seven contests, including 20-point efforts against William & Mary on Nov. 11 and Coppin State on Nov. 25.  The most improved area for Harris has been rebounding, where he is third on the squad with a 5.1 per game average.  He already has 36 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 3-point field goals in four of seven 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 15 in three Big 12 categories, including seventh in 3-point field goals made (2.14), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage (39.5) and 15th in defensive rebounds (4.14)


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 10.3 points, a team-best 4.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in a team-high 32.0 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 five of seven 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 Cleveland State

Cleveland State enters Tuesday’s game with 5-4 record after seeing their four-game winning streak end in a 70-45 loss at No. 19 Butler on Saturday night.  The Vikings were led by sophomore J’Nathan Bullock and junior Kevin Francis, who each chipped in 11 points in the loss.  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 before losing at nationally-ranked Butler


Cleveland State is averaging 68.4 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting with 35.7 rebounds, 12.1 assists and 7.6 steals.  The Vikings, led by forward J’Nathan Bullock, who last season became just the fifth freshman in school history to pace the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game.  Bullock is the lone Viking to average double digits at 14.8 points, while he adds a team-best 6.3 rebounds.  He is one of six players to average six or more points.  The team has four seniors amongst its starting five with guards Victor Morris and Raheem Morris averaging 9.7 and 9.1 points per game, respectively.


Head coach Gary Waters, who is a former head coach at Kent State and Rutgers (and like Huggins got his first Division I coaching job in Mid-American Conference), has a 176-139 record in his 11th season as a head coach, including a 5-4 mark in his first year at Cleveland State. 


Series Versus Cleveland State

Tuesday’s match-up is the first all-time meeting between Kansas State and Cleveland State.  The Wildcats are 3-5 all-time against teams from the Horizon League, including a 2-4 mark against Loyola-Chicago and UW-Green Bay.  The team is also 7-7 all-time against squads from the state of Ohio.   


Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 4-3 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 (17.57) and rebound offense (44.6), second in defensive rebounds (27.00) and rebounding margin (+8.1) and fourth in blocked shots (5.00).  The squad is ninth in field goal percentage defense (40.4) and 10th in scoring defense (68.1).  The team has held five of its first seven opponents to 45 percent or less shooting, while grabbing an average of 44.6 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 29 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 20-1 (.954) 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 2-15 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 fifth of eight road trips during non-conference play with its journey to North Dakota State on Saturday, Dec. 9.  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) 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: North Dakota State (5-2)

Kansas State hits the road for the fifth time this season on Saturday, as the Wildcats venture to North Dakota for the first time in school history with a match-up against upstart North Dakota State at the Bison Sports Center in Fargo.  Ranked 22nd-nationally in the first Mid-Major Top 25 poll of the season by CollegeInsider.com, the Bison have won four games in a row, including wins over NCAA Tournament participants Princeton and Marquette.  NDSU won the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic and in the process captured its biggest win in their brief stint at the Division I level with a 64-60 victory over No. 8/9 Marquette Saturday.  The Bison shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent in the second half, and held a 37-36 advantage on the boards over the bigger Golden Eagles.  Sophomore guard Mike Nelson was named the tournament’s most valuable player after collecting 19 points in 37 minutes, while senior forward Andre Smith was named to all-tournament team after scoring a game-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting. 

North Dakota
is averaging 69.6 points on 47.8 percent shooting with 37.7 rebounds and have four players averaging in double figures.  The team is led by Mike Nelson and Andre Smith, who are both averaging 17.4 points per game.  Nelson also paces the squad in field goal percentage (52.9) and 3-point field goals (15), while Smith is a beast on the boards with an average of 9.9 per contest.