K-State Travels to Face Oregon Sunday

Game Information

Kansas State (5-2) at Oregon (3-4)
Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series

Date: Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tipoff: 7:32 p.m. CT (5:32 p.m. PT)

Location: Eugene, Ore.

Arena: McArthur Court (1927)

Capacity: 9,087

Series: K-State leads 2-1 (Won 92-58 in Eugene on 12/21/65)

Television: FOX Sports Net (also available in HD)

Ted Robinson (play-by-play)

Marques Johnson (analyst)

Micah King (producer)

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 671, Dish Network 418

Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 147

Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)

Stan Weber (analyst)

Tickets: Single-game tickets are available for $34 (reserved) by calling 1.800.932.3668 or online at www.goducks.com. 


Kansas State Wildcats

Record: 5-2 (0-0 Big 12)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--

Coach: Frank Martin

Alma Mater: Florida International, 93

Career Record: 26-14/1

School Record: 26-14/1

vs. Oregon: 0-1

07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)

Last game: Nov. 29, 2008

Lost to Iowa, 65-63

SID: Tom Gilbert

Website: www.k-statesports.com


Oregon Ducks

Record: 3-4 (0-0 Pac-10)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--

Coach: Ernie Kent

Alma Mater: Oregon, 77

Career Record: 304-218/18

School Record: 214-138/12

vs. Kansas State: 1-0

07-08 Record: 18-14 (9-9 Pac-10)

Last game: Dec. 3, 2008

Lost at Utah, 95-81

SID: Chris Geraghty

Website: www.goducks.com


Game Preview

Kansas State continues a tough non-conference stretch this weekend, as the Wildcats travel to Eugene, Ore., to face Oregon (3-4) on Sunday at historic McArthur Court at 7:32 p.m. CT as apart of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  This will be the second consecutive meeting for the schools in the Hardwood Series after the Ducks earned an 80-77 win in overtime last season in Manhattan, Kan.  This will be the first meeting between the schools in Eugene, Ore., in more than 40 years since the Wildcats posted a 92-58 win on Dec. 21, 1965.

K-State has had over a week off after dropping a pair of heartbreakers at the Las Vegas Invitational, falling to eventual champion Kentucky, 74-72, in the second semifinal and then to Iowa, 65-63, in the third-place game.  The team rallied from double-digit deficits in both games, including a 17-point second-half deficit to the Wildcats, but could not complete the comeback.  Sophomore Jacob Pullen led the squad in both games with consecutive 20-point games after scoring a career-high 26 points against Oakland on Nov. 25.  

The contest with Oregon will be televised nationally on FOX Sports Net with Ted Robinson (play-by-play) and Marques Johnson (analyst) calling the action.  Fans locally will be able to watch the game on FOX Sports Kansas City as apart of FSN’s Pac-10 package as well as on cable and satellite (DirecTV 671, Dish 418).  It will also be available in HD.  For information on HD channel information, fans can click here: http://msn.foxsports.com/id/7399210.  It will be the second of eight appearances on national television for the Wildcats, including one on FOX Sports Net, and one of 26 regular-season televised contests.  

Fans will also be able to listen to the audio broadcast on the 29-station K-State Sports Network (Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call.


Ticket Information

Single-game tickets are available for $34 (reserved) by calling the Oregon Ticket Office at (800) 932.3668 and www.goducks.com.

Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series

The Kansas State-Oregon game will be among 12 contests between the two conferences in the second annual Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  Last season, the Big 12 held an 11-8 overall advantage in contests between the two leagues with the Pac-10 holding a 7-5 edge in the official Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. 

After Thursday’s games, the conferences are tied at 2-all in the standings with the home teams winning each of the games.  Overall in early match-ups, the Big 12 has a 6-2 record versus the Pac-10.  There is one game set for Friday and three on Saturday and Sunday.


Cats in December

Kansas State is 437-231 (.654) all-time in the month of December, including wins in 29 of its last 38 games.  The Wildcats have won 24 of their last 25 games at home in December dating back to the 2002-03 season, including their current 12-game homecourt winning streak.  The team’s last loss at home in the month came to Rutgers, 76-66, on Dec. 28, 2004.  It was the first December home loss since 2001.

This will be the first true’ December road game since the Wildcats posted an 83-81 win over North Dakota State on Dec. 9, 2006. The squad is 3-11 in road contests in the month since 2000, including 0-2 against Pac-10 teams.  The losses came in triple-overtime to Oregon State, 87-82, on Dec. 6, 2003 and 58-57 to Washington State on Dec. 3, 2005.  The last road win against a Pac-10 foe came on Dec. 6, 1980, a 55-53 victory over Arizona at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz., a streak of eight consecutive losses.   

Last season, K-State posted its sixth consecutive winning December dating back to the 2002-03 season.  The squad went 4-2 in the month  in 2007-08, defeating California (82-75), Florida A&M (87-60), Winston-Salem State (90-48) and Wagner (101-59) at home and losing to Notre Dame (68-59) and Xavier (103-77) at neutral sites.  

Cats Tie for Most November Wins

Kansas State finished the month of November with a 5-2 record, which tied the 1998-99 (5-2) and 2007-08 (5-2) squads for the most in the month in school history.  In all, the Wildcats are 76-23 (.768) in the month, including wins in 25 of its last 31 games.  The team has won 21 of its last 22 games at home in November dating back to the 2003-04 season.  The team saw its 17-game homecourt winning streak in the month end in an 80-77 overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2008.  It was the first November home loss since 2002.

Rally Cats

Kansas State rallied from a pair of double-digit deficits in the second half to both Kentucky and Iowa at the Las Vegas Invitational last week.  Although, the Wildcats didn’t complete the comeback in either game, they showed a resiliency to overcome a deficit.

K-State was down 17 points (54-37) to Kentucky with 12:44 left in the second half on Nov. 28 and used a 22-7 run to cut the advantage to 61-59 with 5:31 remaining.  After falling back down by eight with 3:34 left, the Wildcats once again the cut the lead to two at 71-69 with a 10-4 run with just 19 seconds remaining.  However, it wasn’t enough, as Kentucky hit three of four free throws for the 74-72 win. 

The Wildcats trailed Iowa for much of the game, including a 13-point lead with 16:53 left in the second half.  K-State used a 24-10 run over the next 11 minutes to take its first lead at 53-52 on a lay-up by Jamar Samuels with 5:12 remaining.  The team traded the lead for the rest of the game, including six ties, until Iowa’s Cyrus Tate hit a running lay-up at the buzzer for the two-point win.

Explosive Offense

Kansas State has shown the ability to score early and often, as the Wildcats have totaled 553 points in their first seven games, average of nearly 80 points per game.  The team has scored 70 or more points in five of seven games, including three consecutive contests to start the year.  The 96 points scored against Florida A&M on Nov. 14 tied three other teams for the fifth-most in an opener and most since 1991.

The 553 points rank as the third-most through seven games in the last 15 years at Kansas State, trailing just the 1997-98 (600) and 2007-08 (556) squads.  The team has scored 80 or more points in four of the their first seven games for just the sixth time in its history, including the 1956-57, 1976-77, 1981-82, 1991-92 and 1997-98 seasons.  It also marked the first time the squad scored 80 or more points in three consecutive games since last season.

Since Frank Martin’s arrival in 2007, K-State has shown the ability to score points, totaling two of the most prolific scoring teams in school history.  Last year, the Wildcats set the school mark with 2,574 points, while also posting the second-most field goals attempted (2067) and the third-most field goals (916) and 3-point field goals made (210) as well as the third-highest scoring average (78.0).  The 2,467 points in 2006-07 rank as the fourth-most in school history.

Diverse Offense

Unlike last season when consensus All-American Michael Beasley paced the squad at 26.2 points per game, the 2008-09 team has shown a lot more diversity with its scoring output thus far. 

Through six games, 12 of the 13 players that have seen action have tallied at least two points with eight totaling double-digit points.  Four players are averaging in double figures led by sophomore guard Jacob Pullen’s 16.6 points per game.  Three others - junior Denis Clemente (11.4 ppg.), sophomore Dominique Sutton (10.1 ppg.) and freshman Jamar Samuels (10.0 ppg.) - are all averaging 10.0 points or more per game, while a fourth and fifth - senior Darren Kent (9.3) and sophomore Fred Brown (8.0) - are averaging eight or more points. 

Since statistics became available during the 1950-51 season, there has been just six teams to have four players average in double figures with the last coming in 2004-05.  Just one team - the 1955-56 squad - has had six players average eight or more points in a season. 

There have already been four different leading scorers in seven games. Brown, Clemente and Pullen are the only players to repeat as leading scorer, as Brown had a team-high 21 points against SE Missouri State on Nov. 16 then tied Sutton with 14 points each against Emporia State on Nov. 22.  Clemente led the squad with 19 points against Florida A&M on Nov. 14 then again with 16 points against Cleveland State on Nov. 22.  Pullen has paced the team with three straight 20+ scoring games, including a career-best 26 against Oakland on Nov. 25.  It marks the first time in Pullen’s career he scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games. 

In all, there have been 25 double-digit scoring games thus far with Pullen and Samuels doing it five times each.

Rebounding still a Strength

Most critics wondered how Kansas State would replace two of the best Big 12 rebounders - Michael Beasley and Bill Walker - after the duo helped the program average 41.3 rebounds a year ago.  The duo plus departed seniors Clent Stewart and Blake Young averaged over 25 boards per game.  Despite their absence, rebounding still seems to be a strength with 11 players averaging at least one board per game.

Through seven games, K-State is averaging 39.6 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 17.1 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards per game.  Two players - Ron Anderson and Darren Kent - have grabbed double-digit rebounds four times with Kent and Dominique Sutton averaging a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game.  Kent has posted two double-doubles with 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri State on Nov. 16 and 14 points and 10 rebounds against Cleveland State on Nov. 22, while Anderson has one with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Emporia State on Nov. 19.


Pressure is the Key

The core of Frank Martin’s coaching philosophy is pressure, whether its on the offensive or defensive end of the floor.  His theory is the more pressure you apply on a team, the more difficult you make it for your opponent.  In other words, pressure makes a team breakdown.

Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 159 points (29 percent of their season total of 553 points) off 138 opponent turnovers.  The squad has also outscored its opponents 91-43 on fast-break opportunities.

outscored Florida A&M, 23-5, in points off turnovers then followed it up by turning 21 SE Missouri State turnovers into 26 points.  The Wildcats outscored Emporia State, 30-6, in points off turnovers, while forcing the Hornets into 26 turnovers.  The team scored 17 points off 16 Cleveland State miscues and 27 points off 22 Oakland turnovers.  The squad collected a season-best 26 points off turnovers against Kentucky at the Las Vegas Invitational, while forcing an opponent-high 31 turnovers.  The Wildcats scored just 10 points off 11 Iowa turnovers in the tournament finale.  In all, K-State has forced four of seven opponents into 20 or more turnovers.

The Wildcats are averaging 8.3 steals per contest with 11 players grabbing at least one led by sophomore Jacob Pullen’s team-high 15 steals.  Sophomore Dominique Sutton is second with 13 steals, while senior Darren Kent is third with six thefts.

Dynamic Duo

After dominating the paint a year ago with the likes of Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, Kansas State’s strength has shifted to the backcourt where the Wildcats start two of the best at their positions in junior Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen.

The duo, which has started all seven games, have combined for 196 points on 38.9 percent shooting (65-of-167), including 36.3 percent from 3-point range (29-of-80), with 47 of the team’s 104 assists.  Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game on 38 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (38), 3-point field goals made (19), free throws made (21), assists (26) and steals (15).  Clemente is second in scoring at 11.4 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting and assists (21), while is first in free throw shooting (84.2) and second in 3-point field goals (10).

Ironically, the two have scored in double figures four times in the same game with a combined 36 points against Florida A&M on Nov. 14, 31 against both Cleveland State on Nov. 22 and Kentucky on Nov. 28 and 45 against Oakland on Nov. 25.  Clemente has paced the team in scoring twice, including a season-best 19 points in the opener against Florida A&M, while Pullen has led the team in scoring the last three games with consecutive 20-point games.

Samuels an Impact off Bench

An unknown but talented player, redshirt freshman forward Jamar Samuels has become an impact player off the bench for the Wildcats.  Despite not starting one game, he is fourth in scoring at 10.1 points on a team-high 58.7 percent shooting (27-of-46) with 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.9 blocks in 21.9 minutes per game.  Samuels and Pullen are the only players to score in double figures in five of the first seven games with a season-high 16 points against SE Missouri State.   

The native of Washington, D.C., Samuels was redshirt a year ago after joining the squad after the semester break on Dec. 26.  He originally signed with the program out of The Patterson (N.C.) School in the spring of 2007, but wasn’t clear by the NCAA until December.  The 19-year-old actually had one year of high school eligibility remaining, but opted to finish his requirements and head to college early.  He is one of three former AAU D.C. Assault players on the roster, along with sophomores Ron Anderson and Dominique Sutton.   

Sutton Steals the Show

After getting a late start to his time at K-State, sophomore Dominique Sutton has become an all-around factor for the Wildcats this season.  He ranks second on the squad in both minutes (27.0) and steals (1.9 spg.), while he is tied with Darren Kent for led in rebounds (6.3 rpg.) and is third in scoring at 10.1 points per game. 

Sutton nearly collected his first career double-double in the win over Oakland with nine points and nine rebounds.  He has scored in double figures four times, including a career-best 15 against Kentucky, and has grabbed eight or more rebounds three times so far.

a Force in the Middle

A starter down low in the post, junior Luis Colon is starting to come into his own this season.   He is averaging 6.1 points on 57.1 percent shooting (16-of-28) so far with 4.7 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game .  His 43 points are nearly half his entire total from his first two seasons, while his 33 rebounds are more than his entire total from 2007-08.  In the last three games, he has been even more impressive, averaging 8.7 points on 73.3 percent shooting (11-of-15) to go with 6.7 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game.  He eclipsed his career-high with 12 points against Oakland on Nov. 25, while he grabbed a career-best nine rebounds against Iowa on Nov. 29.  

Stepping Up as a Senior

One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of senior forward Darren Kent.  Kent, the team’s only senior, has been a force on the boards, tying for second with 6.3 rebounds per game.  He is also averaging 9.3 points on 45.7 percent shooting (21-of-46) to go with 1.3 assists and 0.9 steals in 20.4 minutes per game.  Kent, who entered the season averaging 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in his career, has totaled double-doubles in two games, including career-highs in both points (15) and rebounds (12) against SE Missouri State on Nov. 16.  He paced the team with 10 rebounds in the win against Cleveland State on Nov. 22 to go with 14 points. 


Oregon enters Sunday’s game with a 3-4 record after dropping its third straight contest at Utah, 95-81, on Wednesday night.  Like Kansas State, the Ducks started the season off strong with wins in three of their first four games before dropping its last two at the Maui Invitational to top-10 foes North Carolina and Texas and then to Utah on the road.  The squad is averaging 75.4 points through seven games on 40.8 percent shooting, including 39.4 percent from 3-point range, with 36.1 rebounds, 14.3 assists, 9.4 steals and 3.9 blocks per game. 

The Ducks are led by freshman forward Michael Dunigan, who paces the team in both scoring (14.0 ppg.) and field goal percentage (57.6).  Dunigan was a McDonald’s All-American and a consensus top-10 high school recruit in 2007-08.  Senior guard Tajuan Porter is second in scoring at 12.9 points per game to go with a team-best 16 3-point field goals and freshman guard Garrett Sim adds 10.9 points and a team-high 3.1 assists per contest.  Junior forward Joevan Catron averages 9.4 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game.  In all, six players average nine or more points per game.

returns six lettermen, including two starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with an 18-14 overall record and 9-9 mark in Pac-10 play and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

The Ducks are led by 12th-year head coach Ernie Kent, who became the school’s all-time winningest coach in the win over UC Irvine on Nov. 21.  Kent, who has a 214-137 record at the school, is 304-218 in his career, which includes a six-year stint at St. Mary’s from 1991-97.

Interestingly enough, Kent has a connection to Kansas State as he went to the same high school (Rockford West High in Rockford, Ill.) as K-State’s women’s tennis head coach Steve Bietau and women’s basketball head coach Deb Patterson.  Bietau and Kent were both the Class of 1973, while Patterson graduated a year later in 1974. 

Series Information

K-State and Oregon have met three times in their histories with the Wildcats holding a 2-1 edge, including a 1-0 lead in games played in Eugene.  The two teams first met in 1965 with the first of a home-and-home series, with the Wildcats earning a 92-58 win in Eugene on Dec. 21, 1965 then again in 1966 by a score of 52-45 in Manhattan.

The latest meeting came just last season, as Oregon won a thrilling game, 80-77, in overtime in Manhattan, on Nov. 29.  A contest of ranked teams, the Ducks struggled early and came on late, hitting big shot down the stretch in regulation and overpowering the Wildcats.  Senior guard Bryce Taylor scored 11 of his 18 points after halftime and Maarty Leunen had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Oregon.  Freshman Michael Beasley had a game-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds, while junior Andre Gilbert added 16 points for K-State.      

K-State is 38-22 all-time against teams from the Pac-10, including an 11-17 mark in games played on the road.      

12-21-65    K-State 92-58     Eugene

12-3-66     K-State 52-45     Manhattan

11-29-07    Oregon 80-77 (OT) Manhattan

Recruiting Class Praised

The four-man recruiting class that Kansas State pulled down on Nov. 12 has been rated among the best in the country.  The class, which includes ESPNU100 prospect and power forward Wally Judge, has been rated the 17th-best class by ESPN Scouts, Inc., as well as 21st- best class by Rivals.com.  The quartet includes Judge, fellow high school teammate Rodney McGruder, Dallas (Texas) point guard Nick Russell and prep school forward Jordan Henriquez.   

Young Cats

Kansas State enters the 2008-09 season with one its youngest teams in recent history, as senior forward Darren Kent is the lone senior on a roster of 15 players.  When you factor in that four of the six juniors are either transfers from another Division I school or a junior college, the Wildcats are one of the youngest teams in its history. 

Dating back to the 1981-82 season, there has been just one team - the 1983-84 squad which had no seniors - with fewer seniors on its roster.  The 1996-97 also had just one senior on its roster.

Martin Inks Stellar Class

Kansas State head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent on the second day of the fall signing period on Nov. 13.


The four-man recruiting class, which was ranked 16th nationally by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and 21st by Rivals.com, includes prep school standout Jordan Henriquez (Winchendon [Mass.] School/Port Chester, N.Y.) and high school seniors Wally Judge (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.), Rodney McGruder (Arlington (Fla.) Country Day/Washington, D.C.) and Nick Russell (Grace Preparatory Academy/Arlington, Texas).


The headliner of this class, Wally Judge is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward originally from Washington, D.C., who is entering his second year at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla.  Considered one of the top power forwards in the high school ranks, Judge was rated as a top 25 recruit by several recruiting services, including the No. 17 prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 23 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  He was also rated as an ESPNU Top 100 recruit.  In addition, he is ranked among the top-10 at his position, including No. 6 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 9 by Rivals.com.   


Judge is in his second year at Florida powerhouse, Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, where he helped the Apaches to their fourth consecutive Class 2A state title with a 24-6 record in 2007-08.   Judge averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds and was named second team Class 2A All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association.


A teammate of Judge at Arlington Country Day, Rodney McGruder is considered one of the best shooting guards in the country.  The 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 91 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  McGruder is also ranked among the top-35 at the position by a number of outlets, including No. 23 by Rivals.com and No. 31 by ESPN Scouts, Inc. 


McGruder transferred to Arlington Country Day in the off-season from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.  As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals in leading the Lions to a 16-10 overall record and an appearance in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) semifinals in 2007-08.  He was named to the Washington Post All-Met first team. 


One of the top point guard prospects in the country, Nick Russell comes to K-State from Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas.  The 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard is rated among the top players in the country, including the No. 89 overall prospect by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and No. 114 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  Russell is also ranked among the top-40 at his position by a number of outlets, including No. 20 by Rivals.com and No. 36 by ESPN Scouts, Inc.  In addition, he is rated the No. 4 player in the state of Texas for the Class of 2009 by Texashoops.com.


Russell helped Grace Prep to a 26-12 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in league play, as a junior in 2006-07.  He helped the Lions to a runner-up finish at the TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools) Class 5A state tournament, where they lost to Midland Christian, 74-60.  Russell averaged 23 points, six assists and five rebounds as a junior.  He was named first team TAPPS Class 5A all-state as well as co-most valuable player of the District 1-5A and first team all-district. 


Jordan Henriquez comes to Kansas State from The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he is playing a postgraduate year in 2008-09.  The 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from New Rochelle, N.Y. signed with the Wildcats this past May after finishing his career at Port Chester High School in Port Chester, N.Y.  As a senior, he led the team to an 18-6 record and an 8-0 mark in league play en route to a runner-up finish at the Section I Championship.  In averaging a team-best 15.3 points, Henriquez scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games in 2007-08, including six 20-point contests. 


The recruiting class will join a loaded Kansas State squad in 2009-10, as the Wildcats will return all but one player.  They will be joined by junior forward Curtis Kelly, who is sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from University of Connecticut this past summer.