K-State heads north to face NDSU Saturday

Game 9

Kansas State (5-3) at North Dakota State (5-2)

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006

Bison Sports Arena (6,000) in Fargo, N.D.


Game Information:

Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. Central

Series: Kansas State leads 3-0
(W, 82-56 in Manhattan, Kan. on 1/2/06)

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

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 648, Dish Network 448

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 hits the road again with first-ever trip to North Dakota Saturday

Kansas State (5-3) again hits the road on Saturday, as the Wildcats make their first trip to North Dakota with a game against surging North Dakota State (5-2) at the Bison Sports Arena at 7:05 p.m. 

K-State, which will be playing its fifth road game in just its ninth game, will be looking to snap a three-game road losing streak, while battling a NDSU squad who has collected four wins in a row, including an impressive 64-60 victory over No. 8/9 Marquette.  The Bison also carry a 10-game homecourt winning streak into Saturday’s contest.   

The game will be the second of 10 games (including the next five 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 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (color) on the call. 

K-State has won 23 of its last 30 games against non-conference opponents, including a 21-1 (.955) mark at home. However, the Wildcats have posted just a 2-15 (.118) mark in non-conference road games dating back to the 2000-01 season.

This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Kansas State and North Dakota State with the Wildcats holding a 3-0 edge.  Last season, K-State closed non-conference play with an 82-56 win over NDSU.

Noting the Cleveland State game

*Kansas State is now 1-0 in the series after winning the first-ever match-up with Cleveland State... The Wildcats improved to 4-5 all-time against teams from the Horizon League... Head coach Bob Huggins is 6-5 against the Vikings and 2-0 against head coach Gary Waters.

*Kansas State played perhaps its best game on both ends of the floor against Cleveland State... The Wildcats shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the field and topped the 90-point barrier for the second time this season... It marked the first time in nearly two seasons that the squad shot 60 percent or better from the field since shooting 62.8 percent (27-of-43) against Nebraska on Feb. 4, 2004... K-State received scoring from 11 different Wildcats in the win, including five in double figures...


*Senior forward Cartier Martin led the Wildcats in scoring for the fourth time this season and 25th time in his career with 21 points on 6-of-8 field goals... Junior David Hoskins collected 17 points to break out of his recent scoring slump, while senior Akeem Wright had a season-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting... Freshman Jason Bennett also had a season-high 11 points to go with a game-high five blocks.

*On the defensive end, the team held the Vikings to just 60 points on just 32.4 percent shooting... It marked the fourth time this season that the Wildcats held an opponent to 60 points or less and third time holding an opponent to 35 percent shooting or less... The team opened with a 7-0 run and led 23-5 before Cleveland State made its first field goal at the 12:20 mark in the first half... During the stretch, they held CSU to a 0-for-8 shooting.


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 six games.  He has averaged 18.3 points in that span on 48.1 percent shooting (39-of-81), including 41.4 percent from 3-point range, to bring his season average to a team-best 15.1 points.  Martin has scored in double figures in each of the last six 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 five games, including back-to-back 21-point outputs against Colorado State and Cleveland State.  The CSU game marked the 17th time in his career he has posted 20 or more points, including the third time this season. 


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 53 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 ince Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season. 


He enters Saturday’s game against North Dakota State with 1,068 career points, which now ranks 14th in school history, and needs 12 points to top Steve Mitchell (1,079; 1971-73) for 13th place.  He needs 117 to pass All-American 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 78 consecutive games dating back to the Kansas game on Jan. 28, 2004.  He has also started in 63 straight contests dating back to the Washington State game on Nov. 27, 2004.

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 22 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 22 blocks on the year, he is just three away from breaking the freshman mark for blocks in a season (24 by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96) and 38 away from eclipsing the school record for blocks in a season (59 by Gerald Eaker in 1995-96).  Bennett’s 2.75 blocks per game average ranks him second in Big 12.  His four blocks against William & Mary in the opener were the most by a Wildcat since Dramane Diarra had his 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 eight games, Kansas State is averaging 5.38 blocked shots per game, including eight-block performances against William & Mary on Nov. 11 and Cleveland State on Dec. 5. The eight blocks are the most by a Wildcat team since blocking nine shots against Longwood on Dec. 5, 2005.   The Wildcats, whose block average is third in the Big 12, have recorded three or more blocks in seven of their eight games, including six or more five times.

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 11.8 points on 45.6 percent shooting, including 41.5 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a career-best 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.6 steals per game.  He has scored in double figures in five of eight 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 5.0 per game average.  He already has 40 boards, including eight 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 eight 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 two Big 12 categories, including seventh in 3-point field goals made (2.13) and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (41.5).

Power Serge

Senior forward Serge Afeli flashed his potential in the loss at Colorado State on Dec. 2, 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.  For his efforts against the Rams, Afeli earned his first career start against Cleveland State on Tuesday.  He struggled from the field, however he did grab three rebounds in nine minutes.


Time to Take A Break

After the trip to Fargo for the North Dakota State game on Dec. 9, Kansas State will get a nice eight-day break for fall semester exams.  It will be the team’s longest break before a 10-day holiday reprieve from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2.  The Wildcats will play four games in the Findley Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic in between their two breaks, including a pair of games at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on Dec. 22-23.  Coming back from its break, Kansas State will welcome the addition of freshman forward Bill Walker, who will be eligible for the team’s next game against Kennesaw State on Sunday, Dec. 17 at Bramlage Coliseum as apart of the first rounds of the tournament.


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 9.6 points, a team-best 4.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in a team-high 30.9 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 eight 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 North Dakota State

North Dakota State enters Saturday’s game with a 5-2 record after posting its fourth straight victory with a 64-60 upset win over No. 8/9 Marquette in the championship game of the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis.  It was arguably the biggest win in the program’s brief stint at the Division level, which began in a 70-61 loss to Kansas State on Nov. 19, 2004. 

The Bison shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent in the second half, and held the Golden Eagles to just 35.8 percent shooting from the field and 20.0 percent from 3-point range.  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.  The team also won despite compiling 25 turnovers.  

Ranked 22nd-nationally in the first Mid-Major Top 25 poll of the season by CollegeInsider.com, North Dakota State began the season with three straight road games.  The Bison collected a 91-76 win over Idaho in the season opener before dropping back-to-back games at Minnesota (63-49) and Texas Tech (85-81).  The team topped Furman (60-58) and Wisconsin-Green Bay (85-73) in their first home games of the year before knocking off Princeton (57-50) and Marquette at the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic.

North Dakota
is averaging 69.6 points on 47.8 percent shooting with 37.7 rebounds and has 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.

Head coach Tim Miles has a 197-126 record in his 12th season as a head coach, including an 84-65 mark in his sixth year at North Dakota State


Series Versus North Dakota State

Kansas State and North Dakota State will be meeting for the fourth time in their respective histories.  The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 3-0, with the Bison.  The teams played for the first time in 37 years to open the 2004-05 season, as Kansas State earned a 70-61 on Nov. 19, 2004 in NDSU’s first game at the Division I level.  The programs first met on Dec. 19, 1967 with the Wildcats collecting a 79-52 win at Ahearn Field House.  K-State boasts a 9-2 all-time against independents and is 2-0 versus teams from the state of North Dakota

Last season, Kansas State raced out to a 40-12 halftime advantage en route to an 82-56 win over North Dakota State on Jan. 2, 2006 at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Bison shot just 32 percent for the game, including just 18.2 percent in the first half.  The game was tight early on before K-State clamped down on the defensive end, forcing nine of the Bison’s 19 first-half turnovers during a 20-0 run.  Junior forward Cartier Martin paced three Wildcats in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-13 field goals with seven rebounds, while junior guard Lance Harris added 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting.  


Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 5-3 record to start the season.  The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in five defensive categories in the Big 12, including second in offensive rebounds (16.38) and rebound offense (42.5), third in defensive rebounds (26.13) and blocked shots (5.38) and fourth in rebounding margin (+5.0).  The squad is fifth in field goal percentage defense (39.2) and 10th in scoring defense (67.1).  The team has held six of its first eight opponents to 45 percent or less shooting, while grabbing an average of 42.5 rebounds.

After giving up an average of 81 points in back-to-back losses to California and Colorado State last week, the Wildcats clamped down on defense in the decisive win over Cleveland State on Tuesday night.  The team held the Vikings to just 60 points on 32.4 percent shooting, including just 23 points on 24.2 percent in the first half in racing out to a 27-point advantage at the break.  K-State held CSU’s leading scorer J’Nathan Bullock (14.8 ppg.) to just eight points on dismal 1-of-12 shooting, while no Viking player reached double figures for the first time this season.  It marked the fourth time this season that the Wildcats have held an opponent to 60 points or less and the third time it has held a team to under 35 percent shooting from the field.          

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 a meager 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 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 23 of its last 30 games against non-conference opponents, including a remarkable 21-1 (.955) 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: Kennesaw State (2-6)

Kansas State opens the Findley Honda Las Vegas Holiday Classic at home on Sunday, Dec. 17 by hosting Kennesaw State (2-6) at Bramlage Coliseum at 1 p.m.  The Owls have dropped back-to-back games on the road against Stetson (61-56) and Mercer (84-77 in OT) last week.  The team is averaging 61.8 points on 36.6 percent shooting with 36.5 rebounds and has a pair of players averaging in double figures.  Kennesaw State is led by junior forward and Nebraska transfer Shuan Stegall, who is averaging team-highs in both points (17.6 ppg.) and rebounds (9.8).