'Cats and Eagles Tangle in Sprint Center
'Cats and Eagles Tangle in Sprint Center
Date: Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tipoff: 7:10 p.m. CT
Series: Southern Miss leads 3-2
(K-State is 1-0 in
Television: FOX Sports
Ben Boyle (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Brian McCann (producer)
Satellite Channels: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 446
Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 123
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Matt Walters (analyst)
Tickets: Tickets are available for $25 by calling Ticketmaster at (816) 931.3330 or on the internet at www.Ticketmaster.com.
Record: 5-3 (0-0 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Career Record: 26-15/1
School Record: 26-15/1
vs. Southern Miss: 0-0
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Dec. 7, 2008
SID: Tom Gilbert
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Record: 4-3 (0-0 C-USA)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Larry Eustachy
Career Record: 324-211/18
School Record: 64-66/5
07-08 Record: 19-14 (9-7 C-
Last game: Dec. 6, 2008
SID: Tim Andrzejewski
Kansas State returns from a long three-game road trip on Thursday, as the Wildcats host Southern Miss (4-3) in the second annual K-State Holiday Classic presented by Subway at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Last season, the squad went 1-1 in the arena, earning an 87-60 win over Florida A&M in the first installment of the Classic before dropping a 63-60 decision to Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. This will be the second game with the Golden Eagles in
K-State dropped its third straight contest by single digits on Sunday, as the Wildcats lost 75-70 at
The contest against Southern Miss will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City (DirecTV 672 and Dish Network 446) with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action. Fans will also be able to watch the contest on the
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; Sirius Satellite 147) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) on the call.
Tickets are priced at $25 for the game at all Ticketmaster outlets by calling (816) 931.3330 or online at Ticketmaster.com.
The era in
Cats in December
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
Most November Wins
K-State was down 17 points (54-37) to
The Wildcats trailed
The 623 points rank as the second-most through eight games in the last 15 years at
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.
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 eight games, 12 of the 13 players that have seen action have tallied at least two points with eight totaling double-digit points. Three players are averaging in double figures led by sophomore guard Jacob Pullen’s 15.0 points per game. Junior Denis Clemente (12.4 ppg.) and redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels (10.5 ppg.) are averaging 10.0 points or more per game, while three others - sophomore Dominique Sutton (9.4 ppg), senior Darren Kent (8.6 ppg) and sophomore Fred Brown (8.3 ppg.) - 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 has already been four different leading scorers in eight 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
In all, there have been 29 double-digit scoring games thus far with Samuels doing it a team-best six times in eight games.
Rebounding Still a Strength
Most critics wondered how
Through eight games, K-State is averaging 39.5 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 Anderson and Dominique Sutton averaging a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game.
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 179 points (29 percent of their season total of 623 points) off 157 opponent turnovers. The squad has also outscored its opponents 95-47 on fast-break opportunities.
The Wildcats are averaging 7.9 steals per contest with 11 players grabbing at least one led by Jacob Pullen’s team-high 16 steals. Dominique Sutton is second with 13 steals, while Darren Kent and sophomore Chris Merriewether are third with six thefts apiece.
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 eight games, have combined for 219 points on 37.5 percent shooting (75-of-200), including 32.6 percent from 3-point range (31-of-95), with 50 of the team’s 111 assists. Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 15.0 points per game on 35.4 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (40), 3-point field goals made (19), assists (29) and steals (16). Clemente is second in scoring at 12.4 points per game on 40.2 percent shooting and assists (21), while is first in free throw shooting (81.0) and tied for second in 3-point field goals (12).
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
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 third in scoring at 10.5 points on a team-high 57.7 percent shooting (30-of-52) with 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 blocks in 22.4 minutes per game. Samuels is the only player to score in double figures in six of the first eight games with a season-high 16 points against SE Missouri State.
Samuels has also made improvements from the free throw line, where he connected on 78.3 percent (18-of-23) in the last five games. He started the season hitting just 31.5 percent (6-of-19) from the stripe.
The native of
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 (25.0) and steals (1.6 spg.), while he is tied with Ron Anderson for led in rebounds (5.9 rpg.) and is fourth in scoring at 9.4 points per game. Sutton nearly collected his first career double-double in the win over
A starter down low in the post, junior Luis Colon is starting to come into his own this season. He is averaging 5.4 points on 53.3 percent shooting so far with 4.6 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game. His 43 points are nearly half his entire total from his first two seasons, while his 37 rebounds are more than his entire total from 2007-08. In the last three games, he has been even more impressive, averaging 6.5 points on 64.7 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game. He eclipsed his career-high with 12 points against
One of the bright spots for the Wildcats this season has been the play of senior forward Darren Kent.
Southern Miss Update
Southern Miss enters Thursday’s contest with a 4-3 record after dropping its second straight contest by single digits in a 60-58 loss at
The Golden Eagles are averaging 68.6 points through seven games on 42 percent shooting, including 32.1 percent from 3-point range, with 36.6 rebounds, 10.9 assists, 5.4 steals and 1.7 blocks per game.
USM is led by junior guard Jeremy Wise, who paces the team in scoring (20.6 ppg.), 3-point field goals (11), assists (29) and steals (12). Wise has also connected on a team-best 83.9 percent (47-of-56) from the free throw line. Sophomore R.L. Horton, who is coming off a 27-point outing against New Mexico, is second in scoring at 12.3 points per game, while senior Courtney Beasley averages 11.7 points to go with a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game. In all, five players are averaging six or more points per contest.
Southern Miss returns nine lettermen, including four starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with an 19-14 overall record and 9-7 mark in Conference USA play. The team has won 39 games in each of the past two seasons.
The Eagles are led by fifth-year head coach Larry Eustachy, who has a 64-66 record since taking over the helm on March 25, 2004. The former head coach at
K-State and Southern Miss have met five times in their histories with the Golden Eagles holding a 3-2 edge. The two teams first met in 1987 with the first of a home-and-home series with USM earning a 71-69 in Manhattan on Dec. 17, 1987 then again in 1988 by a score of 91-89 in overtime at home in Hattiesburg on Jan. 11.
The teams have met once previously in Kansas City, Mo., with the Wildcats earning its first victory in the series by a score of 70-68 in the BMA Holiday Classic at Kemper Arena on Dec. 28, 1992.
The two squads last played in 1993 when they split a home-and-home series. The Wildcats lost their last opener to the Eagles, 74-60, on Nov. 27 before earning an 84-78 victory in
12-17-87 USM 71-69
1-11-88 USM 91-89 (OT)
12-28-91 K-State 70-68
11-27-93 USM 74-60
12-30-93 K-State 84-78
Recruiting Class Praised
The four-man recruiting class that
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
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 [
The headliner of this class, Wally Judge is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward originally from
Judge is in his second year at
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
One of the top point guard prospects in the country, Nick Russell comes to K-State from
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
Jordan Henriquez comes to
The recruiting class will join a loaded