K-State Hosts Centenary Saturday

Game Information

Kansas State (7-3) vs. Centenary (2-9)

Big Red One Appreciation Day

Date: Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tipoff: 1:06 p.m. CT

Location: Manhattan, Kan.

Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)

Capacity: 12,528

Series: K-State leads 1-0
(K-State is 1-0 at home)

Television: none

Webcast: www.k-statesports.com

(Powercat Passport subscription required)

Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 91

Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)

Matt Walters (analyst)

Tickets: Fans can purchase a general admission ticket for $15 with the donation of a toy (with a value of $5, unopened) on the day of the game at the K-State Athletics Ticket Office.   


Kansas State Wildcats

Record: 7-3 (0-0 Big 12)

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

Coach: Frank Martin

Alma Mater: Florida International, 93

Career Record: 28-15/1

School Record: 28-15/1

vs. Centenary: 0-0

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

Last game: Dec. 14, 2008

Defeated Gardner-Webb, 107-48

SID: Tom Gilbert

Website: www.k-statesports.com


Centenary Gents

Record: 2-9 (0-0 Summit League)

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

Coach: Greg Gary

Alma Mater: Tulane, 92

Career Record: 2-9/1

School Record: 2-9/1

vs. Kansas State: 0-0

07-08 Record: 10-21 (4-14 Summit)

Last game: Dec. 13, 2008

Lost to Louisiana Tech, 77-71

SID: Allison McClain

Website: www.GoCentenary.com


Projected Starters

Kansas State (7-3)

G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)

G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)

F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6-5, 210, So.)

F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)

F - #50 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)

Centenary (2-9)

G - #1 Nick Stallings (6-1, 190, Sr.)

G - #15 Gary Redus II (6-6, 180, So.)

G - #11 Chase Adams (5-10, 175, Jr.)

F - #3 Anthony Gatlin (6-8, 180, So.)

F - #30 Jerrald Bonham (6-8, 210, Jr.)


Game Preview

Kansas State (7-3) continues its season-long six-game homestand on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Summit League foe Centenary (2-9) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 1 p.m.  It will be the team’s first contest since taking a week off for semester exams.  Following Saturday’s contest, the squad will get to spent six days away from campus for holiday break before reconvening on Saturday, Dec. 27 to begin preparations for the Wagner game on Tuesday, Dec. 30. 

Kansas State will celebrate its relationship with nearby Fort Riley in this Saturday’s game, as the department recognizes “The Big Red One Holiday Appreciation Day.”  The athletic department, in partnership with students and season ticket holders, has donated 1,900 tickets to the contest to Fort Riley soldiers and their families.  The student body, much of which will be out of town due to the completion of semester exams, donated over 1,100 tickets.

There are a number of activities planned for the game involving the soldiers from Fort Riley.  The color guard will be conducted by the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and will include all brigade, battalion and partner unit colors.  In addition, the Big Red One Band will play the national anthem and provide the in-game pep music.  Before the game, Chief of Staff Colonel Ricky Gibbs and Sergeant Major Jim Champagne will lead the team out of the lockerroom. 

K-State played arguably its most complete game of the year Sunday against Gardner-Webb, as the Wildcats improved to 6-0 at home with a decisive 107-48 win over the Bulldogs.  The team posted its highest point total in nearly 11 years, including 59 in the first half, while it was two short of the school record for assists (30).  The squad hit on a season-best 59.7 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range, and held a 38-31 edge on the boards.  The Wildcats held its fifth foe to 60 points or less, while setting a low for opponent field goal percentage (30.8) for the second straight contest.  The team also scored a season-high 41 points off of 26 Bulldog turnovers. 

Nearly every player scored, including four in double figures for the sixth time this season.  Junior Denis Clemente and freshman Jamar Samuels each totaled 20 points to lead the team, while sophomores Fred Brown and Jacob Pullen added 18 and 14 points, respectively. 

The game will be webcast on its official site, www.k-statesports.com, via Powercat Passport, the online destination for exclusive live and on-demand streaming video and audio for Wildcat fans.  There are subscription packages available on an annual and monthly basis.

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 Radio) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call.

Operation Santa Claus

Fans are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or cash donation for Fort Riley’s Operation Santa Claus, which benefits underprivileged military children in the surrounding communities. 

With the donation of a toy (with a value of $5, unopened), fans can purchase a ticket to Saturday’s game for just $15, which is half-off a regular-priced ticket.  Tickets are limited for this promotion and the price is only good for the day of the game.  There is one ticket discount per toy donation, and fans must show the toy donation at the ticket window the day of the game for the discount.

’Cats in December

Kansas State is 439-232 (.654) all-time in the month of December, including wins in 31 of its last 41 games.  The Wildcats have won 26 of their last 27 games at home in December dating back to the 2002-03 season, including their current 14-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.

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.  

Explosive Offense...

Kansas State has shown the ability to score early and often, as the Wildcats have totaled 804 points in their first 10 games, an average of over 80 points per game.  The team has scored 70 or more points in eight of 10 games, including three consecutive contests to start the year.  The squad has already posted two games of 90 or more points, including a 107-point output against Gardner-Webb, which ranks as the most in a non-conference game since 1994 and the highest point total since the Wildcats scored 111 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998. 

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 804 points tie for the fourth-most through 10 games in school history, trailing just the 1997-98 (833), 1986-87 (830) and 1976-77 (808) teams and tied with the 1952-53 squad.  In fact, this year’s team joins those four squads as the only ones in Kansas State’s 118-year history to score 800 or more points in the first 10 games.

The Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in five of their first 10 games for just the fifth time in its history, including the 1956-57, 1976-77, 1981-82 and 1997-98 seasons. 

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.

And Stellar Defense

K-State has shown the ability to play solid defense as well, holding its 10 opponents thus far to an average of 62.5 points per game.  The Wildcats have held eight opponents to less than 70 points, including five to 60 points or less.  In addition, the squad has held its last two opponents to 55 points or less for the first time in back-to-back games since the 2006-07 team held Chicago State and Nebraska to 36 and 45 points, respectively, on Jan. 22 and Jan. 27, 2007. 

The 625 points yielded this season ties for the fourth-fewest through 10 games in the last 25 seasons, trailing the 2005-06 (610), 1993-94 (614) and 2004-05 (616) teams and tied with the 1985-86 squad.  The 75 points scored by Oregon on Dec. 6 are the most allowed by the team this season, which is the fewest through 10 games since the 2005-06 teams also gave up 75 to Northern Illinois on Dec. 20, 2005.

This season, seven opponents have been held to below 40 percent shooting for the contest, while six foes have been held to below 30 percent from 3-point range.  The Wildcats have set lows for opponent field goal percentage in the last two games, holding Southern Miss to 31.3 percent before allowing just 30.8 to Gardner-Webb. 

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 10 games, 12 of the 13 players that have seen action have tallied at least four points with 11 totaling double-digit points and three in triple digits.  Three players - sophomore guard Jacob Pullen, junior guard Denis Clemente and freshman forward Jamar Samuels - are averaging in double figures led by Pullen’s 15.1 points per game.  Six players are averaging eight or more points, including sophomore guard Fred Brown (9.0 ppg.), sophomore forward Dominique Sutton (8.5 ppg) and senior forward Darren Kent (8.4 ppg.).

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 six different leading scorers in 10 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.  He also had a team-high 19 points against Oregon Dec. 7 before tying Samuels with 20 points against Gardner-Webb Dec. 14.  Pullen paced the team with three 20+ scoring games in the last five games, including a career-best 26 against Oakland.  Junior Luis Colon posted a team-high 18 points against Southern Miss Dec. 11.

In all, there have been 36 double-digit scoring games thus far with Pullen and Samuels doing it a team-best seven times in 10 games.

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 10 games, K-State is averaging 39.4 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 15.9 on the offensive end, with five players averaging four or more boards per game.  Three players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon and Darren Kent - have grabbed double-digit rebounds five times with Kent averaging a team-best 5.6 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 and Colon each have one.  Anderson tallied 10 points and 10 boards against Emporia State on Nov. 19, while Colon grabbed his first one against Southern Miss with 18 points and 11 rebounds on Dec. 11.


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 235 points (29 percent of their season total of 804 points) off 198 opponent turnovers.  The squad has also outscored its opponents 122-60 on fast-break opportunities.

Kansas State 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 26 points off turnovers against Kentucky on an opponent-high 31 turnovers.  K-State totaled a season-best 41 points against Gardner-Webb on 26 turnovers.  In all, K-State has forced five of 10 opponents into 20 or more turnovers.

The Wildcats are averaging 7.7 steals per contest with eight players grabbing at least four led by Jacob Pullen’s team-high 20 steals.

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 sophomore Jacob Pullen.

The duo, which has started all 10 games, have combined for 276 points on 40 percent shooting (96-of-240), including 34.5 percent from 3-point range (39-of-113), with 71 of the team’s 160 assists.  Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game on 38.1 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (51), 3-point field goals made (23), assists (42) and steals (20).  Clemente is second in scoring at 12.5 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting and assists (29), while is first in free throw shooting (82.6), second in assists and third in 3-point field goals (16).

Ironically, the two have scored in double figures five 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, 45 against Oakland on Nov. 25 and 34 against Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14.  Clemente has led the team in scoring four times, including a season-best 20 points against Gardner-Webb, while Pullen has paced the squad in scoring on three occasions with three 20-point outings.

Colon 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 6.5 points on a team-best 60.5 percent shooting with 5.3 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game.  His 65 points are over half his entire total from his first two seasons, while his 53 rebounds are more than his entire total from 2007-08. 

In the last four games, he has been even more impressive, averaging 8.0 points on 70 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game.  He had a career night against Southern Miss on Dec. 11, posting highs in points (18), rebounds (11) and minutes (27) en route to becoming the first Wildcat since 2002 to go 9-of-9 from the field.  

Samuels an Impact off the 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 10.4 points on a team-best 61 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks in 20.0 minutes per game.  Samuels and Jacob Pullen are the only players to score in double figures in seven of the first 10 games with a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb Dec. 14.

Samuels has also made improvements from the free throw line, where he connected on 76.5 percent (26-of-34) in the last seven games.  He started the season hitting just 31.5 percent (6-of-19) from the stripe. 

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.

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 three categories, including minutes (24.4 mpg.), rebounds (5.5 rpg.) and steals (1.3 spg.), while he is fifth in scoring (8.5 ppg.) at 50.8 percent shooting.  He nearly collected his first career double-double in the win over Oakland on Nov. 25 with nine points and nine rebounds.  He has scored in double figures four times, including a career-best 15 against Kentucky, and has grabbed six or more rebounds five times so far.

Kent 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, ranking first with 5.6 rebounds per game.  He is also averaging 8.4 points on 40 percent shooting (24-of-60) to go with 1.4 assists and 0.7 steals in 20.0 minutes per game.  Kent, who entered the year averaging 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in his career, has totaled two double-doubles, including career-highs in points (15) and rebounds (12) against SE Missouri State on Nov. 16.  He had 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds at Cleveland State on Nov. 22.


Centenary Update

Centenary enters Saturday’s contest with a 2-9 record after dropping its fourth straight game, 77-71, at Louisiana Tech last Saturday.  The squad has played a brutal slate so far with eight of its 11 games played away from home, including both conference contests.  The two wins have come on neutral sites to Troy (81-77) and AlcornState (64-51), while the losses have come to Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State, NorthwesternState (twice), Wichita State, South Dakota State, North Dakota State and Louisiana Tech.   

The Gents are averaging 62.6 points through 11 games on 37.8 percent shooting, including 33.6 percent from 3-point range, with 30.5 rebounds, 11.7 assists, 8.9 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.  The team averages nearly eight 3-point field goals made per game.

Centenary is led by a stellar backcourt of senior Nick Stallings and junior Chase Adams, who combined to average nearly half (30.6 ppg.) of the team’s point total.  Stallings is averaging a team-best 16.5 points with a team-high 24 3-point field goals to go with a team-high 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 36.4 minutes per game.  Adams adds 14.1 points per game with 21 3-point field goals to go with team-bests in both assists (4.6 apg.) and steals (2.6 spg.).

Sophomore guard Gary Redus II is third on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game, while sophomore guard Anthony Gatlin adds 8.7 points per game to go with 4.3 rebounds per contest.  In all, five players are averaging six or more points per contest.

Centenary returns six lettermen, including three starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a 10-21 overall record and 4-14 mark in Summit League play.

The Gents are led by head coach Greg Gary, who has a 2-9 record in his first season at the helm.  Gary brings 15 years of experience at the college level, including stints at Tulane (1993-97; 1998-2000), Miami (Fla.) (2000-04), South Florida (2004-07) and Duquesne (2007-08).

Series Information

Kansas State and Centenary have met once in their histories with the Wildcats holding a 1-0 edge.  The teams first met on Dec. 7, 1983 with the Wildcats posting a 65-58 win at Ahearn Fieldhouse.   

K-State is 28-3 against teams from the Summit League, including an 83-64 win over Oakland earlier this year on Nov. 25 at home.

12-7-83     K-State 65-58     Manhattan

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.

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.