K-State Hosts Texas A&M at Sprint Center Saturday
K-State Hosts Texas A&M at Sprint Center Saturday
TEXAS A&M (7-2, 0-0 SEC)
vs. KANSAS STATE (6-4, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, December 20, 2014 >> Kansas City, Mo.
Sprint Center (18,972) >> 6 p.m. CT
Dave Armstrong (play-by-play)
Rich Zvosec (analyst)
WatchESPN link - http://es.pn/1wDOIVb
K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (play-by-play)
Satellite: Sirius 91/XM 91
Stats - http://bit.ly/1yqDy3x
Audio - http://bit.ly/15rNnVB
(800) 221.CATS / (888) 929.7849
$10-$65 (various locations)
Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)
Overall: 366-180 (17th year)
at K-State: 53-25 (3rd year)
vs. Texas A&M: First meeting
Texas A&M: Billy Kennedy (SE Louisiana ‘86)
Overall: 268-230 (17th year)
at Texas A&M: 57-51 (4th year)
vs. K-State: 0-2
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (6-4)
G – #1 Jevon Thomas (7.1 ppg., 3.8 apg.)
G – #2 Marcus Foster (15.3 ppg., 2.4 rpg.)
G – #14 Justin Edwards (6.0 ppg., 3.5 rpg.)
F – #11 Nino Williams (12.8 ppg., 5.1 rpg.)
F – #42 Thomas Gipson (11.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg.)
Texas A&M (7-2)
G - #21 Alex Caruso (9.0 ppg., 5.9 apg.)
G - #23 Danuel House (12.7 ppg., 3.7 rpg.)
G - #5 Jordan Green (7.3 ppg., 2.1 rpg.)
F - #12 Jalen Jones (13.4 ppg., 6.1 rpg.)
F - #14 Kourtney Roberson (7.2 ppg., 5.1 rpg.)
INSIDE THE SERIES
Overall: K-State leads 17-7
vs. SEC: K-State leads 158-146 (28-17 at neutral sites)
In Kansas City: K-State leads 3-1 (last meeting: 3/14/2008)
Current Streak: K-State, 2
Last Meeting: K-State won 76-70 in College Station (2/28/2012)
Weber vs. Texas A&M: First meeting
Weber vs. Kennedy: First meeting
LAST GAME SUMMARY
K-State 73, Savannah State 53
Game 10 * Bramlage Coliseum * December 14, 2014
K-State connected on a season-high 70 percent from the field in the second half, as the Wildcats earned their fifth straight win at home with a 73-53 victory over Savannah State on Sunday. Overall, the squad connected on 58.5 percent of their field goals and recorded an assist on 19 of 24 made field goals. The win also extended the school’s streak of consecutive home wins in the month of December to 38. The Wildcats are now a perfect 5-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points and when shooting better than 50 percent from the field, while they moved to 30-3 under coach Bruce Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less. Senior Nino Williams paced three Wildcats in double figures with a career-tying 20 points to go with a team-leading 7 rebounds, while sophomore Marcus Foster and
senior Thomas Gipson added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
GAME 11 - QUICK HITTERS
• K-State (6-4) returns from its 5-day exam break on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to former Big 12 rival Texas A&M (7-2) at Kansas City’s Sprint Center in the seventh Wildcat Classic. The game will air nationally on ESPNU with Dave Armstrong and Rich Zvosec.
• Despite its distance from the K-State campus, Saturday will count as a home game, as the school controls the tickets and game operations.
• The Wildcats have a long history in Kansas City, which dates back to a 45-26 loss to the Kansas City Athletic Club on Feb. 23, 1926. Overall, the school has played 182 games in the city with a 106-76 (.582) record.
• K-State will be playing its 20th overall game in the Sprint Center and ninth regular season non-conference contest. The Wildcats have a 10-9 record in the building, which includes a 4-6 mark in the annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship (2008-present) and 0-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
• This will be the team’s first regular-season game in the Sprint Center since a 67-61 win over No. 8 Florida on Dec. 22, 2012 and the first overall since a 91-85 loss to No. 16 Iowa State in 2014 Big 12 Championship.
• K-State has a 5-1 record in the Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center, which began with an 87-60 win over Florida A&M on Dec. 4, 2007. The last loss in the Classic came to UNLV, 63-59, on Dec. 21, 2010, while it has wins over SEC foes Alabama (2011) and Florida (2012) in its last 2 contests.
• This will be the 25th meeting with Texas A&M and the first since 2012. K-State leads the series, 17-7, which dates to 1960. This will be the 5th meeting in Kansas City between the schools with the Wildcats holding a 3-1 edge, while the Aggies did win the last meeting and only one in the Sprint Center, 63-60, in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Big 12 Championship.
• K-State is now 6-4 after consecutive home wins last week over Bradley (50-47) and Savannah State (73-53). Senior Nino Williams, who won Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career on Monday, led the way in both wins, averaging 17 points on 56.3 percent shooting to go with 9.5 rebounds in 32.5 minutes per game.
• K-State is averaging 71.5 points on 47 percent shooting, including a Big 12-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range. The squad ranks among the Top 30 in 3 categories nationally, including 9th in free throw attempts (274), 12th in free throws (187) and 29th in 3-point field goal percentage.
• K-State is averaging 79.3 points on 53.6 percent shooting in its 6 wins and 59.8 points on 37.6 percent shooting in its 4 losses.
THE OPPONENT: TEXAS A&M (7-2)
• Texas A&M enters Saturday’s game with a 7-2 record after posting an 81-63 win over Youngstown State at home on Dec. 13... After losing to Dayton in the opening game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the Aggies rattled off wins over College of Charleston, New Mexico, New Orleans, Sam Houston State and Arizona State before a 77-63 loss at Baylor on Dec. 9... The team is 5-0 at home.
• The Aggies are averaging 72.7 points on 48.8 percent shooting, including 37.4 percent from 3-point range, on the season with 35.1 rebounds, 16.7 assists, 7.1 steals and 3.1 blocks per game... They are allowing opponent 62.6 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent from beyond the arc... The team is shooting 62.2 percent from the free throw line.
• Texas A&M is a balanced scoring team with 5 players averaging better than 7 points per game led by junior Jalen Jones’ 13.4 points per game average... The SMU transfer who has connected on 50 percent of his field goals is the team’s leading rebounder (6.1 rpg)... Houston transfer Danuel House, who has played in 6 games since becoming eligible, is second in scoring at 12.7 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting to go with a team-tying 12 3-pointers... Junior point guard Alex Caruso leads the way in both assists (5.9 apg.) and steals (2.2 spg.) while averaging 9.0 points on 56.6 percent shooting.
• Texas A&M returns 8 lettermen, including 4 starters, from a team that posted an 18-16 record in 2013-14.
• Texas A&M is led by 4th-year head coach Billy Kennedy, who has posted a 57-51 record during his tenure... He is in his 17th season as a head coach, which includes stints at Centenary (1997-99), SE Louisiana (1999-2005) and Murray State (2006-11).
BREAKING DOWN THE SERIES
• Saturday’s game will mark the 25th meeting between K-State and Texas A&M on the hardwood.
• K-State leads the series, 17-7, with wins in 4 of the last 5 meetings, including a series sweep in 2012.
• This will be just the 5th non-conference meetings between the schools after they played 20 times as Big 12 foes from 1997-2012... K-State won each of the previous 4 non-conference games, including an 83-57 win in Kansas City on Dec. 28, 1990.
• This will be the 5th meeting between the schools in Kansas City with K-State holding a 3-1 mark (1990, 1999, 2005, 2008)... Aside from the 1990 win, the Wildcats posted wins at the 1999 (87-76) and 2005 (68-62) Big 12 Championships... Texas A&M won the only meeting in the Sprint Center, 63-60, in the quarterfinals of the tournament on March 14, 2008.
• K-State is 158-146 all-time against teams from the SEC, including 83-48 in home venues.
LONG HISTORY IN KANSAS CITY
• K-State has a long and storied history of playing games in Kansas City, which dates back over 85 years to a 45-26 loss to the Kansas City Athletic Club on Feb. 23, 1926... Overall, the Wildcats have played 182 games in the city with a 106-76 (.582) record.
• Some of K-State’s greatest moments on the basketball court have come in Kansas City with 3 of the school’s 4 Final Four appearances (1948, 1951, 1964) and 7 holiday tournament titles (1947, 1950, 1952, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963) being contested at Municipal Auditorium to go with 2 postseason Big Eight crowns (1977, 1980) at Kemper Arena.
• A holiday tournament was started in 1943 with several area teams and it eventually evolved into the annual Big 6/7/8 Holiday Tournament at Municipal Auditorium... The Big Eight played a holiday tournament as well as its postseason tournament in the city for three seasons, starting in 1976-77, before playing just a postseason classic in 1979-80.
• The Wildcats played at least one game in Kansas City in the Big 8/12 Tournament for 26 seasons (1976-2002) until it moved to Dallas in 2003... The Big 12 moved the championship back to the city in 2005 and then again to the Sprint Center in 2007, where it has been contested 6 times in the last 7 seasons... The team advanced to the Big 12 Championship in 2010 and 2013.
SPRINT CENTER HISTORY
• K-State will be playing its 20th game in the Sprint Center and 9th regular season non-conference contest... The Wildcats have a 10-9 record, which includes a 4-6 mark in the Big 12 Championship (2008-) and 0-1 in the NCAA Tournament... The team also went 1-1 in the Sprint Center during the 2010 CBE Classic, defeating No. 18 Gonzaga, 81-64, and losing to No. 1 Duke, 82-68.
• K-State has a 5-1 record in the Wildcat Classic at the Sprint Center, which began with an 87-60 win over Florida A&M on Dec. 4, 2007... The last loss in the Classic came to UNLV, 63-59, on Dec. 21, 2010, while it has wins over SEC foes Alabama (2011) and Florida (2012) in its last two contests... Other wins include Southern Miss (2008) and IUPUI (2009).
• This will be the Wildcats’ first regular-season game in the Sprint Center since defeating No. 8 Florida, 67-61, on Dec. 22, 2012 and the first overall since a 91-85 loss to No. 16 Iowa State in the 2014 Big 12 Championship quarterfinals on March 13... The team has lost their last 3 games in the building with the last win coming over Oklahoma State on March 15, 2013.
• K-State has posted a 96-25 record in non-conference play dating back to 2006-07.
• K-State is 10-9 at the Sprint Center, including 6-2 in regular season non-conference games.
• K-State has a 70-3 record at home in non-conference play in that span, including a 68-2 mark during the regular season.
• The Wildcats are 27-9 in non-conference play under head coach Bruce Weber, including 17-1 in home games.
• K-State posted a 10-3 record in non-conference play in 2013-14, tallying 8 consecutive wins and 7 straight wins at home.
• K-State has totaled at least 10 wins in non-conference play in each of the last 8 seasons, including 13 in 2009-10.
TEAM OFFENSIVE NOTES
• Kansas State is averaging 71.5 points on 47 percent shooting (232-of-494), including a Big 12-best 40.5 percent (64-of-158) from 3-point range, to go with 14.7 assists per game... The team has an assist on 63.4 percent of their field goals.
• In the Big 12, the Wildcats rank 7th in scoring offense, 3rd in field goal percentage and 1st in 3-point field goal percentage.
• The team averages 27.0 points in the paint, 19.7 bench points, 17.2 points off of turnovers and 9.1 second-chance points.
• K-State has connected on 50 percent or better from the field in 5 games and shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range on 4 occasions... The team has also scored 80 or more points in 4 contests, the most through 10 games since 2009-10.
• The 98 points in the season opener against Southern Utah (11/14/14) were the most in the Bruce Weber era, surpassing the 87 against Central Arkansas (12/1/13), and the most since scoring 100 against North Florida (12/31/10)... The 98 points were also the most in an opener since scoring 103 vs. Texas-San Antonio (11/23/91) and the 4th-most overall a season opener.
• The Wildcats also posted Bruce Weber era highs for field goal percentage (58.7), 3-point field goal percentage (55.6), free throws made (34) and attempted (48) in the win over Southern Utah (11/14/14)... The 58.7 field goal percentage is the highest by a Wildcat team since shooting 60.3 percent (35-of-58) vs. North Carolina Central (2/17/09).
• K-State has posted the top 3 field goal percentages of the Bruce Weber era this season vs. Southern Utah (58.7), Savannah State (58.5) and UMKC (58.3).
INDIVIDUAL OFFENSIVE NOTES
• K-State has 3 players averaging in double figures (Marcus Foster, Nino Williams and Thomas Gipson), while 9 players have had at least one double-digit scoring game... Six players scored in double figures in the opener against Southern Utah, which was the most since 6 also scored in twin figures against North Carolina Central (2/17/09).
• All 3 rank in the Big 12’s Top 20 in scoring at 6th (Foster/15.3 ppg.), 12th (Williams/12.8 ppg.) and 18th (Gipson/11.3 ppg.).
• K-State has tallied 64 3-pointers with 8 players collecting at least one trey... Marcus Foster leads the way with a Big 12-leading 33 triples on 47.1 percent shooting, while freshman Tre Harris is connecting on a team-best 55.6 percent (10-of-18).
• In the NCAA, Foster ranks 24th in 3-point field goals/game (3.3) and 25th in 3-point field goal percentage.
• Foster ranks 1st in the Big 12 in 3-pointers/game and 3rd in 3-point field goal percentage.
• Williams has scored in double figures in 6 of 8 games played this season, including a personal-best 4 straight.
• Point guard Jevon Thomas ranks in the Top 10 in assists (5th/4.2 apg.) and assist-to-turnover ratio (9th/1.8).
• Point guard Nigel Johnson ranks 8th in the Big 12 in steals (1.8 spg.) and 13th in assists (2.6 apg.).
• K-State has also taken advantage of its opportunities at the free throw line, as the Wildcats rank 12th nationally in free throws made (187) and 9th in free throw attempts (274)... The team is shooting 68.2 percent from the charity stripe.
• Both totals rank in the Big 12’s Top 2, including a tie with TCU for attempts and 2nd in makes behind Kansas.
• K-State averages 18.7 free throws (2nd) and 27.4 free throw attempts (2nd) per game, which ranks in the Big 12’s Top 2.
• The 34 free throws and 48 attempts vs. Southern Utah (11/14/14) were not only the most in the Bruce Weber era, but both were one shy of the Top 10 in school history... Both totals are the most since a game at Colorado (1/6/2010), in which, the squad connected on 38 free throws on 54 attempts... The totals at Colorado rank 4th (makes) and 3rd (attempts) in school history.
• Senior Thomas Gipson ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in both free throws made (49) and free throws attempts (63), while he is 11th in free throw percentage (77.8)... Only Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash has more makes (67) and attempts (83) in the Big 12.
SECOND HALF SIZZLE
• K-State is averaging 41.1 points in the 2nd half this season on 53.4 percent shooting (134-of-251), including 48.8 percent (39-of-80) from 3-point range... The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 411-370, in the 2nd half.
• K-State has connected on better than 50 percent from the field in the 2nd half of 7 games, including 60 percent or better on 5 occasions... The team is averaging 45.3 points on 61.8 percent shooting in the 2nd half of its 6 wins this season.
• K-State connected on 70 percent (14-of-20) of its field goals in the 2nd half in the win over Savannah State (12/14/14), which marked the 19th time in school history that a Wildcat team has connected on 70 percent or better from the field... It marked the highest field goal percentage in a half since shooting 71.4 percent (15-of-21) at Iowa State on Jan. 7, 2006.
• Six players are averaging 3.0 points or better in the 2nd half led by Marcus Foster (9.3 ppg. on 58.5%) and Thomas Gipson (7.3 ppg. on 71.4%)... 7 of the 11 players to score in the 2nd half are shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
• In comparison, K-State is averaging 30.4 points in the 1st half this season on 40.3 percent shooting (98-of-243), including 32.1 percent (25-of-78) from beyond the arc... The squad is out-scoring their opponents, 304-292, in the opening half.
• There is a stark contrast for K-State in its 6 wins versus its 4 losses in 2014-15.
• K-State is averaging 79.3 points in its 6 wins on 53.6 percent shooting (155-of-289), including 48.4 percent (44-of-91) from 3-point range, while allowing opponents 64.3 points on 44.4 percent shooting, including 35.8 percent from beyond the arc.
• In contrast, K-State is averaging 59.8 points in its 4 losses on 37.6 percent shooting (77-of-205), including 29.9 percent (20-of-67) from 3-point range, while allowing 69 points on 48.2 percent shooting, including 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.
• Three Wildcats are averaging in double figures in the 6 wins, including Marcus Foster (15.8 ppg./52.5 FG%), Nino Williams (15.8 ppg./58.3 FG%) and Thomas Gipson (12.0 ppg./75 FG%), while 3 others (Nigel Johnson, Stephen Hurt and Justin Edwards) are averaging 8 or more points... In all, 5 of the 6 players are shooting better than 50 percent in those 6 wins.
• Only 2 Wildcats are averaging in double figures in the 4 losses (Foster - 14.5 ppg., and Gipson - 10.3 ppg.).
• K-State is averaging 18.3 assists during its wins compared to just 9.3 assists in its losses.
• Point guards Jevon Thomas and Nigel Johnson have compiled a 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio in the 6 wins, which includes a combined 52 assists to 20 turnovers... The duo has a 1.23 ratio in the 4 losses with a combined 16 assists and 13 turnovers.
POINTS OFF OF TURNOVERS
• K-State has taken advantage of its opponents’ mistakes, scoring 172 points off of 143 turnovers in the first 10 games.
• The 172 points represents nearly one-quarter of the 715 points, as the team is averaging 17.2 points per game off of turnovers.
• K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in 3 games, including back-to-back games to start the season vs. Southern Utah and UMKC... It marked the first time that K-State has tallied 20 or more points off of turnovers in consecutive games since posting 20 against TCU (1/16/13) and 26 against Oklahoma (1/19/13) during the 2012-13 season.
• The 30 points scored off of turnovers against Southern Utah (11/14/14) in the season opener were the most since scoring 33 against Texas (1/30/13) and tied for the 9th-most since the stat began being kept in 2000-01.
• The Wildcats averaged 12.2 points off of turnovers in 2013-14, including just 3 games of 20 or more points.
• K-State has put up some impressive defensive numbers under head coach Bruce Weber, leading the Big 12 in scoring defense each of the past 2 seasons (60.4 ppg. in 2012-13 and 65.4 ppg. in 2013-14).
• 33 opponents have been held to 60 points or less in Weber’s two seasons as head coach with the Wildcats boasting a 30-3 mark in those contests (only losses to Kansas in 2012 and Northern Colorado and Kentucky in 2013).
• 15 Big 12 opponents have been held to 60 points or less (13 in regular-season Big 12 play) with the Wildcats posting a 14-1 record in those matchups, including a 12-1 mark in Big 12 play (only loss to Kansas in 2012).
• K-State has had a difficult start defensively to start the season, allowing 66.2 points on 45.9 percent shooting, including 36.8 percent from 3-point range... The squad ranks 9th in the Big 12 in scoring defense and 10th in field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, rebounding (32.8) and blocked shots (2.6).
• Those numbers have improved in the past 2 games, where they are holding opponents to 50 points on 39.4 percent shooting, including 32 percent from 3-point range, while limiting them to 13 assists and 28 turnovers.
FOSTER CONTINUES WHERE HE LEFT OFF
• Sophomore Marcus Foster leads the way in scoring at 15.3 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting (49-of-111), including 47.1 percent (33-of-70) from 3-point range... He has scored in double figures in 8 games, including 20-point games vs. Purdue (24), No. 3/4 Arizona (23) and Tennessee (23)... It is the 4th time has had 20+ points in consecutive games.
• Foster currently ranks 6th in the Big 12 in scoring, 3rd in 3-point field goal percentage and 1st in 3-point field goals made.
• Foster leads the Wildcats in 8 categories, including scoring, double-digit scoring games (8), 20-point games (3), field goals (49), field goals attempted (111), 3-point field goals (33), 3-point field goals attempted (70) and minutes (29.7).
• In the NCAA, Foster ranks 13th in 3-point field goals made (33), 24th in 3-point field goals/game (3.3), 25th in 3-point field goal percentage and 31st in 3-point field goals attempted (70).
• Foster tied a career-high with 7 treys at Tennessee (12/6/14), which he also hit against Baylor (3/8/14) last season... The 7 triples tie for the 4th-most in a game in school history and the most in a non-conference game since Rodney McGruder made 7 vs. UMKC (12/23/2010)... Four of Foster’s 7 3-pointers came in the last 57 seconds of the game.
• It marked the 4th time he has had 4 or more 3-pointers in a game this season, including 6 vs. No. 3/4 Arizona (11/25/14), 5 vs. Purdue (11/24/14) and 4 vs. UMKC (11/17/14)... He has had 4+ 3-pointers in 13 career games.
• Foster now has 112 3-pointers his K-State career, which is just 4 shy of the career Top 10.
• Foster has scored in double figures in 35 of his 43 career games, including 11 20-point outings... He led in scoring 20 times.
• Thomas Gipson has displayed that all important senior leadership, ranking 3rd in scoring (11.3 ppg.) and rebounding (4.5 rpg.), while shooting a team-best 69.6 percent (32-of-46) from the field and 77.8 percent (49-of-63) from the charity stripe.
• Gipson ranks 18th in the Big 12 in scoring and 11th in free throw percentage.
• In the Big 12, only Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash has more free throws made (67) and attempted (83).
• Gipson, who played in his 100th career game in the opener against Southern Utah, has scored in double figures in 14 of the last 19 games (including 5 times this season)... He saw his streak of 12 double-digit scoring games in a row end against Purdue (11/24/14)... He has led in scoring in 3 games... Ironically, he has scored 9 points in 3 other games this season.
• Gipson collected his fifth career 20-point game vs. UMKC (11/17/14) with a team-high 21.
• Gipson is closing in on 1,000 career points, as he enters Saturday with 985 points... He would become the 26th Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier, while he would be just the 12th player with 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
• Gipson’s career 53.7 field goal percentage is just outside the school’s Top 10 list and highest since Tony Kitt (54.5, 1998-2000).
BACK IN THE FOLD
• Senior Nino Williams made his return to the court vs. Long Beach State (11/21/14) after missing the exhibition and the first 2 games due to a knee injury... It marked just the second time in the last 3 seasons that he missed a game due to injury.
• Williams performed well despite the layoff, scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 field goals with 5 rebounds in 26 minutes vs. LBSU.
• Williams, who ranks 2nd in scoring (12.8 ppg.) and 1st in rebounding (5.1 rpg.), has scored in double-digits in 6 of his first 8 games, including a personal-best 4 consecutive games... He posted a career-tying 20 points vs. Savannah State (12/14/14).
• Williams collected his 2nd career double-double in the win over Bradley (12/9/14) with team-highs in both points (14) and rebounds (12)... It was his 1st double-double since a 15-point, 10-rebound vs. Baylor (2/15/14).
• For his efforts in the wins last week, Williams earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the 1st time in his career after averaging 17 points on 56.3 percent shooting (9-of-16) to go with 9.5 rebounds in 32.5 minutes per game... He also shot a stellar 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the free throw line... He also led the team in scoring and rebounding in both games.
• Williams also ranks 2nd in double-digit scoring games (6), minutes (27.9) and free throw percentage (76.3).
TWO BETTER THAN ONE
• Sophomore point guards Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas make an impressive 1-2 punch for the K-State backcourt... The duo have combined for 68 assists (to 33 turnovers) to go with 135 points on 45.8 percent shooting and 28 steals while playing 461 minutes in the first 10 games, as Thomas averages 26.6 minutes to Johnson’s 19.5 minutes per game.
• Thomas leads in assists (42) and ranks 3rd in steals (12), while Johnson leads the way in steals (16) and is 2nd in assists (26).
• Thomas ranks in the Big 12’s Top 10 in 2 categories, including 5th in assists (4.2 apg.) and 9th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8), while Johnson is in the Top 15 in both steals (1.6, 8th) and assists (2.6, 13th).
• The duo is even more impressive in the 6 wins, combining for 52 assists to 20 turnovers (2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio), as Johnson is averaging 9.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting and Thomas is averaging 6.8 points on 45.8 percent shooting.
• Johnson scored in double figures in the first 2 games, including a career and team-best 18 points in the opener vs. Southern Utah (11/14/14) and Thomas collected back-to-back double-digit scoring vs. Omaha (12/2/14) and Tennessee (12/6/14) to go with a combined 13 assists... Thomas dished out a season-best 9 assists vs. UMKC (11/17/14)
‘CATS PICKED 4TH IN BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
• Kansas State was selected to finish fourth in the preseason 2014-15 Big 12 Conference coaches’ poll released by the league office on Oct. 9. The Wildcats received 53 points to earn the nod in fourth place, just two points ahead of fifth-place Iowa State (51). The fourth-place prediction was the highest since the squad was selected as the preseason favorite in 2010-11.
• K-State was also chosen fourth in the preseason polls of 2007-08 and 2009-10.
• Kansas was picked as the conference favorite with 78 points and six first-place votes by the league coaches. Texas was a close second with 74 points and three first-place votes, while Oklahoma voted third with 67 points and the final first-place vote.
FOSTER NAMED PRESEASON CANDIDATE FOR WOODEN, NAISMITH
• Sophomore Marcus Foster was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the prestigious John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Nov. 17... He followed that distinction up by being named to the 50-player Watch List for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T on Dec. 3.
• Foster becomes the third Wildcat in the last four seasons to be selected as a preseason Top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, joining Jacob Pullen (2010) and Rodney McGruder (2012), while he joins Pullen and McGruder has the third Wildcat to receive mention for the Naismith Trophy... Both Pullen (2010) and McGruder (2012) made the Naismith Top 30 list.
• Foster was one of 10 Big 12 players selected to the Wooden Watch List and was one of nine named to the Naismith list.
• Foster was also recently selected to the Lute Olson Award Watch List, which is presented to the nation’s top Division I players who has played at least two seasons with his respective team. He is one of four Big 12 players on the list.
FOSTER NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
• Sophomore Marcus Foster was selected to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team released by the conference office on Oct. 2.
• Foster is the first Wildcat named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team since Rodney McGruder was selected to the squad in 2012. It marks just the fifth time that a Wildcat men’s basketball player has been named to the preseason team, joining Manny Dies in 1998-99, Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly in 2010-11 and McGruder in 2012.
• The honor marks the fourth of the preseason for Foster, as he was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team by a number of publications, including Athlon, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News.
• Foster was joined on the 5-man preseason team by unanimous choices Perry Ellis (Kansas) and Juwan Staten (West Virginia), along with Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) and Georges Niang (Iowa State).
• Staten was voted as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year and Bryce Dejean-Jones (Iowa State) was the Preseason Newcomer of the Year, while Cliff Alexander (Kansas) and Myles Turner (Texas) were selected as the Preseason Freshmen of the Year.