Cats, Hawks Battle Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum

Game 11

Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-6) at Kansas State (7-3)

Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006

Bramlage Coliseum (13,340) in Manhattan, Kan.

 

Game Information:

Tipoff: 7:07 p.m. Central

Series: First Meeting
(12-0 vs. teams from Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

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

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 648, Dish Network 444

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 concludes home play in Las Vegas Holiday Classic Tuesday

Kansas State (7-3) concludes home play in the Findley Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Tuesday night as the Wildcats play host to Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-6) at Bramlage Coliseum at 7:07 p.m.


The team heads to Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 20 where they will play in the semifinals against USC (8-2) on Friday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. CT.  The tournament wraps on Saturday, Dec. 22 with a match-up against either No. 8 Wichita State (8-0) or New Mexico (6-2).


K-State looks to continue the momentum gained in the decisive 82-54 win over Kennesaw State on Sunday, which saw the Wildcats connect on 50 percent or better from the field for the third consecutive game.  It also marked the first time since the 1990-91 season that the squad has scored 80 or more points in four straight contests.


The game will be 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 (or via the internet at http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (color) on the call. 


K-State has won 25 of its last 32 games against non-conference opponents, including a 22-1 (.956) mark at home.  The Wildcats have won 16 consecutive games against non-league foes at home dating back to an 81-63 victory over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2004.


Noting the Kennesaw State game

*Kansas State is now 1-0 all-time against Kennesaw State and improved to 6-0 all-time against teams from the Atlantic Sun Conference... The Wildcats also moved to 6-0 all-time against teams from the state of Georgia (2-0 vs. Georgia State, 1-0 vs. Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Kennesaw State.


*K-State opened the game with 27-5 run in the first 10 minutes... During that stretch, the Wildcat defense held Kennesaw State to a 1-of-12 shooting mark and forced five turnovers... K-State led 34-5 before Kennesaw State made its second field goal of the first half at the 7:50 mark.


*Kansas State surpassed 80 points for the fourth consecutive game after dropping in 82 against Kennesaw State... The last time the Wildcats scored 80 or more points in four straight contests was games two through five from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8 of the 1990-91 season.


*K-State shot 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field against Kennesaw State and shot better than 50 percent for the third consecutive game... The last time the team shot 50 percent or better in three straight games was during the 2002-03 season.


*The Wildcats scored 55 points in the first half on 61.3 percent shooting... It was the highest output by the squad in a first half this season and the most for a half since scoring 58 against Missouri on Jan. 3, 1998... The defense smothered the Owls in the first half, holding Kennesaw State to 7 of 31 (.226) shooting... K-State’s 36-point halftime lead was the largest of the season.


*Freshman freshman Jason Bennett blocked three Owl shot attempts against Kennesaw State to push his season total to 25 and surpass Shawn Rhodes’ freshman record of 24 during the 1995-96 season... Bennett has record a blocked shot in 7 of 10 games this season, including a school-record tying six against California on Nov. 29... His current 2.5 blocks per game average ranks second in the Big 12.


*Junior forward David Hoskins paced the Wildcats across the board against Kennesaw State with team-highs in points (17), rebounds (7) and assists (5) in 23 minutes of action... It marked his third straight double figure scoring effort...  Senior forward Cartier Martin reached double figures for the eighth consecutive game and the 55th time in his career with 12 points, while freshman forward Bill Walker added 15 points in his college debut.

 

Offense Taking Flight

After struggling much of the season on the offensive end, Kansas State is beginning to find its rhythm.  The Wildcats have averaged 85.2 points on 52.8 percent shooting, including 40.8 percent from 3-point range, in the last four contests after averaging just 66.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting, including just 29.0 percent from beyond the arc, in the first six games.  The 341 points scored during the three-game stretch are the most by a K-State squad since totaling 367 points against Texas-San Antonio, Missouri-Rolla, Delaware State and Arkansas to open the 1991-92 season.  It also marked the first time since the 1990-91 season that the Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games. 

 

In doing so, the team has shot 50 percent or better in five of their last eight halves of basketball, including 60 percent or better in three of the last six halves.  Against Cleveland State on Dec. 9, Kansas State 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.  

 

Second Half Sensation

A key in Kansas State’s recent offensive surge has been its play in the second half.  The Wildcats have averaged 44.5 points on 53.8 percent shooting, including 45.9 percent from 3-point range, in the second half of the past four contests.  In the previous six contests, the team had averaged 34.7 points in the second half on 40.2 percent shooting, including just 28.3 percent from beyond the arc.  During the current stretch, K-State has nearly doubled its first-half points in two of the four contests, including a 29-point swing against Colorado State on Dec. 2 and a 21-point outburst against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  The Wildcats have also posted 50 or more points in two of the last four second halves, including 56 points against the CSU.  The team has been led by seniors Cartier Martin and Lance Harris in the last three second halves, where they are averaging 11.0 and 7.0 points, respectively.


Lift From The Bench

Kansas State has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 23.5 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last four contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 34.3 points off the bench and have outscored Colorado State, Cleveland State, North Dakota State and Kennesaw State by a 137-60 advantage.  The streak came on the heels of being outscored 67-47 off the bench in the previous three games against New Mexico, Coppin State and California

 

The most telling aspect of the bench play in the last three games is its diversity.  The team has gotten significant scoring from eight players, while one player - senior Akeem Wright - earned a starting job after averaing 10.0 points from the  bench against Colorado State and Cleveland State.  Senior Serge Afeli collected a career-high 14 points against Colorado State on Dec. 2, while junior Clent Stewart and Wright added nine and seven points, respectively.  Wright then posted a season-high 13 points against Cleveland State on Dec. 5, while freshmen Jason Bennett and Luis Colon chipped in 11 and nine points, respectively.  In his first reserve play in more than two years, senior Cartier Martin came off the bench to score 18 points against NDSU, while senior Jermaine Maybank added nine points on a perfect shooting performance.   

 

Road Reversal

After struggling for most of the past five seasons on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with victories in two of the first five non-conference road contests.  The Wildcats were a dismal 1-12 in non-conference road games heading into the 2005-06 season and now the team has doubled that total in just five games this season.  It also marks the first time since the 1997-98 season that the program has won two non-conference road tilts.  K-State snapped a five-game losing streak in a 55-41 win over Rutgers on Nov. 15.  It was the program’s first non-league 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.       

        

Impressive Debut

Sunday’s game marked the debut of highly-touted freshman forward Bill Walker and he did not disappoint.  With just two practices under his belt, he posted 15 points on 6-of-10 field goals against Kennesaw State on Dec. 17 with four rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes of action.  It was the most points by a true freshman in his debut since Marques Hayden scored 20 points against BYU on Nov. 23, 2002. He was only able to join the basketball squad on Dec. 16, the first day that a mid-year student-athlete can become eligible for athletic aid, practice and competition at Kansas State

Walker signed a financial aid agreement with the university on Nov. 3 and completed a one-hour course in the fall semester.  He joins the program after exhausting his athletic eligibility at North College Hill High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he guided the Trojans to two Division III state titles in 2004-05 and 2005-06.  He enrolled in an accelerated program through North College Hill and received his high school diploma this fall.    


A 6-foot-6, 225-pound small forward from Huntington, W. Va., Walker is one of the most highly-regarded high school recruits to ever join the Kansas State program.  A three-year starter at North College Hill, he helped the school to a 26-1 overall record, the state title and a No. 3 final ranking in the USA Today Super 25 High School rankings as a junior in 2005-06.  He averaged 21.7 points and 10.1 rebounds en route to earning recognition to the Parade magazine All-America Boys’ Basketball second team.  He was also named to the USA Today All-USA High School Boys’ Basketball All-Junior team and to the EA Sports High School Boys’ Basketball First Team.  He was named the most valuable player of the 2006 Ohio Division III state tournament, as he averaged 22.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game en route to helping the Trojans to the title. 

  

Walker will wear No. 12 at Kansas State, which was also worn by Wildcat legends Mike Evans (1974-78) and Lon Kruger (1971-74).  Both Evans and Kruger had their jerseys retired last year.


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 12.7 points on 49.0 percent shooting, including a team-best 43.1 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a career-best 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.7 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (22) and 3-point field goal percentage (43.1), while he is third in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in six of the 10 contests, including four of the last six.  He has also collected three 20-point efforts this year, including 22 against William & Mary on Nov. 11, a career-high 26 against Coppin State on Nov. 25 and 24 against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  Harris has connected on three or more 3-point field goals in five of 10 games.

           

Harris has been even more impressive in the last six games, where he is averaging 14.5 points on 57.1 percent shooting (32-of-56), including 50 percent from 3-point range (15-of-30) with 2.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 24.0 minutes per game.  He has topped double figures in four of the last six contests, including a pair of 20-point efforts.  Harris has shot 55 percent or better from the field in four of those games, including connecting on a career-best 80 percent (8-of-10) against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  He has also hit on at least two 3-point field goals in four of those games, including five against both Coppin State and NDSU, while he has shot 50 percent or better from beyond the arc with a career-high 83.3 percent against NDSU.    


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.  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 three Big 12 categories, including third in 3-point field goal percentage, sixth in 3-point field goals made (2.44) and 18th in scoring.


Young Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery

Junior guard Blake Young underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 11 at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kan.  He suffered a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee during the Wildcats’ scrimmage in late October.  With no risk of further damage, Young had been playing with the injury throughout the first nine games.  He is making a slow return to the court, playing just two minutes against Kennesaw State on Dec. 17.


Young has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats this season after transferring from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College, where he was an honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06.  The Orlando, Fla., native is averaging 7.9 points, a team-best 3.4 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals in a team-high 25.8 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 10 games this season, including dishing at least four assists in all but four contests.  Young posted a season-high six assists against Rutgers on Nov. 15. 

 

The Martin of Old

After averaging just 5.5 points on 33.3 percent shooting in the first two games, senior forward Cartier Martin has seemed to return to his old shooting touch that made him a second team All-Big 12 selection a year ago.  He has averaged 17.5 points in the last eight games on 45.5 percent shooting (50-of-110), including 38.1 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 game during that stretch, including a career-high 28 points on a career-best 10-of-19 field goals against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18.  He continued his double-digit scoring in each of the last eight 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, he has scored in double figures in 54 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 Tuesday’s game against North Dakota State with 1,098 career points, which now ranks 12th in school history, and needs 15 points to top Willie Murrell (1,112; 1963-64) for 11th place.  He needs 87 points to pass All-American Jack Parr (1,184; 1955-58) and crack the top-10.  A second team All-Big 12 performer by 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 79 consecutive games dating back to the Kansas game on Jan. 28, 2004.  He had his streak of 63 consecutive starts, which dated to November 27, 2004, end on Dec. 9 against North Dakota State.


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 a freshman-school record 25 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 three blocks against Kennesaw State, he broke the freshman mark for blocks in a season (24) set by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96 and now is just 35 away from eclipsing the school record of 59 set by Gerald Eaker in 1995-96.  Bennett’s 2.5 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 10 games, Kansas State is averaging 5.20 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 fourth in the Big 12, have recorded three or more blocks in nine of their 10 games, including six or more six times.


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.

 

The Book on Maryland-Eastern Shore

Maryland-Eastern Shore enters Tuesday’s game with a 1-6 record after opening the Las Vegas Holiday Classic with a 102-46 loss at No. 8/8 Wichita State on Sunday afternoon.  It was the Hawks’ first game since losing a tight 65-62 decision to Howard at home on Dec. 9.  The team began the season with three consecutive losses, including road losses at Navy and Virginia, before breaking the streak with a 64-58 road win at Stony Brook.  UMES then dropped back-to-back games, first on the road to George Washington, 79-56, then at home to Howard in its last outing.   


Maryland-Eastern
Shore
is averaging 61.0 points on 37.9 percent shooting with 31.4 rebounds and have four players averaging in double figures.  The Hawks have a very balanced scoring team with four players averaging 12 or more points.  The team is led by senior forward Antonio McMillion and sophomore guard Jesse Brooks, who are both averaging 13.9 points.  McMillion also leads the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg.) and free throws (31), while Brooks adds a team-high 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds in a team-high 35.0 minutes.  Senior Corey Brown averages 12.1 points on 43.8 percent shooting (including 38.9 percent from 3-point range) and a team-high 1.6 steals, while sophomore guard Ed Tyson adds 12.1 points per game.    


Head coach Larry Lessett has a 10-54 record in his third season as a head coach and at Maryland-Eastern Shore.

 

Series vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore

Kansas State and Maryland-Eastern Shore will be meeting for the first time in their respective histories.  The Wildcats are 12-0 all-time against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, including a 68-57 win over Coppin State on Nov. 25.  Besides the six wins over Coppin State, K-State has victories over Bethune-Cookman (twice), Delaware State, Florida A&M, Hampton and Howard.  Head coach Bob Huggins is 2-0 all-time against UMES.

  

Huggins No Stranger To Vegas 

Kansas State head coach Bob Huggins is no stranger to Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.  His Cincinnati teams played tournament games in Vegas on four occasions in his career - the Las Vegas Shootout in 1998-99 and 2000-01 as well as the Las Vegas Classic in 2001-02 and 2004-05.  The Bearcats also played in the Classic last season, in which the team captured the title with a win over eventual Final Four participant LSU with his former assistant coach Andy Kennedy at the helm.  Huggins also has a long-standing relationship with the organizers of the current tournament, which includes playing in the sponsored Puerto Rico Holiday Classic in 1996-97 and 2000-01, a precursor to the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.

 

Up Next: USC (8-2)

USC enters Tuesday’s second-round games with an 8-2 record after posting its third straight win with a 70-58 victory over Charleston Southern in the first round on Sunday.  Leading just 23-22 at the half, the Trojans shot an impressive 69 percent in the second half to earn the 12-point win over the Buccaneers.  Freshman forward Taj Gibson paced three players in double figures, including two with double-doubles, with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, while junior guard Nick Young chipped in 17 points.  Senior guard Lodrick Stewart added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Southern California is averaging 72.0 points on 46.5 percent shooting with 39.9 rebounds and have three players averaging in double figures.  Senior Lodrick Stewart and junior Nick Young pace the squad in scoring at 15.9 points per game, while freshman Taj Gibson adds 13.1 points per game on a team-best 57.6 percent shooting.  Gibson also averages a double-double with a team-best 10. 1 rebounds to go with 1.7 blocks.  No stranger to Kansas State from his days at Iowa State, head coach Tim Floyd has a 268-145 record in his 14th season as a head coach, including a 25-15 mark in his second season at USC.  Floyd has been a head coach at Idaho (1987-89), New Orleans (1989-94) and Iowa State (1995-98).