K-State returns to face Wagner Saturday

game information
kansas state (8-3)
vs. wagner (8-3)

Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tipoff: 1:07 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)
Capacity: 12,528

Series: First Meeting

Television: FSN Midwest           
Ben Boyle (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Doug Stanton (producer)
Satellite Channels: DirecTV 648; Dish Network 444

Radio: K-State Sports Network;
Powercat Passport Internet Audio;                    
Yahoo! Internet Radio;
Sirius Satellite 140
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Matt Walters (analyst)

Tickets: Tickets are available by calling (800) 221-CATS.  There are two Holiday Ticket Packs with special pricing for this game.

kansas state wildcats
Record: 8-3 (0-0 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): nr/nr
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 8-3/1
School Record: 8-3/1
vs. Wagner: First meeting
06-07 Record: 23-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Dec. 22, 2007
defeated Winston-Salem State, 90-48
SID: Tom Gilbert
Website: www.k-statesports.com 

wagner seahawks
Record: 8-3 (1-0 Northeast)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): nr/nr
Coach: Mike Deane
Alma Mater: Potsdam State, 74
Career Record: 401-288/23
School Record: 59-68/4
vs. Kansas State: 1-0 (at Siena)
06-07 Record: 11-19 (8-10 NEC)
Last game: Dec. 22, 2007
defeated Loyola Marymount, 82-79 (OT)
SID: John Beisser
Website: www.wagnerathletics.com

projected starters
Kansas State (8-3)
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (11.4 ppg., 3.6 apg.)
G - #2 Blake Young (7.6 ppg., 3.3 rpg.)
F - #4 Andre Gilbert (6.1 ppg., 3.1 rpg.)
F - #12 Bill Walker (12.6 ppg., 6.6 rpg.)
F - #30 Michael Beasley (26.3 ppg., 14.0 rpg.)

Wagner (8-3)
G - #5 Joey Mundweiler (12.0 ppg., 2.3 apg.)
G - #23 Mark Porter (15.8 ppg., 6.3 apg.)
F - #15 James Ulrich (9.3 ppg., 5.8 rpg.)
F - #20 Jamal Smith (9.7 ppg., 5.5 rpg.)
F - #25 Durell Vinson (13.9 ppg., 11.5 rpg.)

game preview
Kansas State (8-3) returns from its week-long holiday break on Saturday, as the Wildcats play host to Wagner (8-3) of the Northeast Conference at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 1 p.m.  It will be the first of two important tests for the squad in a three-day period, as the team will immediately board a flight following the game and head for Cincinnati, Ohio, to face Xavier (8-3) at the U.S. Bank Arena on Monday.

The Wildcats ran their winning streak to three games on Dec. 22, as the team posted a 90-48 win over Winston-Salem State behind a career-high 40-point effort from freshman phenom Michael Beasley.  For his efforts, Beasley was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. 

Saturday’s game could mark the debuts of freshmen Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton, who joined the team on Wednesday after successfully completing their eligibility requirements.  Both players are products of The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C., where the duo helped the Bulldogs to a 36-4 overall record and a third-place finish at the inaugural Prep School National Championship.  Sutton averaged 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and a team-leading 3.0 steals per game as a senior, while Samuels was the first player off the bench.

The contest will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Midwest (DirecTV 648, Dish Network 444) with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action.  The viewing area is restricted to the state of Kansas and the Kansas City area by Big 12 Conference regulations.  It will be the sixth of 10 appearances on the network and one of a school-record 29 televised contests.  The team is 14-1 over the past two seasons on FSN Midwest. 

The game will also be broadcast on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 140) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) behind the mikes.

the book on kansas state
Kansas State posted its most lopsided victory of the season in the win over Winston-SalemState, thanks in part to an inspired second half effort.  Leading by just eight at the break, the Wildcats exploded for a season-high 51 second-half points on 54.5 percent shooting, including 50 percent from 3-point range, while holding the Rams to just 17 points on 24 percent shooting.  It was the fewest points allowed and lowest shooting percentage by an opponent in a half this season. 

Beasley was just as impressive in the second half, scoring 28 of his 40 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, with nine rebounds and three blocks in just 12 minutes.  He scored 24 of the team’s first 29 points of the half.  Senior Clent Stewart was the only other Wildcat in double figures with a season-high 14 points.

After earning their first preseason ranking since 1975, Kansas State dropped out of The Associated Press Top 25 on Dec. 3 after a four-week run.  The four-week run in the poll was the longest by the team since the 1981-82 squad also spent four consecutive weeks in the poll from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, 1982.  

The team is averaging 79.5 points on 43.1 percent shooting with 44.9 rebounds, 16.6 assists, 8.0 steals and 4.2 blocks per game, while holding their foes to 68.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting.  Three players are averaging in double figures led by Michael Beasley, who ranks sixth nationally in scoring at 26.3 points per game.

Beasley, who paces the nation in rebounding at 14.0 per game, is shooting a team-high 57.1 percent from the field, including 40.7 percent from 3-point range to go with 2.0 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.7 minutes per game.  He has registered a double-double in every game this season and has posted 30 or more points in five of 11 games.  Beasley leads the team in 11 categories, including scoring, field goals (109), free throws (60), rebounds, blocks and minutes. 

His 40 points against Winston-Salem were the most by a Wildcat since Askia Jones tallied a school-record 62 points against Fresno State in the second round of the Postseason NIT on March 24, 1994.  He is the ninth Wildcat in school history to record a 40-point game, while his 40-point effort ties Mike Evans (40 vs. Colorado, 1/15/77) for the eighth-highest scoring total in a single game.  In addition, the 40 points are the most-ever by a freshman, surpassing the 39 scored by Norris Coleman against Colorado on Jan. 18, 1986.

Beasley is one of three players averaging in double figures for the Wildcats, including fellow freshmen Bill Walker (12.6 ppg.) and Jacob Pullen (11.4 ppg.).  Walker, who posted his second career double-double against California, is second in scoring and rebounding (6.6 rpg.) and has now scored in double figures in 10 of 15 career games, including six of nine games this season.  Pullen, who tied his career-high with 19 in back-to-back wins against UCF and Rider at the Old Spice Classic, is first in assists (3.6 apg.) and steals (1.6 spg.) and is third in scoring.  He has scored in double figures in eight games.

ticket information
Season tickets are sold out for the season, however, there will be selected tickets that have gone unclaimed from the student allotment available for purchase on an individual-game basis. 

The athletic department is still offering two Holiday Ticket Packs with special pricing on one men’s basketball game and one women’s basketball game during this holiday season.  For just $50, fans may purchase four tickets to Saturday’s game for a savings of $30 from regular pricing for the contest.  The Holiday Pack tickets are located in general admission seating Sections 19-25 of Bramlage Coliseum.  Also, for just $20 fans can purchase four general admission tickets to the women’s Western Illinois game on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Best of all is the Ultimate Holiday Pack.  Fans may purchase four tickets to both games for just $70, a savings of $50.

the book on wagner (8-3)
Wagner enters Saturday’s contest with an 8-3 record after running its winning streak to three games with a dramatic 82-79 overtime victory over Loyola Marymount on Dec. 22.  Tied at 69 entering overtime, the Seahawks converted on 71.4 percent from the field, including 66.7 percent from 3-point range, in the extra period to gain their third consecutive road victory of the season.  Senior Mark Porter led three players in double figures, including two with 20 or more points, with a team-high 26 points on 10-of-18 field goals.  Junior Joey Mundweiler chipped in 20 points, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. 

Wagner is averaging 72.9 points on 45.7 percent shooting, including 31.6 percent from 3-point range, with 39.9 rebounds, 14.8 assists, 7.0 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.  The team is holding opponents to 71.0 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting from the field.  Porter paces three starters in double figures with 15.8 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting, while senior Durell Vinson averages a double-double with 13.9 points on 58 percent shooting and a team-high 11.5 rebounds.  Mundweiler adds 12.0 points per game, including a team-high 30 3-point field goals.  Two other starters, Jamal Smith (9.7 ppg.) and James Ulrich (9.3 ppg.), average over 9.0 points per game. 

Wagner returns seven lettermen, including four starters, from a team that compiled an 11-19 record and an 8-10 mark in the Northeast Conference in 2006-07.  Since opening the year with a 1-2 record, the Seahawks have captured wins in seven of their last eight games, including road wins at Brown, Yale and Loyola Marymount. 

The team is led by veteran head coach Mike Deane, who captured his 400th career victory against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec 15.  Deane, who has an overall record of 401-288 in his 24th season as a coach, has held head coaching positions at five institutions; Oswego State (1980-82), Siena (1986-94), Marquette (1994-99), Lamar (1999-2003) and Wagner (2003-current).  He is 59-68 in his fourth season at the helm of the Seahawks. 

Deane is 1-0 all-time against Kansas State, as his 1993-94 Siena squad defeated the Wildcats, 92-79, in the consolation game of the Postseason NIT at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 1994. 

series vs. wagner
This will mark the first all-time meeting between Kansas State and Wagner on the hardwood.  The Wildcats have a 7-3 record all-time against members of the Northeast Conference.  All three losses came against Long Island University between 1948 and 1950.  The squad has since won games against Central Connecticut State (1993), Fairleigh Dickinson (2001), Monmouth (2002) and Saint Francis (1970).  This will be the first meeting with a school from that league since the Wildcats defeated Monmouth, 73-64, on Dec. 29, 2002.

turning up the offense
Since posting a season-low 59 points against Notre Dame on Dec. 4, Kansas State has turned up its offense in the last three games.  The squad is averaging 86.3 points on 44.3 percent shooting (82-of-185), including 35.2 percent from 3-point range (19-of-54), during that span after averaging 76.9 points on 42.6 percent shooting, including 25.9 from beyond the arc, in the first eight contests.  The Wildcats have scored 80 or more points in three consecutive games for the first time since doing it in four straight games in early December 2006.  Prior to last season, the team had scored 80 or more points in three consecutive games just three times prior to the 1990-91 season (3, 1990-91; 3, 1991-92; 3, 2004-05).

Despite its struggles in the early season, K-State has scored at least 75 points in nine of its 11 games this season.  The nine games of at least 75 points is one shy of the entire total from the 2006-07 season (10) and either equals or surpasses the total from the 1999-2000 (five), 2000-01 (four), 2001-02 (five), 2002-03 (eight), 2003-04 (eight), 2004-05 (nine) and 2005-06 (six) seasons.  The last time the school had more than 10 games of 75 or more points was the 1998-99 season, which produced 11 such contests.

samuels, sutton join squad
K-State head coach Frank Martin received a pair of belated holiday gifts on Wednesday when high school recruits Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton were cleared to begin competing for the Wildcats.

“It’s a real exciting time for me because these two young men have remained loyal to us throughout a difficult process,” said Martin.  “They have continued to work on getting their academic situations in order to be able to be here at K-State.  They both bring tremendous athleticism and toughness to our basketball team.  It’s going to be a crash course for them to come in and try and learn as fast as they can to catch up to the rest of the team.  However, they are the kind of young men that fit into what I like in players.  They care about nothing but winning.  They want to do whatever they can to help us win.”  

Both Samuels and Sutton come to Kansas State after playing at The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C., for head coach Chris Chaney.  The duo played a major role in helping the Bulldogs to a 36-4 overall record and a No. 3 national prep school ranking in 2006-07.  The squad advanced to the inaugural Prep School National Championship, where they lost in the semifinals to the eventual national champions Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep, led by future teammate Michael Beasley.

Sutton averaged 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and a team-leading 3.0 steals per game as a senior, while Samuels was the first players off the bench for the Bulldogs.  Both players starred on the AAU circuit with the DC Assault alongside Beasley and Ron Anderson.   

A 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Washington, D.C., Samuels played just one season at The Patterson School after a stellar playing career at Archibishop Carroll High School.  He averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocks per game as a junior, while he averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as a sophomore.
 
A 6-foot-4, 195-pound shooting guard from Durham, N.C., Sutton was rated among the top players in the country in 2006, including the No. 57 overall prospect by Scout.com and No. 131 prospect in the Rivals150 by Rivals.com.  He was also ranked among the top-50 at his position by a number of outlets, including No. 11 by Scout.com, No. 21 by High School Hoops magazine and No. 39 by Rivals.com.  In addition, he was rated the No. 2 in North Carolina by Rivals.com.

Sutton played two year for The Patterson School after transferring from Durham Jordan High School.  As a sophomore, he averaged 19.7 points in guiding the Falcons to a 19-8 overall record and the 4-A Western Regional semifinals.  He was named to AP All-State second team and was the Durham Sun-Herald Player of the Year.

Sutton will receive the final scholarship for 2007-08 season, while Samuels will be a walk-on until receiving a scholarship for the 2008-09 season.  Samuels will wear No. 21 and Sutton will don the No. 23.

taking advantage of the charity stripe
In recording 80 or more points in each of the last three games, Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line.  The team is averaging 25.3 points from the charity stripe (on an average of 35 attempts) during its three-game winning streak, while hitting on over 70 percent of its opportunities.  In comparison, the squad averaged just 14.9 points from the line in the first eight games on 23.4 attempts for just an 63.6 percentage.  The team has not posted on 20 or more free throws in three consecutive games since doing it in against Wichita State (23), Oklahoma (25) and Southern Utah (25) in games 12-14 during the 1991-92 season.

This season, the Wildcats have hit on 20 or more free throws in six of 11 games, including a season-high 28 in their 82-75 win over
previously unbeaten California on Dec. 9.  The team is averaging 21.1 points (on 31.3 attempts) from the charity stripe in its eight wins and just 8.7 points (on 14 attempts) in its three losses.   

cats solid in december
Kansas State is 433-222 (.661) all-time in the month of December, including wins in 28 of its last 36 games.  The loss to Notre Dame ended the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak in the month that dated back to the an 84-83 defeat at Colorado State on Dec. 2, 2006.  The win over California gave K-State nine straight wins at home in the month dating back to a win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2005.

cats good inside the arc
Kansas State has proven to be better inside the 3-point arc this year, converting on 50.0 percent (245-of-491) of its 2-point field goals.  The team has connected on 50 percent or better from inside the arc in six of 11 games, including a season-high 56 percent (28-of-50) against George Mason (11/22).   Four of the Wildcats’ top-6 scorers also prove to more effective inside the 3-point arc, including freshman forward Michael Beasley (59.8; 98-of-164), freshman guard Jacob Pullen (53.1, 26-of-49), senior guard Clent Stewart (48.7; 18-of-37) and junior forward Andre Gilbert (46.9; 15-of-32).   

non-conference success
The win against Winston-Salem gave the Wildcats’ at least eight non-conference wins for the 23rd time in the last 27 seasons, including each of the last six seasons.  A victory also guaranteed the program a winning record in non-league play for the 36th straight season dating back to the 1972-73 season.  K-State has won 36 of its last 47 games against non-conference foes, including a remarkable 29-2 mark at home.  The Wildcats’ loss to Oregon on Nov. 29 was the team’s first to a home non-conference home opponent since 2004.

newcomers a big part of success
One of the nation’s top recruiting classes has been a big success so far for Kansas State, as the newcomers have posted over 60 percent of the Wildcats’ points (547) and blocks (30) and over 50 percent of the rebounds (274), steals (44) and assists (87).  Most of these have come from freshman phenom Michael Beasley, who owns over 30 percent of the team’s points (289) and rebounds (154).  In all, three of the top-5 scorers and two of the top-3 rebounders are either freshmen or first-year players in the program.  If you include redshirt freshman Bill Walker, who played just six games last year, the totals increase to almost 75 percent of the points (660) and blocks (36) and over 65 percent of the rebounds (333) and steals (58).

okay, this guy’s pretty good
Freshman Michael Beasley earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season on Wednesday after recording a freshman school-record high 40 points in the win over Winston-Salem State on Dec. 22.  He went 14-of-22 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, with 15 rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal in 23 minutes.  He scored 28 of his 40 points in the second half, including 24 of the team’s first 29 of the half.

Beasley is the first Kansas State player to earn Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors twice in a season since David Hoskins did it twice during the 2005-06 season.  He became the first Wildcat to win Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week accolades since 2005 on Nov. 12 when he averaged 31.0 points and 19.0 rebounds in wins over Sacramento State and Pittsburg State to start the season.