K-State Returns to Face Wagner Tuesday

Game Information
Kansas State (8-3) vs. Wagner (7-3)

Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tipoff: 7:10 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (1988)
Capacity: 12,528
Series: K-State leads 1-0 (1-0 at home)

Television: FOX Sports Kansas City/ESPN Full Court/ESPN360
Ben Boyle (play-by-play)
Stan Weber (analyst)
Brian McCann (producer)
Satellite Channels: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 449

Radio: K-State Sports Network; Powercat Passport Internet Audio;   
Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 127
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)
Matt Walters (analyst)

Tickets: There are several Holiday Ticket Packs available by calling (800) 221-CATS or online at www.k-statesports.com.      

Kansas State Wildcats
Record: 8-3 (0-0 Big 12)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Frank Martin
Alma Mater: Florida International, 93
Career Record: 29-15/1
School Record: 29-15/1
vs. Wagner: 1-0
07-08 Record: 21-12 (10-6 Big 12)
Last game: Dec. 20, 2008
Defeated Centenary, 73-51
SID: Tom Gilbert
Website: www.k-statesports.com

Wagner Seahawks
Record: 7-3 (0-1 Northeast)
Ranking (AP/Coaches): --/--
Coach: Mike Deane
Alma Mater: Potsdam State, 74
Career Record: 424-294/25
School Record: 81-76/6
vs. Kansas State: 1-1
07-08 Record: 23-8 (15-3 NEC)
Last game: Dec. 28, 2008
Won at NJIT, 68-58
SID: John Beisser
Website: www.wagnerathletics.com

Projected Starters
Kansas State
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (6-0, 200, So.)
G - #21 Denis Clemente (6-1, 175, Jr.)
F - #32 Jamar Samuels (6-7, 215, RFr.)
F - #42 Darren Kent (6-11, 230, Sr.)
F - #50 Luis Colon (6-10, 265, Jr.)

Wagner
G - #5 Joey Mundweiler (6-3, 185, Sr.)
F - #20 Jamal Smith (6-5, 215, Sr.)
F - #33 Justin Drummond (6-6, 190, Sr.)
F - #34 Llewchean Radford (6-4, 230, Sr.)
F - #55 Michael Orock (6-7, 220, Jr.)

Game Preview
Kansas State (8-3) returns from its 10-day holiday break on Tuesday, as the Wildcats continue their homestand with a visit from Wagner (7-3) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 7 p.m.  It will be the first of three games in a seven-day stretch for the team before it begins Big 12 play on Saturday, Jan. 10 against No. 4 Oklahoma (12-0).

Tuesday’s contest will be the first for the Wildcats since running their homecourt winning streak to eight games with a 73-51 victory over Centenary on Dec. 20.  The squad was dismissed after that contest before it reconvened on Saturday, Dec. 27 to begin preparations for Tuesday’s contest.  The team once again used a balanced effort in the victory over the Gents, as six players scored five or more points led by senior Darren Kent’s career-high 24 points.  Kent collected not only career-highs in points, but also in field goals made (nine) and field goals attempted (14), to go with his third double-double this season.

Sophomore Fred Brown chipped in 14 points, while redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels was solid across the board with eight points, eight rebounds, career-high six assists and three blocks.
 
Kent became the seventh different Wildcat to lead the team in scoring this season.  The incredibly balanced team also has had nine different leaders in assists and six different leading rebounders.  Right now, seven players are averaging six or more points, while five players are averaging five or more rebounds.  There have been 38 double-digit scoring games thus far by eight different players.

The Wildcats have also been stout on the defense end, allowing just 61.5 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting.  The team has held six of its 11 opponents to 60 points or less, while holding its foes to below 40 percent shooting eight times.  Each of the last three opponents have been held to 55 points or less, including just 48 by Gardner-Webb on Dec. 14, while allowing the trio to shoot a combined 32.6 percent from the field, including 29.1 percent from 3-point range.  It is the fewest in a three-game stretch since December 2003.

The contest against Wagner will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City (DirecTV 672 and Dish Network 449) with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action.  Fans will also be able to watch the contest on the ESPN Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com  For more information on ESPN’s Full Court package as well as ESPN360.com, fans should consult ESPN’s website at http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncb/fullcourt/. It will the fifth of 12 appearances on the FSN Kansas City for the Wildcats this season and one of 26 regular-season contests that will be televised.

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 127) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) on the call.

Holiday Ticket Specials
K-State is offering three Holiday Ticket Packs with special pricing on three men’s basketball games and one women’s game during this holiday season.  For just $60, fans may purchase four tickets to any one of three men’s games including contests against Wagner, Idaho State on Saturday, Jan. 3 and Chicago State on Monday, Jan. 5.  That’s a savings of $20 from for each game.  Also, for $20 fans can purchase four general admission tickets to the women’s game with Central Arkansas on Saturday, Jan. 3.  Best of all is the Ultimate Holiday Pack.  Fans may purchase four tickets to all four games for just $150.  The Packs can be purchased at www.k-statesports.com, at the Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or by calling (800) 221.CATS.

Cats in December
Kansas State is 440-232 (.655) all-time in the month of December, including wins in 32 of its last 42 games.  The Wildcats have won 27 of their last 28 games at home in December dating back to the 2002-03 season, including their current 15-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 877 points in their first 11 games, an average of almost 80 points per game.  The team has scored 70 or more points in nine of 11 games, including each of the last four contests.  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 877 points are the fourth-most through 11 games in school history, trailing just the 1997-98 (944), 1952-53 (898) and 1986-87 (892) and just ahead of the 1976-77 (872) squad.  In fact, this year’s team joins four other 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 11 games for just the fifth time in its history, which also includes 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 61.5 points per game.  The Wildcats have held nine opponents to less than 70 points, including six to 60 points or less.  In addition, the squad has held its last three opponents to 55 points or less for the first time since the 2003-04 team held Wichita State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to 50 points each and Bethune-Cookman to 52 points on Dec. 10-22, 2003.  

The 676 points yielded this season are for the third-fewest through 11 games in the last 25 seasons, trailing the 2005-06 (666) and 2004-05 (674) teams and just ahead of the 1993-94 (677) squad.  The 75 points scored by Oregon on Dec. 6 are the most allowed by the team this season, which is the fewest through 11 games since the 2005-06 team also gave up 75 to Northern Illinois on Dec. 20, 2005.

This season, eight 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 set a low for opponent field goal percentage in consecutive games, allowing 31.3 percent to Southern Miss Dec. 11 before yielding 30.8 to Gardner-Webb Dec. 14.  
 
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 11 games, all 13 players that have seen action have tallied at least four points with 11 totaling double-digit points and five in triple digits.  Three players - sophomore Jacob Pullen, junior Denis Clemente and redshirt freshman Jamar Samuels - are averaging in double figures led by Pullen’s 14.4 points per game.  Seven players are averaging six or more points, including senior Darren Kent (9.8 ppg.), sophomore Fred Brown (9.5 ppg.), sophomore Dominique Sutton (7.9 ppg) and junior Luis Colon (6.1 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 seven different leading scorers in 11 games, including a league-best five players with 20-point outings.  In all, there have been 38 double-digit scoring games thus far with Pullen and Samuels doing it a team-best seven times in 11 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 Wildcats with three consecutive 20-point scoring games against Oakland, Kentucky and Iowa.  Colon and Kent led the team in scoring in two other games with Colon posting a team-high 18 points against Southern Miss on Dec. 11 and Kent collecting a career-high 24 points against Centenary on Dec. 20.

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 eight players averaging at least two boards per game.

Through 11 games, K-State is averaging 39.9 rebounds, including a Big 12-best 16.1 on the offensive end, with five players averaging five or more boards per game.  Three players - Ron Anderson, Luis Colon and Darren Kent - have grabbed double-digit rebounds six times with Kent averaging a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game. 

Kent has a team-leading three double-doubles thus far with 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri State on Nov. 16, 14 points and 10 rebounds against Cleveland State on Nov. 22 and 24 points and 10 rebounds against Centenary on Dec. 20.  Anderson and Colon each have one with Anderson tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds against Emporia State on Nov. 19 and Colon grabbing 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 causes breakdowns.

Pressure has been a big key for the Wildcats so far, as the team has scored 259 points (30 percent of their season total of 877 points) off 218 opponent turnovers.  The squad has also outscored its opponents 129-60 on fast-break opportunities.

Kansas State has scored 20 or more points off opponent turnovers in eight of the team’s 11 games, including 30 or more points twice with a season-best 41 against Gardner-Webb.  In its eight wins, the squad has outscored its foes, 203-92, in points off turnovers.  In all, the Wildcats have forced six opponents into 20 or more turnovers.  The team is averaging 7.7 steals per contest with eight players grabbing at least five led by Jacob Pullen’s team-high 22 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 11 games, have combined for 292 points on 40 percent shooting (102-of-256), including 34.5 percent from 3-point range (41-of-119), with 74 of the team’s 178 assists.  Pullen ranks first on the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game on 37.9 percent shooting with team-highs in field goals made (53), 3-point field goals made (24), assists (44), steals (22) and minutes (313).  Clemente is second in scoring at 12.2 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting and assists (30), while is second in minutes (271) and free throw percentage (79.2) and third in 3-point field goals (17).

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.

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 6.0 rebounds per game.  He is also averaging 9.8 points on 44.6 percent shooting (33-of-74) to go with 1.3 assists and 0.7 steals in 20.5 minutes per game. 

Kent, who entered the year averaging 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in his career, has totaled a team-best three double-doubles so far this year.  He had 15 points and 12 rebounds against SE Missouri State on Nov. 16 before posting 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in a win at Cleveland State on Nov. 22.  Kent grabbed his third on a career day against Centenary on Dec. 20 with career-best 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with a team-best 10 rebounds. 

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 6.1 points on a team-best 60.0 percent shooting with 5.1 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game. 
His 67 points are over half his entire total from his first two seasons, while his 56 rebounds are more than his entire total from 2007-08.
 
Colon 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 Bench
An unknown but talented player, redshirt freshman forward Jamar Samuels has become an impact player off the bench for the Wildcats.  Despite starting only one game this season, he is third in scoring at 10.2 points on  57.6 percent shooting with 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game.  Samuels and Jacob Pullen are the only players to score in double figures in seven of the first 11 games with a season-high 20 points against Gardner-Webb Dec. 14. 

Samuels scored in double figures in four consecutive games to start the season and has collected 10 or more points in three of the last five contests.  He has five or more rebounds seven games, including a season-best eight on three occasions.  Samuels was solid all-around in his first start against Centenary on Dec. 20 with eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and a career-tying three blocks in 27 minutes.   

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 is one of five players that have hit on 50 percent or better from the field, while he is second in steals (1.2 spg.) and third in rebounds (5.1 rpg.) and minutes (22.5 mpg.) and sixth in scoring (7.9 ppg.)

Sutton 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.

Wagner Update
Wagner enters Tuesday’s contest with a 7-3 record after running its winning streak to two with a 68-58 victory over NJIT on Sunday.  The team shot 47.3 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent in the first half, in its return to court after a seven-day holiday layoff.  Four players scored in double figures for the Seahawks in the win led by senior forward Jamal Smith’s 19-point effort, while senior forward Llewchean Radford added 13 points and a team-high six rebounds.  The team is 3-1 on the road with its lone loss coming at Columbia.

The Seahawks are averaging 70.7 points through 10 games on 47.4 percent shooting, including 38.6 percent from 3-point range, with 34.9 rebounds, 15.9 assists, 7.2 steals and 4.1 blocks per game.  The team averages over seven 3-point field goals made per game. 

Wagner is a balanced scoring squad with four players averaging nine or more points led by Jamal Smith’s 13.9 points per game.  Fellow senior Joey Mundweiler, a native of Olathe, Kan., and Olathe East High School, is second in scoring at 13.5 points to go with a team-best 30 3-point field goals, while Llewchean Radford is third at 13.0 points per game to go with a team-best 8.0 rebounds per contest. 
Another senior, Justin Drummond, leads in assists (4.0 apg.) and blocks (1.3 bpg.) and is fourth in scoring at 9.0 points per game. 

Wagner returns 10 lettermen, including two starters, from a team that finished the 2007-08 season with a school-best 23-8 overall record and a 15-3 mark in Northeast Conference play.  

The team is led by veteran head coach Mike Deane, who has a 424-294 overall record in his 25th season as a coach.  He 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 81-76 in his fifth season at the helm of the Seahawks. 

Deane is 1-1 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 Information
K-State and Wagner have met just once in their respective histories with the Wildcats posting a 101-59 win over the Seahawks on Dec. 29, 2007.  Freshman forward Bill Walker posted 27 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow freshman forward Michael Beasley added 21 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.  K-State is 8-3 all-time against teams from the Northeast Conference.

12-29-07 K-State 101-59 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.