K-State Hosts Georgia on New Year's Eve
K-State Hosts Georgia on New Year's Eve
GEORGIA (7-3, 0-0 SEC)
at KANSAS STATE (7-5, 0-0 Big 12)
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 >> Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) >> 3 p.m. CT
Mitch Holthus (play-by-play)
Rich Zvosec (analyst)
K-State Sports Network
Brian Smoller (play-by-play)
Matt Walters (analyst)
Satellite: Sirius 158/XM 190
Stats - http://bit.ly/1yqDy3x
Audio - http://bit.ly/15rNnVB
$30 (bench), $45 (chairbacks)
Wildcat4Pack: $75 | $15 (12+group)
Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)
Overall: 367-181 (17th year)
at K-State: 54-26 (3rd year)
vs. Georgia: 2-1
Georgia: Mark Fox (E. New Mexico ‘91)
Overall: 215-123 (11th year)
at Georgia: 92-80 (6th year)
vs. K-State: 0-0
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (7-5)
G – #1 Jevon Thomas (7.1 ppg., 3.9 apg.)
G – #2 Marcus Foster (15.0 ppg., 2.2 rpg.)
G – #14 Justin Edwards (6.2 ppg., 3.3 rpg.)
F – #11 Nino Williams (13.0 ppg., 4.8 rpg.)
F – #42 Thomas Gipson (11.3 ppg., 4.2 rpg.)
G - #3 Juwan Parker (6.7 ppg., 1.3 apg.)
G - #4 Charles Mann (12.5 ppg., 3.8 apg.)
G - #12 Kenny Gaines (11.8 ppg., 3.2 rpg.)
F - #2 Marcus Thornton (14.9 ppg., 7.5 rpg.)
F - #42 Nemanja Djurisic (11.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg.)
INSIDE THE SERIES
Overall: K-State leads 1-0
vs. SEC: K-State leads 159-146 (84-48 at home venues)
In Manhattan: First meeting
Current Streak: K-State, 1
Last Meeting: K-State won 82-79 [OT] in Salt Lake City (3/12/1987)
Weber vs. Georgia: Weber leads 2-1
Weber vs. Fox: Fox leads 2-1
LAST GAME SUMMARY
Texas Southern 58, Kansas State 56
Game 12 * Bramlage Coliseum * December 28, 2014
Senior Jason Carter’s jumper with 0.9 seconds remaining lifted Texas Southern to a 58-56 win over K-State on Sunday before a sold-out crowd of 12,528 at Bramlage Coliseum. Carter’s jumper gave the Tigers (3-9) an improbable comeback, as the squad scored the final six points to rally from a 56-52 deficit with 15 seconds. The loss snapped K-State’s streak of 38 straight wins at Bramlage Coliseum in December and was the first at home in the month since 2004. The Wildcats had opportunities to secure the game at the free throw line, but connected on just 4-of-11 in the last 5 minutes, including 2-of-8 in the last 1:09. The team dropped to 1-5 on the season when scoring less than 70 points. Sophomore Marcus Foster led two Wildcats in double figures with a game-high 17 points, while senior Nino Williams scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive game with 11 points.
GAME 13 - QUICK HITTERS
• K-State (7-5) wraps up non-conference play on New Year’s Eve, as the Wildcats play host to SEC foe Georgia (7-3) at Bramlage Coliseum at 3 p.m. CT. The game will air nationally on ESPNU with Mitch Holthus (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst) on the call.
• Wednesday’s tilt will be the first game of a home-and-home series inked between the schools in May 2014. The Wildcats will make a return trip to Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015 at Stegeman Coliseum.
• The contest will serve as a homecoming for Georgia head coach Mark Fox, who is a native of Garden City, Kan., and a former assistant coach at K-State under Tom Asbury from 1994-2000. Fox’s wife, Cindy, also spent time in the K-State Athletic Department, serving five years as Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Senior Woman Admininstrator.
• This will be just the 2nd meeting between the schools on the hardwood and the 1st since K-State defeated Georgia, 82-79, in overtime in the NCAA West Regional First Round in Salt Lake City on March 12, 1987.
• Georgia will be K-State’s 3rd SEC opponent this year with all 3 coming in the last 6 games. The Wildcats are 1-1 in those match-up, losing 65-64 at Tennessee on Dec. 6 before defeating Texas A&M, 71-64, on Dec. 20 at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. The school is 159-146 all-time vs. the SEC.
• K-State saw its 38-game homecourt winning streak in December at Bramlage Coliseum come to an end on Sunday, as Texas Southern’s Jason Carter connected on a jumper with 0.9 seconds to stun the Wildcats, 58-56. The Tigers scored the game’s final 6 points to complete the comeback.
• It was the Wildcats’ 1st December loss at Bramlage Coliseum in exactly a decade since a 76-66 setback to Rutgers on Dec. 28, 2004.
• K-State has not lost back-to-back home games since February 13 & 25, 2012 (Kansas and Iowa State) and consecutive non-conference home games since December 8 & 17, 1987 (Missouri State and Southern Miss) in the final season of Ahearn Field House.
• K-State is averaging 70.2 points on 48.1 percent shooting, including a Big 12-best 40.0 percent from 3-point range. The squad ranks in the Top 40 in 4 categories, including 18th in FT attempts, 23rd in 3-point field goal percentage, 30th in FT makes and 40th in field goal percentage.
• K-State is averaging 78.1 points on 54.6 percent shooting, including 46.6 percent from 3-point range, in its 7 wins and 59 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 31.2 percent from long range, in its 5 losses.
THE OPPONENT: GEORGIA (7-3)
• Georgia enters Wednesday’s game with a 7-3 record after surviving a three-overtime affair with Mercer, 86-77, on Saturday at home... The Bulldogs have won a season-high 4 in a row, including a road win at Chattanooga (86-55) and home victories over Colorado (64-57), Seton Hall (65-47) and Mercer... The team is 1-1 in true road games this season.
• The Bulldogs are averaging 74.8 points on 46.6 percent shooting, including 30.2 percent from 3-point range, on the season with 40.9 rebounds, 13.9 assists, 7.0 steals and 5.9 blocks per game... They are allowing opponent 66.1 points per game on 38 percent shooting, including 29.8 percent from beyond the arc... The team is shooting 65.6 percent from the free throw line.
• Georgia is a balanced scoring team with 4 players averaging in double figures led by graduate student Marcus Thornton’s 14.9 points per game average... The forward also leads the squad in field goal percentage (54.6) and rebounding (7.5 rpg.)... Junior Charles Mann (12.5 ppg.), sophomore Kenny Gaines (11.8 ppg.) and senior Nemanja Djurisic (11.5 ppg.) also average in double figures... Mann is tops in assists (3.5 apg) and Gaines is 1st in steals (1.3 spg.)... Freshman Yante Maten has 22 blocks.
• Georgia ranks 6th nationally in defensive rebounds (29.2), 17th in blocked shots and 19th in total rebounds per game (41.0).
• Georgia returns 11 lettermen, including 3 starters, from a team that advanced to the NIT Second Round in 2013-14.
• Georgia is led by 6th-year head coach Mark Fox, who has posted a 92-80 record during his tenure with 2 postseason trips... He has a 215-123 record in his 11th season as a head coach, which includes stints at Nevada (2004-09).
BREAKING DOWN THE SERIES
• Wednesday’s game will mark the 2nd meeting between K-State and Georgia on the hardwood and the 1st since 1987.
• K-State won the 1st and only meeting between the schools, earning an 82-79 win in overtime in the NCAA West Regional First Round in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 12, 1987... Naismith Hall of Fame inductee Mitch Richmond led 4 Wildcats in double figures with 34 points and game-high 11 rebounds, while Georgia’s Willie Anderson led all scorers with 35 points.
• K-State is 159-146 all-time against the SEC, including an 84-48 mark in games played at home venues.
• Wednesday’s game will mark the 4th time that head coach Bruce Weber and Fox have met on the sidelines... Weber’s Illinois team defeated Fox’s Nevada squad, 71-59, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament en route to the 2005 Final Four, while Nevada defeated Illinois, 67-64, in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament... Fox’s Georgia squad won the last meeting between the coaches, knocking off Illinois, 70-67, on Dec. 19, 2009 at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Ga.
• Georgia head coach Mark Fox is a native of Garden City, Kan., and is a former assistant coach at K-State under Tom Asbury from 1994-2000... During his 6-year stint on the staff, he helped the school to an 85-88 record with 3 postseason appearances, including a trip to the 1996 NCAA Tournament... He also played 2 seasons at Garden City Community College (1987-89).
• Fox’s wife, Cindy, also spent time in the K-State Athletic Department, serving 5 years as Assistant AD for Marketing/SWA.
• Georgia’s Director of Operations Kent Davison is a graduate of Sterling College in Kansas and began his coaching career at Winfield High School in 1974... Davison also spent 17 seasons at Garden City Community College, including 6 as head coach.
• K-State has posted a 97-26 record in non-conference play dating back to 2006-07.
• K-State has a 71-4 record at home in non-conference play since 2006-07, including a 69-3 mark during the regular season... The squad has won 60 of its last 62 non-conference home games.
• The Wildcats are 28-10 in non-conference play under head coach Bruce Weber, including 18-2 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 70.2 points on 48.1 percent shooting (278-of-578), including a Big 12-best 40 percent (72-of-180) from 3-point range, to go with 14.6 assists per game... The team has an assist on 63 percent of their field goals.
• K-State ranks in the Top 40 nationally in 4 offensive categories, including 18th in free throw attempts (324), 23rd in 3-point field goal percentage (40.0), 30th in free throws made (214) and 40th in field goal percentage (48.1).
• In the Big 12, the Wildcats rank 8th in scoring offense, 3rd in field goal percentage and 1st in 3-point field goal percentage.
• K-State ranks 1st in the Big 12 in free throw attempts per game (27.0) and 2nd in free throws made per game (17.8).
• The team averages 27.8 points in the paint, 18.3 bench points, 16.8 points off of turnovers and 8.2 second-chance points.
• K-State has connected on 50 percent or better from the field in 6 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 12 games since 2009-10.
• The Wildcats are 6-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season and 34-7 during Bruce Weber’s tenure.
• 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.
• K-State connected on a Bruce Weber era-best 61.5 percent (24-of-39) from the field in the win over Texas A&M (12/20/14), which is the best by a Wildcat team since also connecting on 61.5 percent vs. Cleveland State (12/5/06) and highest since posting a 62.8 percentage vs. Nebraska (2/4/04)... The team shot 82.4 percent (14-of-17) in the first half vs. the Aggies, which ranks as the 3rd-highest in school history and the highest since connecting on 85 percent (17-of-20) vs. Oklahoma (2/19/94).
• The Texas A&M game (12/20/14) marked the second time this season that the Wildcats have set the mark for highest field goal percentage in the Weber era, surpassing the 58.7 percent vs. Southern Utah (11/14/14)... K-State has posted the top 4 field goal percentages of the Weber era this season, including Texas A&M, Southern Utah, Savannah State (58.5) and UMKC (58.3).
• The Wildcats also set Weber era highs in 4 categories in the opener vs. Southern Utah (11/14/14), including points (98), 3-point field goal percentage (55.6), free throws made (34) and attempted (48).
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 this season... 6 players scored in double figures in the opener vs. Southern Utah (11/14/14), 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 7th (Foster/15.0 ppg.), 10th (Williams/13.0 ppg.) and 20th (Gipson/11.3 ppg.)... Only Iowa State (with 4) has more players in the Top 20 in scoring, while 5 other schools has 2 players.
• 3 Wildcats also rank in Big 12’s Top 15 in assists at 7th (Thomas/3.9 apg.), 14th (Johnson/2.3 apg.) and 15th (Foster/2.3 apg.).
• Sophomore Marcus Foster leads the team in 8 categories, including scoring (15.0 ppg.), field goals (59), 3-point field goals (38), double-digit scoring games (10), 20-point games (3) and minutes (30.0).
• Williams has scored in double figures in 8 of 10 games played, including a personal-best 6 in a row... He has led in scoring a team-best 4 times... He ranks in the Big 12’s Top 15 in field goal percentage (5th/55.4) and free throw percentage (11th/75.5)... In the last 6 games, he is averaging 15.2 points on 63.3 percent shooting (31-of-49) with a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game.
• K-State has tallied 72 3-pointers with 8 players collecting at least one trey... Foster leads the way with a Big 12-leading 38 triples on 46.9 percent shooting, while freshman Tre Harris is connecting on a team-best 55.6 percent (10-of-18).
• In the NCAA, Foster ranks 19th in 3-point field goal percentage and 23rd in 3-point field goals/game (3.2).
• Sophomore Jevon Thomas ranks in the Top 15 in assists (7th/3.9 apg.) and assist-to-turnover ratio (11th/1.7).
• Sophomore Nigel Johnson ranks 11th in the Big 12 in steals (1.4 spg.) and 14th in assists (2.3 apg.).
• K-State has also taken advantage of its opportunities at the free throw line, as the Wildcats rank 30th nationally in free throws made (214) and 18th in free throw attempts (324)... The team is shooting 66.0 percent from the charity stripe.
• K-State averages 17.8 free throws (2nd) and 27.0 free throw attempts (1st) per game, which ranks in the Big 12’s Top 2.
• K-State is 7-2 this season when it has more free throw attempts than its opponent and 29-7 under head coach Bruce Weber.
• 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.
• 2 Wildcats rank in the Big 12’s Top 15 in free throw percentage, including seniors Nino Williams (11th/75.5) and Thomas Gipson (13th/74.7)... Gipson ranks 2nd in makes (59) and attempts (79) to OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash (69-of-88) in the Big 12.
SECOND HALF SIZZLE
• K-State is averaging 39.7 points in the 2nd half this season on 52.7 percent shooting (156-of-296), including 45.2 percent (42-of-93) from 3-point range... The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 476-439, in the 2nd half.
• K-State has connected on better than 50 percent from the field in the 2nd half of 8 games, including 60 percent or better on 5 occasions... The team is averaging 43.4 points on 59.6 percent shooting in the 2nd half of its 7 wins this season.
• K-State has connected on a higher percentage in the 2nd half in 10 of 12 games played, including 6 of 7 wins.
• 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 2nd half since shooting 71.4 percent (15-of-21) at Iowa State on Jan. 7, 2006.
• 5 players are averaging 3.0 points or better in the 2nd half led by Marcus Foster (8.8 ppg. on 54.5%) and Thomas Gipson (7.3 ppg. on 69.7%)... 6 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 30.5 points in the 1st half this season on 43.3 percent shooting (122-of-282), including 34.5 percent (30-of-87) from beyond the arc... The squad is out-scoring their opponents, 366-345, in the opening half.
• Marcus Foster leads all 1st half scorers at 6.2 points per game on just 34.8 percent shooting.
• K-State is averaging 78.1 points in its 7 wins on 54.6 percent shooting (179-of-328), including 46.6 percent (48-of-103) from 3-point range, while allowing opponents 64.3 points on 45.1 percent shooting, including 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.
• In contrast, K-State is averaging 59.0 points in its 5 losses on 39.6 percent shooting (99-of-250), including 31.2 percent (24-of-77) from 3-point range, while allowing 66.8 points on 47.7 percent shooting, including 34.3 percent from beyond the arc.
• 3 Wildcats are averaging in double figures in the 7 wins, including Nino Williams (16.0 ppg./61.4 FG%), Marcus Foster (15 ppg./52.3 FG%) and Thomas Gipson (12.3 ppg./71.4 FG%), while 4 others (Stephen Hurt, Nigel Johnson, Justin Edwards and Jevon Thomas) are averaging 7+ points... In all, 6 of the 7 players are shooting better than 50 percent in those 7 wins.
• Only 2 Wildcats are averaging in double figures in the 5 losses (Foster - 15.0 ppg., and Williams - 10.0 ppg.).
• K-State is averaging 17.6 assists during its wins compared to just 10.4 assists in its losses.
• Point guards Jevon Thomas and Nigel Johnson have compiled a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio in the 7 wins, which includes a combined 55 assists to 23 turnovers... The duo has a 1.33 ratio in the 5 losses with a combined 20 assists and 15 turnovers.
POINTS OFF OF TURNOVERS
• K-State has taken advantage of its opponents’ mistakes, scoring 201 points off of 163 turnovers in the first 12 games.
• The 201 points represents nearly one-quarter of the 842 points, as the team is averaging 16.8 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 (11/14/14) and UMKC (11/17/14)... It marked the first time that K-State has tallied 20 or more points off of turnovers in consecutive games since posting 20 vs. TCU (1/16/13) and 26 vs. 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).
• 34 opponents have been held to 60 points or less in Weber’s two seasons as head coach with the Wildcats boasting a 30-4 mark in those contests (only losses to Kansas in 2012, Northern Colorado and Kentucky in 2013 and Texas Southern in 2014).
• 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 65.3 points on 46.2 percent shooting, including 35.1 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 (31.3) and blocked shots (2.5).
• Those numbers have improved in the past 6 games, where they are holding opponents to 58.8 points on 43.3 percent shooting, including 27.8 percent from 3-point range, while limiting them to 71 assists and 70 turnovers.
FOSTER CONTINUES WHERE HE LEFT OFF
• Sophomore Marcus Foster leads the way in scoring at 15.0 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting (59-of-132), including 46.9 percent (38-of-81) from 3-point range... He has scored in double figures in a team-best 10 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 ranks in the Big 12’s Top 15 in 5 categories, including 7th in scoring, 2nd in 3-point percentage and 1st in 3-pointers.
• Foster leads the Wildcats in 8 categories, including scoring, double-digit scoring games (10), 20-point games (3), field goals (59), field goals attempted (132), 3-point field goals (38), 3-point field goals attempted (81) and minutes (30.0).
• In the NCAA, Foster ranks 19th in both 3-point field goal percentage and 3-point field goals made (38), 23rd in 3-point field goals made (3.2) and 56th in 3-point field goal attempts (81).
• 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 117 3-pointers his K-State career, which ranks 10th on the school’s all-time list.
• Foster has scored in double figures in 37 of his 45 career games, including 11 20-point outings... He led in scoring 21 times.
• Thomas Gipson has displayed that all important senior leadership, ranking 3rd in scoring (11.3 ppg.) and 2nd in rebounding (4.2 rpg.), while shooting a team-best 66.7 percent (38-of-57) from the field and 74.7 percent (59-of-79) from the charity stripe.
• Gipson became the 26th Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier with his first field goal vs. Texas Southern (12/28/14), while he is the 12th player with at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
• Gipson ranks 20th in the Big 12 in scoring and 13th in free throw percentage.
• In the Big 12, only Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash has more free throws made (69) and attempted (88).
• Gipson, who played in his 100th career game in the opener against Southern Utah, has scored in double figures in 15 of the last 21 games (including 6 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 5th career 20-point game vs. UMKC (11/17/14) with a team-high 21.
• Gipson’s career 53.9 field goal percentage ranks 6th on 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, who ranks 2nd in scoring (13.0 ppg.) and 1st in rebounding (4.8 rpg.), has scored in double-digits in 8 of his first 10 games, including a personal-best 6 consecutive games... He posted a career-tying 20 points vs. Savannah State (12/14/14).
• In the last 6 games, Williams is averaging 15.2 points on 63.3 percent shooting (31-of-49) with a team-high 6.3 rebounds... During the team’s 3-game winning streak, he averaged team-bests in scoring (17.0 ppg.) and rebounding (7.0 rpg.).
• 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 vs. Bradley and Savannah State, Williams earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the 1st time 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 in scoring and rebounding in both games.
• Williams also ranks 2nd on the team in field goals (46), double-digit scoring games (8) and free throw percentage (74.7).
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 75 assists (to 38 turnovers) and 33 steals to go with 149 points on 43.8 percent shooting.
• Thomas is 1st in assists (47), 3rd in steals (16) and minutes (27.7), while Johnson is 1st in steals (17) and 2nd in assists (28).
• Thomas ranks in the Big 12’s Top 10 in 2 categories, including 7th in assists (3.9 apg.) and 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7), while Johnson is in the Top 15 in both steals (11th/1.4) and assists (14th/2.3).
• The duo is even more impressive in the 7 wins, combining for 55 assists to 23 turnovers (2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio), as Johnson is averaging 8.0 points on 51.5 percent shooting and Thomas is averaging 7.0 points on 43.3 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)... Thomas dished out a season-best 9 assists vs. UMKC (11/17/14) and had season-high 4 steals vs. Texas Southern (12/28/14).
‘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.