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13/15 K-State Plays Host To Iowa State Saturday


GO WILDCATS
Senior Rodney McGruder has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games, including a team-high 18 points at Texas Tech Tuesday.

GO WILDCATS
Senior Rodney McGruder has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games, including a team-high 18 points at Texas Tech Tuesday.
GO WILDCATS

Feb. 8, 2013

Game Notes  |  Live Stats  |  Live Audio  |  ESPN3

Game 23

13/15 Kansas State (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) vs. Iowa State (16-6, 6-3 Big 12)
Saturday, February 9, 2013 * 5:05 p.m. CT
Manhattan, Kan. * Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)

Television: ESPN2 (ESPN Full Court)
Mark Neely (play-by-play); Chris Piper (analyst)
Internet: www.ESPN3.com and WatchESPN
Available on Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon and Brighthouse      

Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 91/XM 91 (home broadcast)

Live Stats: http://www.kstatesports.com/multimedia/ksu-gt-live-stats.html
Live Audio: http://www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday

vs. Big 12: K-State trails 443-451 (242-162 at home)
vs. Iowa State: K-State leads 135-80 (78-25 at home)
Last Meeting: Iowa State won 73-67 (1/26/2013 in Ames)

13/15 Kansas State (18-4, 7-2 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 18-4 (1st season)  * Career Record: 331-159 (15th season)  * vs. Iowa State: 1-1

Iowa State (16-6, 6-3 Big 12)
Head coach: Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State ‘95)
School Record: 55-33 (3rd season)  * Career Record: 55-33 (3rd season)  * vs. K-State: 3-2

THE GAME
No. 13/15 Kansas State (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) returns to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to Iowa State (16-6, 6-3 Big 12) at 5 p.m. in a match-up of two of the Big 12’s top teams.  The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 with Mark Neely (play-by-play) and Chris Piper (analyst) on the call.  Fans are encouraged to bring toilet paper, paper towels and trash bags to Saturday’s game for the third annual “Tipoff for TP” event, which benefits the Manhattan Emergency Shelter for those in need in the Manhattan community.  Riding a three-game winning streak at the midway point of the conference schedule, K-State finds itself in a first-place tie with No. 5/5 Kansas (19-3, 7-2 Big 12) with a 7-2 league record, just one game ahead of Iowa State and No. 22/24 Oklahoma State (16-5, 6-3 Big 12), who sit in a tie for third place with 6-3 marks.  The Wildcats, which has won 13 of their last 14 home games, including 12 of their 13 games at Bramlage Coliseum, have won three in a row since a 73-67 loss in the first meeting with the Cyclones at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 26.  The game will pit the Big 12’s top scoring offense (Iowa State - 78.7 ppg.) against the league’s top scoring defense (K-State - 57.8 ppg.).   

REMEMBERING THE BRAMLAGE FAMILY
Prior to Saturday’s game, there will be a special remembrance to the Bramlage Family.  Last June, the university was devastated by the news of a plane crash that claimed the lives of alumni Ron and Becky Bramlage and their children, Brandon, Boston, Beau and Roxanne.  Ron was the grandson of Fred Bramlage for which Bramlage Coliseum was named.  Family members will present a portrait of the family, which will be permanently displayed in the Legends Room near the portrait of Fred Bramlage. 

K-STATE IN THE POLLS
K-State moved up in both major polls on Monday, jumping five spots to No. 13 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll and six spots to No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches poll.  It marks the seventh straight week that the Wildcats have been ranked in the AP poll, while the No. 11 ranking on Jan. 21 was the highest in the AP poll since also placing 11th on Dec. 20, 2010.  The program has now been ranked in the AP poll at least one week in each of the last four seasons.  K-State is 247-93 (.726) all-time as a ranked team.  

THE OPPONENT
Iowa State (16-6, 6-3 Big 12) has won three of its last four games, including consecutive home wins against Baylor (79-71) and Oklahoma (83-64), which raised its home winning streak to 20 games.  The Cyclones pace the Big 12 in five categories, including scoring offense (78.7 ppg.), 3-point field goal percentage (36.2), 3-point field goals (9.1), assists (16.3) and rebounding (40.1), while they are holding foes to 67.4 points on 41.1 percent shooting.  Senior Will Clyburn (15.2 ppg.) paces four Cyclones in double figures, while Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year candidate Tyrus McGee (12.2 ppg.), freshman Georges Niang (11.5 ppg.) and junior Melvin Ejim (10.2 ppg.) all average in twin figures.  Ejim nearly averages a double-double with the Big 12’s No. 2 average of 9.3 rebounds per game.  Senior Korie Lucious ranks third in the Big 12 in assists (5.6 apg.) to go with 9.5 points per game.  Head coach Fred Hoiberg is in his third season at his alma mater, posting a 55-33 record.  He is 3-2 as a head coach vs. K-State.  

LAST MEETING: IOWA STATE 73, 11/13 KANSAS STATE 67 [JAN. 26, 2012]
Will Clyburn collected a double-double, including a game-high 24 points, as Iowa State extended its homecourt winning streak with a 73-67 win over Kansas State in the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 26.  The Cyclones scored an opponent-high 73 points with 11 3-pointers to offset a solid offensive effort by the Wildcats, who shot 50.9 percent from the field, including 64 percent in the second half.  ISU controlled the glass, out-rebounding K-State, 35-28, and posting an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points.  Junior Will Spradling led three players in double figures with 15 points, including a career-tying four 3-pointers.  

SERIES
This will be the 216th meeting between K-State and Iowa State with the Wildcats holding a 135-80 lead in a series that dates back to 1909.  The 216 meetings are the fourth-most against one opponent (trailing Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska), while the 135 wins are the most against one opponent.  The Wildcats hold a slight 17-16 edge since the start of Big 12 play, which includes an 11-5 mark at home.  K-State has a 78-25 record at home in the series, including a 17-7 at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Cyclones have won four of its last six meetings (three straight), including two of the last three games in Manhattan.  Head coach Bruce Weber is 1-1 in his career vs. Iowa State, which includes a 66-57 win by his SIU team on Nov. 22, 2001 at the Las Vegas Invitational.

QUICKLY ON KANSAS STATE
--Kansas State’s 18-4 start ties the 2009-10 team for the sixth-best start in school history and the best in the last 50 seasons after 22 games.  The 1958-59 team posted the best start after 22 games (21-1), while the 1957-58 and 1961-62 squads were just one game back at 20-2 and the 1947-48 and 1950-51 teams were 19-3.  The 7-2 start to Big 12 play ties two others for the best since the league’s inception in 1997 and the best since the 2007-08 team also went 7-2.  The team saw their season-best eight-game winning streak end at No. 3/2 Kansas on Jan. 22, which was the longest winning streak since the team won 10 in a row from Nov. 21, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010.  Three of the team’s four losses are to current Top 10 teams in No. 3/3 Michigan, No. 5/5 Kansas and No. 6/6 Gonzaga.  The team faced three Top 15 teams (No. 4 Michigan, No. 14 Gonzaga and No. 8 Florida) in non-conference play for the first time in school history.  K-State posted double-digit non-conference games for the seventh straight season, including its first regular-season Top 10 non-conference win (No. 8 Florida) since 1981.  The team’s strength of schedule is 69th by ESPN.com.

--Bruce Weber’s 18-4 record is the second-best start by a first-year K-State head coach in the program’s 109-year history with only Zora Clevenger (15-2, 1916-17) posting a better mark.  The best campaign by a first-year head coach is still held by Clevenger, who led the Wildcats to a 15-2 (.882) mark in his inaugural season in 1916-17.  The eight-game winning streak was the second-longest by a first-year coach and the longest since Clevenger’s 1916-17 squad ended the year with 13 straight wins from Jan. 25 to March 6, 1917.  Clevenger made most of his impact on the gridiron, where he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

--K-State is having a terrific start to the 2012-13 athletics season, as the Wildcats have one of the best records among BCS schools when combining football and men’s and women’s basketball.  As of Thursday, the school’s 41 wins tie for 17th nationally and its .719 winning percentage (41-16) places 20th.  K-State is one of 20 schools (along with Big 12 brethren Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) with 40+ combined wins among its three major sports.  If you take into account the success of the volleyball team, which won 20 matches and advanced to NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats are 62-25 (.713) since August 24.  

--K-State has built a solid resume, as the Wildcats boast a No. 24 RPI in the latest NCAA rankings.  The squad is one of six Big 12 schools in the Top 50 of the NCAA RPI, including Kansas (6), Oklahoma (22), Oklahoma State (31), Iowa State (40) and Baylor (49).  K-State is one of just four teams with four wins over Top 35 RPI teams, along with Kansas, Indiana and Miami (Fla.).

--The Wildcats have been one of the top teams in the country in February the last five seasons, posting a 27-6 (.818) mark in the month since the 2008-09 season, including a 13-3 mark at home.  The teams was a combined 14-1 in February from 2009-11.

--The three-man senior class of Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder could be one of the best-ever in school history.  The trio currently boast a 92-34 (.730) record during their playing careers, which ranks sixth on the all-time wins list by a class.  They are six wins away from posting the most wins by a senior class in school history (96 by Victor Ojeleye and Jamar Samuels, 2008-12).  They are the fourth straight senior class to tally 90 or more wins in their career.

--Twelve of the 21 games have been at home (including a home game vs. No. 8/9 Florida in Kansas City’s Sprint Center), where the Wildcats have won 13 of their last 14 home games, including 12 of 13 at Bramlage Coliseum.  The team’s 12-game overall home winning streak and 11-game streak at Bramlage ended in a 59-55 loss to No. 3/2 Kansas.  The 11-game streak tied three other teams for the fourth-longest in the arena’s 25-year history, including the longest since winning 14 in a row in 2011-12.

--K-State is 5-1 in road games this season, winning at George Washington (65-62), West Virginia (65-64), TCU (67-54), Oklahoma (52-50) and Texas Tech (68-59) to go with a 73-67 loss at Iowa State on Jan. 26.  The loss at Hilton Coliseum snapped the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak in road games, including five-game streak in Big 12 play, which dated back to last season and was the longest since 2010.  The Wildcats have improved their play on the road in the Big 12, posting a 28-25 record over the past seven seasons (which began in 2006-07) after winning just 10 of 80 road games in the league’s first 10 years (1997-2006).

--K-State received its first national ranking of the season on Dec. 24, appearing at No. 25 in The Associated Press Top 25 with 152 points, and held its best ranking at No. 11 (with 927 points) on Jan. 21.  The No. 11 ranking was the highest since also checking in at No. 11 on Dec. 20, 2010.  The Wildcats improved to No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches poll on Feb. 4, which marked the fifth straight week the team has been ranked in both polls.  The Wildcats have a 247-93 (.726) all-time record as a ranked team since first being ranked in 1949-50, including a 7-4 (.636) mark as the No. 13 team in The Associated Press poll.

--K-State ranks in the Top 50 in six categories nationally, including 15th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.7), 16th in scoring defense (57.8), 21st in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.34), 30th in assists (15.7), 39th in scoring margin (10.5) and 41st in turnovers per game (11.7).  Angel Rodriguez (2.46) ranks 33rd nationally and tops in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio.  The Wildcats place in the Top 5 in 16 of 21 Big 12 categories, including first in scoring defense and assist-to-turnover ratio and second in assists, offensive rebounds, 3-point field goal percentage defense and turnover margin.  In Big 12-only games, the squad ranks first in scoring defense, 3-point field goal percentage, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover.
    
--The Feb. 2 meeting with Oklahoma marked the 11th time K-State has faced a former head coach (Tex Winter, Lon Kruger and Bob Huggins) with the Wildcats winning four (including three this season) of those occurrences.  Prior to the win over West Virginia and the two over Oklahoma, the last victory over a former head coach came in a 95-80 win over a Kruger-coached UNLV squad on Dec. 12, 2009.  The team will play at least one more such game (West Virginia at home on Feb. 18) this season.  K-State lost twice to Winter (Washington in 1971 and Long Beach State in 1978), while the Wildcats are now 4-4 against Kruger in his stops and 1-1 against Huggins at West Virginia (2011, 2013).  Interestingly enough, the Wildcats are 6-0 against head coaches prior to them coming to K-State.  The school went 1-0 against Winter at Marquette (1953), 3-0 against Jack Hartman at Southern Illinois (1964, 1968 and 1969), 1-0 against Kruger at Texas-Pan American (1986) and 1-0 against Huggins at Akron (1988).  

--The 67-61 win over No. 8/9 Florida in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic on Dec. 22 was the first regular-season, non-conference Top 10 victory since knocking off No. 8 Minnesota at home, 62-52, on Dec. 21, 1981.  Overall, it was the 12th non-conference Top 10 win (and first since defeating No. 3 Purdue, 73-70, in the 1988 NCAA Tournament), including the seventh in the regular season. 

--K-State had a tremendous semester in the classroom, as the team had a cumulative 2.839 GPA (the highest in 12 years) during the Fall 2012 semester.  A program-best eight players - Adrian Diaz, Rodney McGruder, Angel Rodriguez, Brian Rohleder, Ryan Schultz, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Nino Williams - were named to the Fall Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll on Jan. 9.  Rohleder was one of 31 student-athletes to post a perfect 4.0 GPA during the semester.

BALANCED ATTACK
K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with six players averaging five or more points, including just one in double figures, and seven averaging three or more rebounds per game.  Senior Rodney McGruder (14.6 ppg.) is the only Wildcat to average in double figures (ranks sixth in the Big 12 in scoring), while five others - Angel Rodriguez (9.4 ppg.), Will Spradling (8.5 ppg.), Shane Southwell (7.9 ppg.) and Thomas Gipson (7.5 ppg.) - are averaging better than seven points per contest.  The team has seen nine players collect 60 double-digit scoring games with McGruder (16) leading the way, while the squad has seven players with 45 or more field goals made with McGruder’s 124 makes the second-most in the Big 12.  Only Baylor (10) has more players with double-digit scoring efforts in the Big 12, while K-State and Iowa State are the only league schools with seven different players with 45 or more made field goals.  In all, the Wildcats have had six players lead or share the lead in scoring led by McGruder (10). Gipson (5.5 rpg.) paces the squad in rebounding, while McGruder (5.4 rpg.) and Jordan Henriquez (4.4 rpg.) are averaging better than four rebounds per game.  The team has had eight players either lead or share the lead in rebounding with McGruder pacing a team-high six times and Gipson leading the way on five occasions.

The Wildcats have also been diverse in other categories, including seven players with 10+ assists and eight  with 10+ steals. 
Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 96 assists (49 in Big 12 play) with six players either leading or sharing the lead in assists.  Rodriguez also has a team-high 25 steals (15 in Big 12 play), while eight have either led or shared the lead in steals.  Four players -- McGruder (31.3 mpg.), Spradling (30.0), Rodriguez (24.9) and Southwell (23.0) -- are averaging more than 20 minutes, while seven others are averaging 10+ minutes.  Seven players have at least one start with McGruder and Spradling starting all 22. 

LINEUP CHANGE 
The switch to a four-guard lineup has proved to be a pivotal decision by Bruce Weber, as the Wildcats are averaging 66.6 points on 45 percent shooting, including 35.9 percent from 3-point range, since making the change 13 games ago.  The squad has posted an 11-2 mark in those 13 games, including victories over No. 8/9 Florida, No. 22/21 Oklahoma State, Oklahoma (twice) and Texas.  Although the team scored nearly 71 points in their first nine games (before the switch), they are shooting nearly five percent higher from the field (45.0 from 40.8), two percent higher from 3-point range (35.9 from 33.3) and posting more 3-pointers (6.5 from 6.0), while dishing out more assists (15.8 from 15.6) and producing fewer turnovers (10.9 from 12.8) in the last 13 games.    The Wildcats have connected on better than 45 percent from the field in seven of 13 games, including 50 percent or better on four occasions, while shooting 40 percent or better from 3-point range in five games.  Rodney McGruder is averaging almost five more points per game (16.5 from 11.9) on nearly 10 percent higher field goal percentage (48.0 from 37.8) in the last 13 games, while Shane Southwell has improved his scoring average from 6.3 points in first nine to 8.7 points in the last 13 games.

HEATING UP FROM THE FIELD
K-State is starting to find more of an offensive rhythm in Big 12 play, where the Wildcats rank first in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (37.4) and second in field goal percentage (44.7) and 3-point field goals made (7.4) at the midway point of the  conference season.  The squad has connected on 43 percent or better from the field in seven of its nine league games, including better than 50 percent against West Virginia and Iowa State, while the 223 field goalsmade are the third-most.  The team has shot better than 35 percent from 3-point range in six league games with nine or more 3-point makes in three contests.  Rodney McGruder ranks second in Big 12 games in 3-point field goals made (2.3) and 3-point field goal percentage (42.9), fifth in scoring (16.0 ppg.) and sixth in field goal percentage (48.6), while Shane Southwell is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (39.5) and ninth in 3-point field goals made (1.7) in Big 12 games.  Angel Rodriguez, who has 39 assists to just eight turnovers in the last seven games, is tops in league-only contests in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3) and third in assists (5.4 apg).

PROTECTING THE BALL
K-State has been solid protecting the ball, as the squad ranks first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and second in turnover margin (+2.5).  Thus far, the Wildcats have produced a Big 12-low 11.7 turnovers per game, while forcing its foes into an average of 14.2 turnovers (fourth-most in the Big 12).  The team has 14 or fewer miscues in 16 games, including a season-low six against Texas, while they have forced their foes into 18 or more turnovers five times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar. 

MORE ON BALL PROTECTION
Seven Wildcats have posted an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season, including its four primary ball-handlers (Angel Rodriguez, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling) combining for 256 assists to 108 turnovers (2.4 ratio).  The current ratio for the quartet is a solid improvement after posting a 1.4 ratio (302 assists to 211 turnovers) as a group in 2011-12.  Rodriguez (2.5) ranks first in the Big 12 and 28th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio, while Spradling’s team-best ratio (2.7) is outside the minimums to rank.  Spradling, who has 62 assists to 23 turnovers, led the team with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, while Rodriguez has made a notable improvement (96 assists to 39 turnovers) in the area after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman.  Irving has also nearly doubled his ratio (2.2 from 1.5) with 48 assists to 22 turnovers, while Southwell has a solid 2.1 ratio (50 assists to 24 turnovers) after posting a 1.6 ratio last year.

BENCH PRODUCTION
Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 22.3 points, including a 491-357 edge over foes.  The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in 12 games, including a season-high 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9 and Texas on Jan. 30.  Reserves have scored nearly half of the team’s points five times this season with Thomas Gipson posting the scoring lead against North Dakota (13), Delaware (12) and Texas (17), while Shane Southwell had a game-high 16 points vs. Alabama-Huntsville and Nino Willams tallied a career-high 17 points against No. 22/21 Oklahoma State.  The rebounding leader has come from the bench in nine games with Gipson posting team-highs vs. Delaware (6) and Texas (7), Jordan Henriquez collecting team-bests vs. West Virginia (7) and TCU (10), D.J. Johnson grabbing team-highs vs. North Dakota (9) and Lamar (8), Southwell recording a career-high nine rebounds vs. UAH, Adrian Diaz collecting a career-best 10 vs. North Florida and Williams snagging seven rebounds vs. No. 8/9 Florida.  Over 40 percent (344) of the team’s rebounding total and nearly 35 percent (501) of the scoring total has come from the bench this season.

FOUL PROBLEMS
K-State is averaging 17.7 personal fouls per game this season, including 19.6 per game in its nine Big 12 games.  Opponents have knocked down 255 free throws in 391 attempts, an average of 11.6 makes per game, with the Wildcats countering with 264 makes on 401 attempts for an average of 12.0 makes per game.  The nine Big 12 opponents have combined to shoot 58 more free throws than K-State (186 to 128), while scoring 119 points (13.2 FT/m) to just 86 (9.6 FT/m) for the Wildcats from the line.

ON THE DEFENSIVE 
K-State has continued to be one of the best defensive teams in the nation, ranking 16th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.8), 18th in scoring defense (57.8) and 42nd in turnover margin (+2.9).  In all, the Wildcats rank either first or second in five Big 12 defensive categories, including first in scoring defense in both overall (57.8 ppg.) and Big 12-only games (60.3 ppg.) and rebounding defense, second in 3-point field goal percentage defense and turnover margin and third in rebounding margin. 

The 1,272 points surrendered through the first 22 games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 1,234 points (56.1 ppg.) through the first 22 games.  The current 57.8 points per game scoring average is the third-lowest since 1951 behind only the 1982-83 (56.1 ppg.) and 1981-82 (56.5 ppg.) squads.  The team has held 17 of its 22 opponents to 65 points or less, including nine to 55 points or less, while eight have been held under 40 percent shooting from the field and eight to 25 percent or less shooting from 3-point range.  The defensive effort has been even better in the first half, as the Wildcats are holding its 22 opponents to just 24.9 points on 37.5 percent shooting, including 26.8 percent from 3-point range.  It has held five opponents to 20 points or less in the first half.  The team’s defense was nearly historic in the 87-26 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, as the 26 points allowed were one shy of the Bramlage Coliseum record of 25 set against Savannah State on Jan. 7, 2008.  The Chargers’ 16.4 field goal percentage was only surpassed by Savannah State’s 15.5 percentage.

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS 
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams were their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes and Bruce Weber has continued that legacy.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 353-247 (an average of 16.0 points per game), through the first 22 games in points off of turnovers.  The squad has posted 10 or more points off of miscues in 17 of 22 games, including 20 or more points on five occasions, with a season-best 34 vs. Lamar on Nov. 12.  The team has out-scored its nine Big 12 foes, 150-93 (an average of 16.7 points per game), in points off of turnovers, including 20 or more points in back-to-back wins over TCU and Oklahoma and a near season-best 33-point effort against Texas.  They are 13-1 when scoring more points off of turnovers.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 310-192 (an average of 17.2 points per game), in points off of turnovers in their 18 victories, while are being outscored 55-43 (an average of 10.8 points per game) in points off of turnovers in their four losses.  

K-State is forcing its opponents into 14.2 turnovers per game (fourth-most in the Big 12), including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while turning the ball a Big 12-low 11.7 times per game.  The 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 20th and first in the Big 12 with Angel Rodriguez boasting the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio and ranking 28th nationally.  In Martin’s five seasons, the Wildcats averaged 18.2 points per game off of turnovers.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in that period came off of offense generated from miscues.  The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons.

CLOSE GAMES
Although they have dropped games to No. 3/2 Kansas and Iowa State by a combined 10 points, the Wildcats have been successful in close games this season, posting a 10-2 record in games decided by 10 points or less and a 6-2 mark in games decided by six points or less, including five Big 12 wins.  Junior Will Spradling, who went 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware, George Washington and Texas Southern, paces the team in both free throws (19) and free throw attempts (24) in the last five minutes of games.  Sophomore Angel Rodriguez (15-of-18), senior Rodney McGruder (10-of-13), junior Shane Southwell (8-of-10) have all been solid in the last five minutes of games.  In the 65-64 win over West Virginia on Jan. 12, Southwell knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds and also blocked the game-winning shot with one second left.  With the score tied at 50-all against Oklahoma on Feb. 2, Rodriguez knocked down a pair of game-winning free throws with just 5.6 seconds left.   

REBOUNDING ISSUEs
Rebounding had been a source of strength earlier in the season, but has now become a source of concern since the start of Big 12 play, where the Wildcats rank fifth in rebounding margin (+0.4), seventh in defensive rebounds (22.0), eighth in rebounds (32.0) and ninth in offensive rebounds (10.0).  Since switching to a four-guard line-up 13 games ago, the squad is averaging 33.9 rebounds, including 11.0 offensive rebounds, with opponents posting 30.5 rebounds, including 9.7 offensive rebounds.  In the team’s first nine games, they averaged 42.6 rebounds, including 18.2 offensive rebounds, with its foes posting 34.1 rebounds, including 11.3 offensive rebounds. The Wildcats out-scored their opponents, 153-99 (+54), in second chance points in its first nine games, but has since been out-scored 141-137 (-4) in second chance points in the last 13 games.  

K-State still boasts solid overall rebounding numbers, where it ranks second in offensive rebounds (14.0), third in rebounding margin (+5.5) and fifth in rebounds (37.5) in 22 games.  Overall, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their foes by a 824-704 margin, including 307-228 on the offensive end.  The squad is 16-0 this season when out-rebounding its opponent, but just 2-4 when it is out-rebounded.  K-State has at least 10 offensive rebounds in 18 games with a season-high 29 against North Florida on Nov. 18.  Sophomore Thomas Gipson (5.5 rpg.) ranks 20th in the Big 12 in rebounding, while he is seventh (2.6) in offensive rebounds. 

McGRUDER AMONG ELITE COMPANY 
Senior Rodney McGruder (1,351 points & 584 rebounds) became just the 11th player in K-State history to crack the 1,300-point plateau against Kansas on Jan. 22, while also cracking school’s all-time Top 10 scoring list.  He sits ninth all-time in scoring at
K-State, just 13 points away from Chuckie Williams (1,364; 1972-76) for eighth place.  He is now one of just six players in school history with at least 1,300 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining Rolando Blackman (1,844 points & 607 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points & 824 rebounds), Cartier Martin (1,546 points & 546 rebounds), Ed Nealy (1,304 points & 1,069 rebounds). 

McGruder ranks in the Top 10 of 12 other career categories, including consecutive starts (89, 3rd), 3-point field goals (169, 5th), 3-point field goal percentage (38.9%, 6th), 3-point field goals attempted (435, 6th), minutes (3,226, 6th), games (122, 6th), starts (89, 8th), consecutive games (98, 8th), double-digit scoring games (73, 8th), field goals (488, 9th), field goal attempts (1,077, 10th) and steals (93, 10th).  He ranks in the Top 15 in five Big 12 categories, including field goals (2nd), scoring (6th), minutes (9th), 3-point field goals (11th) and field goal percentage (13th).  He ranks sixth in scoring in Big 12-only games (16.0 ppg.), while he is second in 3-point field goals and 3-point field goal percentage and sixth in field goal percentage.  

McGRUDER NAMED PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR FOURTH TIME 
Senior Rodney McGruder earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in seven weeks on Jan. 21 after helping K-State run its winning streak to eight games.  McGruder’s four Big 12 Player of the Week awards break his tie with Michael Beasley (three, 2007-08) for the most by a Wildcat in a single-season, while McGruder’s five overall weekly awards are the most-ever by a K-State player in the Big 12 era.  He first won the weekly honor as a junior on Dec. 26, 2011 then this season on Dec. 10 and 24, 2012 and again on Jan. 7.  McGruder posted back-to-back 20-point outings for the first time this season, as he averaged a team-best 20.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting (15-of-27), including 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from 3-point range, with 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 36 minutes per game in wins over TCU and Oklahoma.  He has now scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games with an average of 18.3 points per game.  McGruder opened the week with a 21-point effort in a road win at TCU then followed with his fifth 20-point outing of the season in a win over Oklahoma.  It was his 17th and 18th 20-point games of his career with the Wildcats posting an impressive 16-2 mark in those contests.

SOUTHWELL’S JUMP IN PRODUCTION
Junior Shane Southwell has made quite the jump in his productivity in year three, as he is averaging 7.9 points on 45 percent shooting, including 41.7 percent from 3-point range, with 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 23 minutes per game with 13 starts in 20 games played.  That production has been even more of factor during the team’s last 13 games (of which the team is 11-2), as he is averaging 8.7 points on 41.6 percent shooting, including 38.3 percent from 3-point range, with 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 27 minutes per game in 13 starts.  Southwell had a huge game in the win against West Virginia on Jan. 12, as he knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds to give the Wildcats the lead then blocked the game-winning shot with just one second remaining.  After a career-high 19 points against No. 3/2 Kansas on Jan. 22, he posted 11 points against Iowa State to give him double-digit points for the 10th time in his career (8 K-State wins), including the sixth time this season.  He entered the 2012-13 campaign averaging just 2.5 points on 36.1 percent shooting, including 25 percent from 3-point range, with 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 14.8 minutes per game with 62 games played and 19 starts during his two-year career.
 
RODRIGUEZ’S IMPROVED PLAY 
Sophomore Angel Rodriguez has made steady improvement from his freshman to his sophomore season, as he ranks first or second on the team in six categories, including first in assists (96) and steals (25) and second in scoring (9.4 ppg.) and double-figure scoring games (11).  He has helped the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio and and second in assists and turnover margin, while he places in the league’s Top 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5, 1st), assists (4.8, 4th) and steals (1.3, 10th) and paces the league in conference-only assist-to-turnover ratio (3.5) and is third in assists (5.4).  He has scored in double figures 11 times, including a career-best 19 points vs. Lamar to go with game-highs at George Washington (17) and Gonzaga (14).  He nearly had his first career double-double against Oklahoma on Jan. 19 with 12 points and a career-high nine assists before posting 12 points and a game-high eight assists against Kansas on Jan. 22.  In Big 12 play, he has 49 assists to just 15 turnovers, including a remarkable 39 assists to eight turnovers in the last seven games.  He was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games in New York, as the team finished in second place.

SPRADLING COMING UP CLUTCH
Junior Will Spradling has been a model of consistency from the free throw line, knocking down 38-of-44 opportunities, including  going 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware, George Washington and Texas Southern.  His effort has raised his career free throw percentage to 83.0 (163-of-196), which is the second-highest in school history behind Steve Henson (90.0; 361-of-401; 1986-90).  Spradling has not only been stellar on the free throw line, but he ranks first on the team in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7).  He also places seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (36.2), ninth in 3-point field goals (1.5) and 11th in assists (2.8 apg.).  He ranks first on the team in 3-point field goals (34), second in assists (62) and third in scoring (8.5 ppg.), steals (21) and  double-digit scoring games (10), while he tallied a season-high 17 points against Florida on Dec. 22.  Since going scoreless against Kansas on Jan. 22, he has posted double-digit efforts at Iowa State (15) and at Oklahoma (12).

WILLIAMS EMERGING AS A KEY RESERVE
After playing in just 15 games his first season (including a medical redshirt in 2010-11), sophomore Nino Williams is starting to emerge as an impact player for K-State.  He has played in 21 of 22 games with the third-most starts (11), averaging 5.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting (46-of-102) with 3.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game.  He had career week in wins against South Dakota and No. 22/21 Oklahoma State, in which, he averaged 16.5 points on 66.7 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.  He tallied a career-best 16 points vs. South Dakota on 7-of-10 field goals before eclipsing that mark with 17 points off the bench against OSU on 7-of-11 field goals.  If you include the Kansas City game, he averaged 13.7 points on 51.5 percent shooting with 8.3 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game in a three-game period from Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.

GIPSON A FACTOR DOWN LOW
Sophomore Thomas Gipson broke out of a slump against Texas on Jan. 30, as he responded with a game-high 17 points on 7-of-10 field goals and a team-high seven rebounds in 21 minutes.  Gipson, who had started 13 consecutive games prior to coming off the bench against the Longhorns, posted his individual high in a Big 12 game, while registering double-digits for the seventh time this season, including the first time since the Kansas City game on Dec. 29.  He came into the Texas game, averaging just 4.7 points on 45.5 percent shooting (10-of-22) and 2.8 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game in Big 12 play.  Since coming off the bench in the last three games, he is averaging 11.7 points on 57.7 percent shooting with 5.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game.  He had arguably his best all-around game against Texas Southern on Dec. 18 with a season-high 14 points to go with 12 rebounds and career-bests in blocks (4) and steals (3) in 26 minutes.  It marked his fourth career double-double, but the first of the season.  The 12-rebound effort tied his season-high that he also had against George Washington on Dec. 8.  The team leader in rebounds at 5.5 per game, he ranks 20th in the Big 12 in rebounds, while his seventh in offensive rebounds at 2.6 per game. 

RECAPPING THE TRIP TO BRAZIL
K-State got a jump start on its preparations for the 2012-13 men’s basketball season with its 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 8-17, 2012.  The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this was the first by the program since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2004.  K-State played four games during the trip, posting a 2-2 record as the squad had to adjust to international rules (four, eight-minute quarters among other differences with NCAA rules).  The Wildcats averaged 70 points on 41.9 percent shooting, including 31.4 percent from the 3-point range, while averaging 37.5 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 4.8 blocks and 9.8 blocks per game.  Angel Rodriguez paced all scorers in Brazil with a 10.3 points per game average on 40 percent shooting, including 35.7 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.  Three others - Nino Williams, Rodney McGruder and Adrian Diaz - all averaged 9.0 points per game, while junior Will Spradling and senior Jordan Henriquez added 8.5 points and 7.3 points per game averages.  Williams led in rebounding (6.0 rpg.), 3-point field goal percentage (40.0) and free throw percentage (83.3), while Diaz was tops in field goal percentage (58.3) and blocks (2.5 bpg.). 

UP NEXT: AT 5/5 KANSAS (19-3, 7-2 Big 12)
K-State will make a quick turnaround on Monday to play No. 5/5 Kansas (19-3, 7-2 Big 12) on ESPN’s Big Monday at 8 p.m.