Dec. 30, 2012
Game Notes | Live Stats | Live Audio | K-StateHD.TV
25/rv Kansas State (10-2, 0-0 Big 12) vs. South Dakota (6-8, 2-1 Summit League)
Monday, December 31, 2012 * 1:10 p.m. CT
Manhattan, Kan. * Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: FOX Sports Midwest/FOX College Sports
Ben Boyle (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Channel Directory: DirecTV 671, Dish 418, AT&T U-verse 748
HD Channel Directory: DirecTV 671-1, Dish 418-1, AT&T 1748
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Josh Reid (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 128/XM 193
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. South Dakota: K-State leads 7-0 (7-0 at home)
Last Meeting: K-State won 91-69 (1/3/10)
25/rv Kansas State (10-2, 0-0 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee `78)
School Record: 10-2 (1st season) * Career Record: 323-157 (15th season) * vs. South Dakota: 0-0
South Dakota (6-8, 2-1 Summit League)
Head coach: Dave Boots (Augsburg `79)
School Record: 499-223 (25th season) * Career Record: 614-286 (31st season) * vs. K-State: 0-1
No. 25 Kansas State (10-2) concludes the non-conference schedule with a New Year's Eve afternoon tilt with Summit League foe South Dakota (6-8, 2-1 Summit League) at Bramlage Coliseum at 1 p.m. It will be the second game in a three-day span for the Wildcats, who won a defensive battle with Kansas City, 52-44, on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 12,528. K-State is 7-0 all-time against South Dakota (all at home) and enter Monday's game with 47 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to an 80-77 overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2007. The team has won 29 straight non-conference home games in December and boast a 39-1 (.975) mark at Bramlage Coliseum in the month the past 10 seasons with the last loss coming to Rutgers on Dec. 28, 2004. Overall, the team is a combined 95-21 (.819) at home in November and December since 2003-04.
Season tickets as well as other ticket packages are available for K-State men's basketball by calling the Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS or by visiting www.k-statesports.com/tickets. A Wildcat 4 Pack (four bench tickets for $60) and group tickets ($10 each for 12+) are also available, while there is a five-game KU Mini-Plan (two non-conference and two Big 12 games to go with KU game for $250). A limited number of tickets for the nine-game Big 12 schedule are also on sale.
Monday's contest will be the seventh and final broadcast on FOX Sports Midwest this season with the game being available on most of the network's footprint, which includes more than six million homes in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois. It will also be simulcast live on one of three FOX College Sports (FCS) national networks, which reach more than 60 million homes. Outside the footprint of the FOX distribution platforms, these games will also be available for the first time on K-StateHD.TV.
K-State made its first appearance in The Associated Press Top 25 on Dec. 24, checking in at No. 25 with 152 points. In addition, the squad also received the third-highest point total (22) among those teams receiving votes outside the USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll. It was the team's first ranking of the season and the first since coming in at No. 22 on Jan. 23, 2012. The program has now been ranked at least one week in each of the last four seasons. The Wildcats are coming off a sluggish defensive win over Kansas City, in which, the squad played without starting point guard Angel Rodriguez and key reserve Martavious Irving, who sat out the game due to injuries. The 96 combined points tied for the lowest by Kansas State and an opponent in the Big 12 era.
South Dakota (6-8, 2-1 Summit League) have won two of its last three games after a three-game slide, including an impressive 95-72 win on the road at league foe Omaha on Saturday. This will be the Coyotes' seventh road game, which has included losses at Wyoming (71-51), Gonzaga (96-58) and Iowa (87-63). The Coyotes are averaging 72.5 points on 44.2 percent shooting, including 34.9 percent from 3-point range, while holding opponents to 74.3 points on 43.8 percent shooting. Former K-State player Juevol Myles leads three players in double figures with a 15.3 points per game average, while junior Trevor Gruis is second in scoring at 11.7 points per game to go with a team-leading 6.4 rebounds per outing. Myles saw action in 19 games for the Wildcats in 2010-11, averaging 2.1 points in 4.7 minutes per game. South Dakota is led by veteran head coach Dave Boots, who enters the game one win shy of 600 for his NCAA career and 500 for his career in Vermillion. He has the 13th-most wins among active Division I head coaches (599). He is 0-1 all-time against K-State with a 91-69 loss in the team's last meeting on Jan. 3, 2010.
Last Meeting: Kansas State 91, South Dakota 69 (Jan. 3, 2010)
Five players scored in double figures led by senior Jacob Pullen's 23 points, as K-State posted a 91-69 win in its last meeting with South Dakota on Jan. 3, 2010. The Wildcats scored 40 points off of 23 Coyote turnovers with 56 of their 91 points coming in the paint. Tyler Cain led two South Dakota players in double figures with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Only three current Wildcats played in the game with Jordan Henriquez (4 points, 5 rebounds), Martavious Irving (2 points) and Rodney McGruder (0 points) all coming off the bench as freshmen. The only current Coyote to play in the game was senior Jordan Boots (8 points).
This will be the eighth meeting between K-State and South Dakota since 1977. The Wildcats have won all seven previous meeting at home with average margin of victory of 33.3 points. The school is 36-1 vs. Summit League foes, including 31-0 at home.
Quickly on Kansas State
--Kansas State's 10-2 start ties for the third-best to start a season in the last 10 seasons behind the 10-1 starts by the 2009-10 and 2011-12 squads. The Wildcats' two losses are to Top 15 teams in current No. 2/2 Michigan and No. 13/13 Gonzaga. The team have 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 (since the 1949-50 season when rankings became available).
--Bruce Weber's 10-2 record ties Zora Clevenger (1916-17) for the best start by a first-year K-State head coach in the program's 109-year history. The best campaign by a first-year head coach in school history is still held by Clevenger, who led the Wildcats to a 15-2 (.882) mark in his inaugural season in 1916-17. Clevenger made most of his impact on the gridiron, where he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was the founder of the East-West Shrine football game.
--K-State received its first national ranking of the season on Dec. 24, appearing at No. 25 in this past week's Associated Press Top 25 with 152 points. It is the first ranking for the Wildcats since coming in at No. 22 in the AP poll on Jan. 23, 2012. In addition, the squad received the third-highest point total (22) among those teams (trailing New Mexico and North Carolina) receiving votes outside the USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll. The program has now been ranked at least one week in each of the last four seasons, a feat which has not happened since doing it six consecutive seasons from 1972-78.
--Eight of the 12 games have been at home (including a home game against No. 8/9 Florida in Kansas City's Sprint Center), where the Wildcats have won 29 consecutive non-conference home games in December and boast a 39-1 (.975) mark in the month at Bramlage Coliseum the past 10 seasons with the last loss coming to Rutgers on Dec. 28, 2004. Overall, K-State has won 47 straight non-conference home games dating back to an 80-77 overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon on Nov. 29, 2007. The squad is a combined 95-21 (.819) in home games in November and December since the 2003-04 season.
--Despite its offensive struggles vs. Kansas City, K-State has been solid overall on offense at home, averaging 74.2 points on 44.1 percent shooting, including 33.1 percent from 3-point range, in eight games. In its two neutral and road games this season, the team is averging nearly 20 points less (60.0 ppg.) on 36.2 percent shooting, including 30.3 percent from 3-point range. The
defensive effort has also been better at home with opponents averaging 51.9 points compared to 66.0 points away from home.
--The Wildcats have posted a .500 or better record in true road games in the past four seasons, including a composite 24-16 (.600) road record since the 2008-09 season. The team has won seven of its last eight non-conference road games, including six straight wins (Cleveland State, UNLV, Loyola Chicago, Washington State, Virginia Tech and George Washington).
--Heading into Monday's game, K-State ranked in the Top 40 in seven categories nationally, including first in offensive rebounds (17.0), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.5), 18th in rebounding margin (+8.8), 20th in rebounding (41.5), 28th in scoring defense (57.7), 38th in scoring margin (+13.4) and 39th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The team ranks in the Top 5 in eight categories in the Big 12, including first in offensive rebounds, second in rebounding, rebounding margin and 3-point field goal percentage defense, second in turnover margin, third in scoring defense, assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
K-State is having a stellar start to the 2012-13 athletics season, as the Wildcats have one of the best winning percentages among Bowl Championship Series (BCS) schools when combining football and men's and women's basketball records. As of Sunday's results, the school's .833 winning percentage (30-6) is seventh nationally to Notre Dame (.944, 34-2), Louisville (.868, 33-5), Ohio State (.865, 32-5), Michigan (.842, 32-6), Florida (.838, 31-6) and South Carolina (.838, 31-6), while it is one of just 11 BCS schools with 30 or more combined wins among its three major sports. The others include Notre Dame (34), Louisville (33), Michigan (32), Ohio State (32), Florida (31), North Carolina (31), South Carolina (31), Stanford (31), Florida State (30) and Michigan State (30).
The football team produced just its second 11-win regular season in school history and its first since 2003, while they are headed to a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game (Fiesta Bowl) for the first time in eight years. The men's basketball team is off to its third-best start (10-2) in the past 10 seasons, while the women's basketball team (9-3) has won two consecutive road games after a three-game skid. If you take into account the success of the women's volleyball team, which won 20 matches and advanced to NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in 12 seasons, the Wildcats are 51-16 (.761) since August 24.
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 just the 12th non-conference Top 10 win in school history (and the first since defeating No. 3 Purdue, 73-70, and then assistant coach Bruce Weber on March 25, 1988 in the NCAA Tournament), including the seventh in the regular season. Aside from Minnesota in 1981 and Florida in 2012, the Wildcats have also beaten No. 4 Long Island (85-65) on Jan. 31, 1951, No. 7 Notre Dame (80-64) on Dec. 19, 1952, No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) on Dec. 19, 1958, No. 5 North Carolina (77-69) on Dec. 16, 1960 and No. 9 St. John's (63-50) on Dec. 16, 1961.
K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with six players averaging five or more points, including just two in double figures, and seven averaging three or more rebounds per game. Senior Rodney McGruder (13.6 ppg.) and sophomore Angel Rodriguez (10.1 ppg.) are the only Wildcats to average in double figures, while two other players - Will Spradling (9.3 ppg.) and Thomas Gipson (8.3 ppg.) are averaging better than seven points per contest. The team has seen nine players collect 32 double-digit scoring games with McGruder (eight) leading the way. In all, the Wildcats have had five players lead or share the lead in scoring in 12 games. Gipson (6.8 rpg.) paces the squad in rebounding despite leading in a game just three times, while Nino Williams (5.5 rpg.), McGruder (5.3 rpg.), Jordan Henriquez (4.2 rpg.) and D.J. Johnson (4.1 rpg.) - average better than four rebounds per game. The team has had nine players either lead or share the lead in rebounding.
The Wildcats have also been diverse in other categories, including five players with both double-digit assists and double-digit steals. Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 47 assists with six players either leading or sharing the lead in assists. McGruder and Spradling pace all players with 14 steals, while eight have either led or shared the lead in steals. Four players -- Spradling (30.1 mpg.), McGruder (29.6), Rodriguez (22.9) and Gipson (20.9) -- are each averaging more than 20 minutes for the season.
On The Defensive
K-State has continued to be one of the best defensive teams not only in the Big 12, but nationally, where the squad entered the week ranking 11th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.5), 18th in rebound margin (+8.8), 20th in rebounding (41.5) and 28th in scoring defense (57.7 ppg.). In all, the Wildcats rank either first or second in six Big 12 defensive categories, including second in rebounding, rebounding margin, 3-point field goal percentage defense and turnover margin and third in scoring defense and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The squad is fifth in field goal percentage defense (38.8).
The 679 points surrendered through the first 12 games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 627 points (52.3 ppg.) through the first 12 games. The team has held nine of its 12 opponents to score 65 points or less, including six to 55 points or less, while five have been held to under 40 percent shooting. The defensive effort 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 (9-of-55) was only surpassed by Savannah State's 15.5 percentage. The Wildcats have held five of 10 opponents to 55 points or less.
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 in his first season. The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 187-138 (an average of 15.6 points per game), through the first 12 games in points off of turnovers. K-State is forcing its opponents into 15.5 turnovers per game (third-most in the Big 12), including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while turning the ball over an average of 12.6 times per game (third-lowest in the Big 12). The 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 39th nationally and third in the Big 12. In Martin's five seasons, the Wildcats scored 3,081 points off of 2,763 turnovers in 169 games - an average of 18.2 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in that five-year period came off of offense generated from turnovers. The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons, including 577 (17.5 average per game) in 2011-12.
K-State continues to be one of the best rebounding squads in the country, as the Wildcats tie for 21st nationally in rebounding (41.4), including first in offensive rebounds (17.2), and 18th in rebounding margin (+8.4). The team ranks second in the Big 12 in rebounding, while they are the clear leader in offensive rebounds (17.2 to West Virginia's 15.2). Overall, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their foes by a 497-396 margin, including 206-134 on the offensive end. Sophomore Thomas Gipson ranks 10th in the Big 12 in overall rebounds (6.8 rpg.), while he is one of four Wildcats to rank in the Top 15 in offensive rebounds (3.5, 1st), along with Nino Williams (2.6, 8th), D.J. Johnson (2.4, 11th) and Rodney McGruder (2.3, 14th). The team has collected 40 or more rebounds in seven of its first 12 games, including a season-best 55 vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards three times. The squad grabbed 42 defensive rebounds vs. Alabama-Huntsville, which ties for the second-most in school history and the most since also posting 42 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 16, 1998.
The Wildcats have taken advantage of its rebounding skills this season, averaging 29.6 points in the paint and 15.2 points off of second-chance opportunities. The team has at least 30 points in the paint in six of 12 games, including a season-high 46 vs. Texas Southern on Dec. 18, while it has tallied at least 15 second-chance points six times with a season-best 23 vs. USC Upstate.
K-State has finished among the Top 5 in the Big 12 in rebounding in each of the last five seasons, including first in 2007-08 and 2008-09, while the squad has led the league in offensive boards for five consecutive years, including a school-record 559 in 2009-10. The Wildcats have tallied 700 or more defensive rebounds in each of the last six seasons, including 756 in 2011-12.
Adding to the K-State's balanced attack is the production it's getting from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 24.5 points, including a 294-174 edge over opponents. The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in eight games, including 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9. Reserves have scored nearly half of the team's points four times with Thomas Gipson tying for the scoring lead from the bench against North Dakota and Delaware (before earning his first start vs. USC Upstate) and Shane Southwell leading the way with a career-best 16 points off the bench vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13. The rebounding leader has come from the bench in six games with D.J. Johnson posting the team-high vs. North Dakota (9) and Lamar (8), Southwell recording a career-high nine boards vs. UAH, Adrian Diaz grabbing a career-best 10 vs. North Florida, Gipson tying Will Spradling for the rebounding lead (6) vs. Delaware and Nino Williams snagging seven boards vs. No. 8/9 Florida. Nearly 50 percent (221) of the rebounding total has come from its bench, while nearly 40 percent (306) of the scoring total has come from reserves.
Protecting the Ball
K-State has been solid protecting the ball this season, as the squad ranks second in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+2.9) and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Entering Monday's game, the Wildcats ranks in the Top 50 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (39th). Through the first 12 games, the Wildcats have produced 12.6 turnovers per game (third-lowest average in Big 12), while forcing its foes into an average of 15.5 turnovers (third-most in the Big 12). The team has 14 or fewer turnovers in eight of 12 games, including just six against No. 4/4 Michigan on Nov. 23, while they have forced their opponents into 19 or more turnovers four times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar on Nov. 12. K-State has also capitalizing on its foes' mistakes, averaging 15.6 points off of turnovers, while allowing opponents to score just 11.5 points per game off of its miscues.
More on Ball Protection
Six 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 133 assists to 61 turnovers (2.2 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. Spradling (2.5, 1st) and Rodriguez (2.0, 4th) both rank in the Big 12's Top 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio and are two of just four players in the league with a ratio above 2.0. Spradling, who has 38 assists to just 15 turnovers, led the team with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, while Rodriguez has made a notable improvement (47 assists to 24 turnovers) in the area after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman. Irving has also doubled his ratio (2.7 from 1.5) with 26 assists to 10 turnovers, while Southwell has registered a solid 1.8 ratio (22 assists to 12 turnovers) after posting a 1.6 ratio last season.
McGruder Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week Again
Senior Rodney McGruder earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks on Dec. 24 after helping Kansas State to wins over Texas Southern and No. 8/9 Florida last week. He averaged a team-best 19.5 points on 55.2 percent shooting (16-of-29) with 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 36 minutes in the two wins. He also connected on 7-of-10 from the free throw line, including a 5-of-6 effort in the win over the Gators. He opened the week with a season-high 26 points in the win over Texas Southern on Dec. 18 on 12-of-17 field goals to go with three assists, two rebounds and one steal in 34 minutes. It was 15th career 20-point scoring game, while the 12 field goals were a career-high. He was solid all-around in the 67-61 win over No. 8/9 Florida -- the Wildcats' first regular-season, non-conference Top 10 win since 1981 -- with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. He earns the award for the third time in his career and the second time this season after winning it on Dec. 10 with his double-double effort in the road victory over George Washington. He was also named the weekly award winner on Dec. 26, 2011 after his MVP performance at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
McGruder Joins Elite Company
Senior Rodney McGruder joined elite company against USC Upstate on Dec. 2, as he became the eighth Wildcat in school history with at least 1,100 points and 500 rebounds in a career. He joined Rolando Blackman (1,844 points and 607 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points and 824 rebounds), Cartier Martin (1,546 points and 546 rebounds), Willie Murrell (1,121 points and 576 rebounds), Ed Nealy (1,304 points and 1,069 rebounds), Jack Parr (1,184 points and 889 rebounds) and Jamar Samuels (1,259 points and 716 rebounds). McGruder currently ranks 13th in scoring with 1,192 points (passing Parr for 13th with his 17-point effort vs. Kansas City and now needs 111 points to tie Nealy for the Top 10), while he is just the 25th player with 500 or more rebounds in a career. In addition, he has seen action in 88 consecutive games dating back to his sophomore season, including 79 straight starts. His 88 consecutive games played rank ninth in school history, while 79 consecutive starts is fourth.
McGruder Named Preseason Candidate for Naismith, Wooden Awards
Senior Rodney McGruder has been selected as a preseason candidate for two of the most prestigious awards in college basketball, as he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award on Nov. 8 before he was selected to the early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy on Nov. 12. The preseason lists, which reflects the early frontrunners for two of college basketball's Premier Player of the Year awards, is based on last year's individual performance. McGruder becomes the first Wildcat named to the preseason list for both awards since Jacob Pullen was selected in 2010. He led the squad in 11 categories in 2011-12, including scoring (15.8 ppg.), double-figure scoring (28) and 3-point field goals (50). He was one of six Big 12 players selected to the Wooden list, which includes Baylor's Pierre Jackson, Kansas' Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey and OSU's Le'Bryan Nash, while he was one of five on the Naismith list, including Jackson, Withey, Kansas' Ben McLemore and OSU's Marcus Smart.
McGruder Named to Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Senior Rodney McGruder was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team released by the conference office on Oct. 4. McGruder, who was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2011-12, was one of three unanimous picks by the league's head coaches, joining Kansas' Jeff Withey and Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash. The final two spots on the team went to Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Texas' Myck Kabongo. McGruder is the first Wildcat named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team since Jacob Pullen was named to the squad along with garnering Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year honors in 2010-11. It marks just the third time that a Wildcat (Manny Dies in 1998-99, Pullen and Curtis Kelly in 2010-11) has been selected to the preseason team. McGruder is of only three returning Big 12 players to have ranked in the Top 20 in both scoring and rebounding in 2011-12.
Rodriguez's Improved Play
Despite missing his first game on Saturday, sophomore Angel Rodriguez has continued his improvement from his freshman season in 2012-13, as he ranks first or second on the squad in six categories, including first in assists (47) and second in scoring (10.1 ppg.), double-figure scoring games (7) and 3-point field goals (17). He has helped the Wildcats rank third in the Big 12 in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, while he places in the league's Top 20 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0, 4th), assists (4.3, 6th), 3-point field goal percentage (34.7, 11th) and 3-point field goals made (1.5, 12th). He has scored in double figures seven times, including a career-best 19 points vs. Lamar to go with game-highs at George Washington (17) on Dec. 8 and Gonzaga (14) on Dec. 15. Rodriguez was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after averaging 11 points and 5.5 assists in two games at Madison Square Garden in helping the Wildcats to a second-place finish.
Spradling Coming Up Clutch
Junior Will Spradling has been a model of consistency from the free throw line, knocking down 29-of-32 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 83.7 (154-of-184), 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 in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5), eighth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (35.2), ninth in assists (3.2) and 10th in 3-point field goals made (1.6). He ranks third on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game and has registered six double-figure scoring games (third on the team), including a season-high 17 points in the win over No. 8/9 Florida on Dec. 22.
Gipson A Factor Down Low
Sophomore Thomas Gipson is starting to emerge as the Wildcats' go-to player in the post, averaging 8.5 points on 54.3 percent shooting (19-of-35) with a team-best 7.7 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game in his last six starts. After a poor game against No. 14/14 Gonzaga on Dec. 15, he rebounded to collect arguably his best all-around game of the season vs. Texas Southern on Dec. 18 with a season-high 14 points on 5-of-7 field goals 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 leader in rebounds at 6.8 per game, he ranks 10th in the Big 12 in overall rebounds, while his first in offensive rebounds at 3.5 per game. He had a career-best seven offensive boards vs. Texas Southern.
`Cats Enjoy Memorable Trip to Brazil
K-State got a jump start on its preparations for the 2012-13 season with its 10-day trip to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from Aug. 8-17, 2012. The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this was the first since playing four games in British Columbia in 2004. More information on the Brazil trip can be found in the media guide on p. 24-25.
Up Next: vs. No. 22/22 Oklahoma State (10-1)
K-State opens the Big 12 portion of its schedule on Saturday by welcoming No. 22/22 Oklahoma State at 12:30 p.m.