12/12 KANSAS STATE (12-1, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. South Dakota (6-6, 0-0 Great West)
Date: Sunday, January 3, 2010
Tipoff: 12:10 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: FOX Sports Kansas City/ESPN Full Court (Ben Boyle, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst; Max Leinwand, producer) | Channel Directory: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 448, AT&T U-Verse 750 | Internet: www.ESPN360.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Matt Walters, analyst) | Live Stats: www.kstatesports.com | Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan) | Satellite Radio: n/a
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 55-25 (.688) in his third season at K-State. South Dakota - Dave Boots (Augsburg '79) is 449-178 (.716) in his 23rd season at South Dakota and 564-241 (.701) in his 29th season overall as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State defeated Cleveland State, 85-56, on Dec. 29, while South Dakota lost at home to Morehead State, 66-64, on Dec. 28.
Series: K-State leads 6-0 (6-0 at home) | Last time: K-State won 95-45 at home on Nov. 29, 1986 | vs. Great West Conference: K-State leads 11-0 (10-0 at home) | Frank Martin is 0-0 vs. South Dakota, while Dave Boots is 0-0 all-time vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked 12th in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 polls. South Dakota is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: $15 (bench and Cat Cushion), $25 (chairbacks) at the Athletics Ticket Office at 800.221.CATS or via www.k-statesports.com.
K-State concludes non-conference play with South Dakota
Kansas State (12-1) opens the 2010 portion of its schedule on Sunday, as the Wildcats wrap up non-conference play with a contest against South Dakota (6-6) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 12 p.m. A win against the Coyotes would give the squad a tie for the most non-conference wins (13) in school history, which was set during the 1993-94 season, while it would represent the best non-league winning percentage (13-1, .929) in school history. The Wildcats, which are off to their best start since 1958-59, is in the midst of their longest winning streak (nine) under third-year head coach Frank Martin and their longest streak since winning nine in a row to start the 1997-98 season. A win would give the team their first 10-game winning streak since the 1993-94 season (Dec. 1, 1993 to Jan. 5, 1994), which would equal five other squads for the ninth-longest in school history, and just the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history. In addition, K-State has the opportunity to tie for the longest winning streak in Bramlage Coliseum with a win. The current 11-game homecourt winning streak (which dates back to the North Carolina Central on Feb. 17, 2009) is one back of a 12-game win streak that spanned the 1996-97 and 1997-98 season. The squad, which completed December unbeaten for the eighth time in school history and the first time since 1998-99 season, has won 22 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to the 2007-08 season.
The Wildcats, who earned their first national ranking since the 2007-08 season on Dec. 14, remained steady in the AP poll at No. 12 and moved up three spots to No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll on Monday. It matches the highest ranking in the AP poll since head coach Jack Hartman led the Wildcats to a No. 9 ranking in the poll on March 13, 1973 with a 23-5 record, while it is the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll in 1965. The squad, whose 14 non-conference opponents boast a .624 winning percentage through Jan. 2, currently has the second-best RPI (according to three of the four major services) and a consensus Top 15 strength of schedule. Sunday's contest will be broadcast regionally on FOX Sports Kansas City with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call. It will also be available on the ESPN Full Court plan as well as on ESPN360.com.
K-State wrapped up its first unbeaten December in more than 10 years with an 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Tuesday at home. The team's 12-1 start matches three others (1947-48, 1957-58, 1958-59) for the second-best start after 13 games in school history and trails just the 1918-19 squad which opened the year with a school-record 17 consecutive victories. The team turned up the defensive intensity, holding the Vikings to a 56 points on just 33.3 percent shooting, including 22.7 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 20 or more turnovers for the fifth time this season. The Wildcats scored 30 points off those miscues (marking the seventh time they have scored 20 or more points off turnovers) and scored 20 or more points from the free throw line for the 10th time this season against the Vikings. Junior Jacob Pullen led the five Wildcats in scoring for the sixth consecutive game with 18 points.
Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (82.9 ppg.) on 48.2 percent shooting (349-of-724), including 37.5 percent from 3-point range (87-of-232), with 38.8 rebounds, 15.9 assists, 6.9 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 10 of 13 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on nine occasions. The 1,078 points scored are the second-most through 13 games in school history and the most since the 1986-87 squad scored 1,091 points. The team is averaging over 35 points per game (35.1) in the paint (10 more than their opponents), while averaging the nation's most free throw makes (22.5) and second-most attempts (34.6) per game. They are out-scoring their opponents, 155-50, in fast-break points. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding opponents to 67.6 points on 40.3 percent shooting while averaging 20.9 points off of 17.5 turnovers per game. After allowing nearly 77 points in the previous three games, the Wildcats turned up the intensity in the game against Cleveland State, holding the squad to its second-fewest points (56) on just 33.3 percent shooting, including 22.7 percent from 3-point range, while posting a dominant 50-30 advantage on the boards.
The Wildcats are 12-1 for the first time under head coach Frank Martin and for the first time as a program since the 1958-59 squad also opened at 12-1 (also matched by the 1947-48 and 1957-58 squads). Only one other team has fared better after 13 games in school history, as the 1918-19 team started the season with 17 straight wins. This is just the fifth time in school history that the team has won 12 of their first 13 games.
Named a Mid-Season second team All-American by Yahoo! Sports, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 19.8 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (73), 3-point field goals (38), free throws (74), free throw percentage (79.6) and steals (20), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.2 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (51) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.68). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (442) so far this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.0) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. Clemente topped the 1,000-point plateau for his career (which includes his two-year stint at Miami) with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28. Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points with his 30-point effort against Alabama on Dec. 19. His 1,049 points in 80 career games ranks 16th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 13 games and a team-best 52 times in his career. Pullen needs just three more double-digit games to crack the school's all-time top 10 list.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 11.8 points per game on 60 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 12 of 13 games, ranks fourth on the squad in rebounding at 5.1 per game. He has scored in double figures in 10 of his 12 games played, including a career-best 21 points against Fort Hays State on Dec. 1. Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 24 of Samuels' 25 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.7 points per game. Kelly, who leads the team with two double-doubles, is shooting a team-best 61.2 percent from the field and leads all players with 6.3 rebounds per contest. Junior Dominique Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's best defenders, is averaging 7.5 points on 51.5 percent shooting to go with the third-most rebounds per game (5.2). He has been stellar during the current nine-game winning streak, averaging 9.4 points on 53.4 percent shooting with a team-best 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 25.6 minutes per outing.
Postgame Notes vs. Cleveland State
--Kansas State moved to 3-0 all-time against Cleveland State with all three wins coming in three of the last four seasons... The 29-point win was the second-most between the two teams in the series behind a 33-point win in 2006... The Wildcats also moved to 7-5 all-time against teams from the Horizon League, including a perfect 6-0 at home... The team moved to 12-1 on the season for the first time since the 1958-59 season... K-State has now won 34 of their last 35 games at Bramlage Coliseum in the month of December dating back to 2002-03 season... The stretch includes 22 consecutive home wins since Dec. 30, 2004... It is the first perfect December (7-0) since 1998-99 and most wins in the month since 1993-94.
--The Wildcats' starting lineup was junior guard Jacob Pullen, senior guard Denis Clemente, junior forward Dominique Sutton, junior forward Curtis Kelly and senior center Luis Colon... It marks the first time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 47 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 80.
--The victory gave the Wildcats' nine consecutive wins for the first time in the Frank Martin era (three different times the squad had won six games) and their longest winning streak since winning nine straight from Nov. 14 to Dec. 28, 1997 under former head coach Tom Asbury.
--The 85 points gave K-State its 10th 80-point effort in the first 13 games of the season, which continues a school-record... Five players scored in double figures for the Wildcats for the second consecutive game and fourth time overall this season... The team connected on 46.4 percent (26-of-56) from the field, marking the ninth game that the team has shot 45 percent or better from the field this season... The squad, which posted had 20 more rebounds than Cleveland State, eclipsed 50 rebounds in a game for the first time since the Florida A&M (53) on Nov. 14, 2008.
--K-State scored 30 points off of 20 Cleveland State turnovers, marking the seventh time this season (including the fourth straight game) that the team has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers... It also marked the fifth time that the team has forced 20 or more turnovers in a contest... The 30 points off turnovers was the second-highest total this season behind the school-record 39 against Washington State on Dec. 5.
--Junior Jacob Pullen led five players in double figures with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range... Pullen has led the team in scoring eight times this year, including 20 times in his career... He has at least two 3-pointers in 11 consecutive games (span where he is shooting nearly 47 percent from that range)... Junior Curtis Kelly posted 17 points, including a career-best 9-of-12 effort from the free throw line, while senior Denis Clemente and junior Dominique Sutton each added 13 points... Sophomore Jamar Samuels posted his 10th double-digit scoring effort with 12... Sutton also had eight rebounds, four assists and a team-high four steals on the night... Senior Luis Colon, in his first start of the season, tied a career-high with 12 rebounds, including seven on the defensive end... Clemente dished out a team-high seven assists.
The Book on South Dakota
A member of the Great West Conference, South Dakota enters Sunday's game with a 6-6 overall record after suffering its first home loss of the year on Monday against Morehead State, 66-64. The Coyotes, who are in their second year since moving from the Division II ranks, have dropped three of their last four games, including back-to-back contests. The team, which produced a 20-9 mark in their first year at Division I, have battled several established Division I programs, including Texas Tech (49-88), Oregon State (47-62), Marquette (68-93), Drake (81-96) and Wyoming (74-86). The wins have come against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (76-73), Mayville State (99-67), Dana (100-65), Midland Lutheran (104-71) and Dakota State (111-59) and Binghamton (89-77). The team is a member of the Great West Conference, which includes Chicago State, Houston Baptist, NJIT, North Dakota, Utah Valley and UTPA.
South Dakota is averaging just over 80 points per game (80.2) on the year on 47 percent shooting, including 36.7 percent from 3-point range, with 36.7 rebounds, 16.7 assists, 6.9 steals and 3.4 blocks per game. The team is shooting a solid 68 percent from the free throw line. A squad that features five redshirt and true freshmen, the Coyotes have a balanced scoring team with seven players averaging eight or more points on the season. The team is led by senior Tyler Cain, who is averaging 14.0 points on 63.2 percent shooting and a team-best 8.4 rebounds per game. Cain paces the squad in field goals (67), free throws (34), rebounds (101) and blocks (23), while is second in assists (34). Freshman Jake Thomas is averaging 13.9 points on 47 percent shooting with a team-best 44 3-point field goals. He is also averaging 4.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Junior Mitchell Bouie is the other player in double figures with 10.3 points on 56.3 percent shooting to go with 4.2 rebounds per game. JuniorKendall Cutler is tops in assists at 4.8 per game.
South Dakota is led by veteran head coach Dave Boots, who has posted a 449-178 (.716) record in his 23rd season at the school. He led the school to 10 NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including trips to the Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons in 1993 and 1994, and to six North Central Conference titles. He has a 564-241 (.701) overall record in his 29th season as a head coach.
Series vs. South Dakota
This will be the seventh all-time meeting between K-State and South Dakota on the hardwood with the Wildcats holding a 6-0 edge in the series. The two schools haven't met since the 1986-87 season when the Wildcats earned a 95-45 victory over the Coyotes at Ahearn Field House on Nov. 29, 1986. The six previous meetings came between a 10-year span from 1977-86 with an average margin of victory of 35.2 points. The first game between the schools was the closest margin with the Wildcats winning 69-52 at home on Nov. 28, 1977.
'Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play this season in the month of January where the Wildcats have won 17 of their last 24 games. The squad is 363-303 (.545) all-time in January with 17 wins in their last 22 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season, while thy have a current streak of 10 consecutive home victories over non-conference opponents dating back to the 1999-2000 season. The team's last home loss to a non-conference team in January came against Long Beach State, 70-64, on Jan. 4, 2000. K-State has won four or more games in the month in each of the last five seasons, including a 6-0 mark in 2007-08. The team has posted a winning mark in January 58 times, including five straight seasons dating back to 2004-05. The Wildcats have posted just nine unbeaten marks in the month, including the 1915-16 (5-0), 1918-19 (4-0), 1950-51 (5-0), 1951-52 (5-0), 1957-58 (4-0), 1958-59 (6-0), 1959-60 (6-0), 1969-70 (6-0) and 2007-08 (6-0) seasons.
Inside the Win Streak
--Kansas State is averaging 83.3 points on 48.7 percent shooting (238-of-489), including 40.4 percent from 3-point range (65-of-161), during its nine-game winning streak... The Wildcats have scored at least 70 points in all nine games and has connected on 45 percent or better in six of the contests... The squad is averaging 33.7 points in the paint (compared to 26.2 for its foes), 23.4 points off turnovers, 14.3 points in second chance points, 12.6 points in fast-break points and 23.1 points off the bench... The Wildcats have held their opponents to 68.8 points in the stretch on 42.6 percent shooting, including 33.1 percent from 3-point range... The team also holds an impressive averaging rebounding margin of 37.9 to 31.1.
--During the winning streak, the Wildcats have earned wins over six teams with RPI ratings in the top 100, including four in the top 50 (according to RealTimeRPI.com)... The other win came against Fort Hays State, a Division II team that has posted a 10-1 record and ranks 12th nationally in the Division II Top 25... Also included in those wins are two over Top 25 opponents (No. 18/21 Dayton and No. 18/17 UNLV), marking the first time in over 50 years that a Wildcat team has beaten two Top 25 foes during the non-conference season and first since the 1958-59 squad defeated No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958 in Kansas City, Mo.
--Junior Jacob Pullen paces three players in double figures during the nine-game streak at 22.4 points per game... He is shooting 47.9 percent from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point range, while adding highs in both field goals (57), 3-point field goals (32) and steals (13)... Senior Denis Clemente is averaging 15.2 points on 41.9 percent shooting, including 32.8 percent from 3-point range with highs in assists (39)... The two have combined to average 37.6 points per game during the stretch... Sophomore Jamar Samuels also is in double figures at 12.3 points per game on a team-best 60.8 percent shooting... Juniors Curtis Kelly and Dominique Sutton are averaging 10.1 and 9.4 points per game.
Sizzling in the Second Half
Kansas State has proved itself to be a strong team in the second half this season, averaging over 45 points (45.2) on 52.5 percent shooting (177-of-337), including 43.4 percent (46-of-106) from 3-point range. The team has scored 40 or more points in the second half in 12 of their 13 games, including 50 or more on three occasions, while they have connected on 50 percent or better from the field eight times (including 60 percent clips against Western Illinois, UNLV and Alabama). This statistic has especially been a factor during the current nine-game winning streak where the Wildcats have connected on 52.7 percent (117-of-222) in the second half, including 44.6 percent (33-of-74) from beyond the arc. In the last four games alone, K-State is averaging 47.2 points in the second half on 56.7 percent shooting (55-of-97), including 46.2 percent from 3-point range.
Seizing on its Opportunities
Kansas State has capitalized this season on its opportunities from the free throw line, where the Wildcats rank first nationally in free throws made per game (22.5) and second in free throws attempted per game (34.6). The squad has connected on 20 or more free throws in 10 of their 13 games, including six consecutive games, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in nine contests. The team tied its season high with 28 free throws against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 21 (also had 28 vs. Boston University on Nov. 19), while they attempted at least 40 free throws (42) for the fifth time this season. The Wildcats also seem to make them in clutch situations, hitting on 71.8 percent in the last five minutes.
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent's miscues. Since he became K-State's head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 1,516 points off of 1,341 turnovers in 80 games, an average of 19.0 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past three years have come off of offense generated from opponent turnovers. In 2007-08, the Wildcats scored 18.9 points per game off of 16.2 turnovers per game, while in 2008-09, the team scored 25.7 points off of an average of 17.0 turnovers per contest. This year has not been any different with the squad averaging 20.9 points off of 17.5 opponent mistakes per game. Seven times K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers, including 39 against Washington State, which is the most against one foe since the stat has been kept starting in 2005-06. The Wildcats also scored 20 or more off of miscues against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29) and Cleveland State (30).
Quite A Duo
Senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen have become quite the scoring duo for the Wildcats in their two seasons together. The two have combined to score 1,394 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.0 points per game through 13 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 19.8 points per game. The 34.0-point combined average is the third-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and just ahead of Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5) and Steve Henson and Jean Derouillere in 1989-90 (33.1). Historically, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 27.9) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. They have combined to score 20 or more points 40 times in 45 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 25 occasions. They were perhaps at their best in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, as the two combined for 50 points on 57.1 percent shooting (16-of-28) from the field, including 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from 3-point range, in the win. It marked the seventh time (now eighth) the pair has combined to score 40 or more points (in 45 career games together) with four of those games coming in last nine outings. The game against the Rebels was just the fourth in which both players have topped 20 or more points in the same contest following Kansas on Feb. 14, 2009, Dayton on Nov. 22 and Washington State on Dec. 5.
Clemente Tops 1,000
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28. Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 664 points his two-year career on 40 percent shooting (228-of-571) from the field, including 34.7 percent (83-of-239) from 3-point range, in 45 games. He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 139 points to tie Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96) for 10th place. He scored 450 points in his two years as a Hurricane, connecting on 38.7 percent (167-of-432) of his field goals, including 31.5 percent (57-of-181) from beyond the arc, in 61 games.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season as a Wildcat. With his team-best 18-point effort against Cleveland State on Tuesday, Pullen now has 1,049 career points, which ranks 16th all-time in school history. He has a chance to crack into the school's all-time Top 10, where he is just 202 points short of 10th-place Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82). His next milestone could be 1,100 career points, which has only been done by 12 players in school history, including most recently by Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07). Pullen became the 21st player in school history to tally 1,000 career points, including the eighth guard to do so, with his fourth 3-point field goal of the first half against Alabama on Dec. 19. He ranks in the top 5 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted, ranking fourth in attempts with 442 and fifth in makes with 153. He needs five 3-point attempts to move ahead of Cartier Martin (446, 2003-07) for third place, while he needs two 3-point field goals to move past Lance Harris (154; 2003-07) for fourth place all-time. Pullen became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston in the opener on Nov. 19 in the Puerto Rico. With his three thefts against Alabama, he now ranks fourth in school history in the categories and needs just six more to move ahead of Elliot Hatcher (118, 1994-96) for third-place all-time. Pullen moved into the career Top 10 in assists with his 248th against Washington State on Dec. 5 and is just 10 behind Ed Nealy (270; 1979-82) for eighth-place all-time. He could join Steve Henson (1987-90) and Askia Jones (1989-94) as the only players in school history with 1,000 points (already has 1,049), 200 3-pointers (needs 47), 250 assists (already has 260) and 100 steals (already has 111).
The D Stands for Defense
Junior Dominique Sutton is starting to state his case as one of the premier defenders not just in the Big 12 but nationally. Sutton, who has been regularly assigned the opponent's top offensive performer for much of his career, has really become a top-line defender for the Wildcats in four of the last six games. During that stretch against the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford and UNLV's Derrick Jasper and Cleveland State's Norris Cole, he held those three to a collective 34 shooting percentage (16-of-47), including 12.5 percent (2-of-16) from 3-point range. Thompson, who entered the game on Dec. 5 as the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, shot just 5-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-4 from long range, with one assist and nine turnovers. Although Thompson scored 22 points in the contest, 11 of those came from the free throw line. Crawford, another pro prospect, managed 16 points (five from the line) against Sutton, but shot just 5-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-5 from 3-point range, with one assist and three turnovers. Jasper was held scoreless for the first time in his UNLV career, going 0-of-3 from the field. He held Cole to just 6-of-16 shooting, including 0-of-4 from 3-point range, with 17 points and eight turnovers. Sutton's defense has helped boost his offensive game, where he is averaging 9.4 points on 53.4 percent shooting during the winning streak.
Kelly Becoming A Force Down Under
Junior Curtis Kelly is starting to develop his game down low for the Wildcats after sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from UConn. A starter in all 13 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.7 points per game on a team-best 61.2 percent shooting to go with a team-best 6.3 rebounds per contest. He leads the team with two double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort against Ole Miss on Nov. 20 and an 11-point, 11-rebound effort against IUPUI on Nov. 28. Kelly has scored in double figures eight times this year including in back-to-back games in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the squad in rebounding in six of 13 contests. He has shot over 60 percent in eight games, including connecting on 81.8 percent (9-of-11) in the opener against Loyola Chicago with a career-best 22 points.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels has continued where he left off in 2008-09, becoming a key boost off the bench for the Wildcats. Samuels, who is third on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game, has seen 24 of his 25 double-digit scoring efforts come as a reserve. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 10 times with eight of those coming off the bench. Samuels' only start came in the opener against Loyola Chicago, where he scored 11 points on 3-of-6 field goals in just 14 minutes of action. He scored a career-high 21 points from the bench in the win over Fort Hays State (No. 14 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, knocking down 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line. He has also been a big force on the rebounding end for the squad, totaling six or more boards in six games all off the bench.
Colon Back To Action
Senior Luis Colon made his long awaited debut against No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, scoring one point and grabbing five rebounds in 11 minutes of action off the bench. Colon, who was also hurt in the preseason, missed the first nine games off the season due to an off-the-court issue that has since been resolved. A key component to the Wildcat attack last season, Colon was one of two players (along with Jacob Pullen) to start all 34 games a year ago, averaging 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds per game. Colon, who has 23 rebounds in just four games, was solid in his first start of the season against Cleveland State with a career-tying 12 rebounds to go with four points, one steal and one block.
Pullen Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Jacob Pullen was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Dec. 14 in an announcement by the league office. Pullen, who helped the Wildcats to wins over Xavier and No. 18/17 UNLV, averaged 22.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting (13-of-27), including 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range, for the week with 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. Pullen began the week by scoring 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half of a 71-56 win over the Musketeers in 24 minutes. He then followed with a season-high 28-point output in a 95-80 win over the nationally-ranked Runnin' Rebels, including a career-best 7-of-10 effort from beyond the arc. The seven 3-point field goals tied eight other players for the fourth-most in school history. Pullen is the first Wildcat to earn Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors since teammate Denis Clemente claimed the distinction on Feb. 2, 2009.
Clemente Named Candidate for Bob Cousy Award
Senior Denis Clemente was named a candidate for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award on Dec. 17, which recognizes college basketball's top point guard. The annual award, which is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy, is presented by The Hartford Financial Services and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Clemente was one of 72 candidates nominated for the award, which includes players from all Division I, II and III schools across the country. He is one of 49 candidates from Division I, including fellow Big 12 players Diante Garrett (Iowa State), J.T. Tiller (Missouri), Ray Penn (Oklahoma State) and Sherron Collins (Kansas).
Clemente has helped guide the No. 17/22 Wildcats to their highest ranking in over 36 years in The Associated Press poll and a 12-1 overall record for just the fifth time in school history and for the first time since 1958-59. He is the team's second-leading scorer (and 14th in the Big 12) at 14.2 points per game and has scored in double figures in 11 of the team's 13 games. He ranks first in assists (51) and second to backcourt mate Jacob Pullen in field goals (61) and 3-point field goals (24). His current assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.68, which ranks fourth in the Big 12.
The original list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 by Jan. 1, a final 10 by Feb. 1 and a final five by March 1. A Hall of Fame appointed screening committee will be narrowing down the candidates from 20 to 10 to 5 prior to the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee evaluating the final five candidates and ultimately choosing the winner. The winner will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Monday, April 5 in Indianapolis as part of the NCAA Final Four weekend. Previous winner of the Bob Cousy award have included Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph's), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A&M), D.J. Augustin (Texas) and Ty Lawson (North Carolina).