13/12 KANSAS STATE (13-2, 0-1 Big 12)
vs. rv/rv Texas A&M (12-3, 1-0 Big 12)
Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Tipoff: 6:03 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: ESPN2 (Jon Sciambi, play-by-play; Doug Gottlieb, analyst; Michael Molinari, producer) | Channel Directory: DirecTV 209 (DirecTV HD 72), Dish Network 144, AT&T U-Verse 606, Cox 33 | Internet: www.ESPN360.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst) | Live Stats: www.kstatesports.com | Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan) | Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 121
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 56-26 (.683) in his third season at K-State. Texas A&M - Mark Turgeon (Kansas '87) is 61-24 (.718) in his third season at Texas A&M and 214-143 (.599) in his 12th season overall as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State lost at Missouri, 74-68, on Saturday, while Texas A&M earned a 64-53 win over Nebraska at home on Saturday.
Series: K-State leads 14-6 (8-0 at home) | Last time: K-State won 65-60 on the road on Feb. 25, 2009 | vs. Big 12 Conference: K-State trails 80-129 (59-45 at home) | Frank Martin is 2-1 vs. Texas A&M, while Mark Turgeon is 3-4 all-time vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 13 in AP Top 25 and No. 12 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25. Texas A&M is receiving votes in both polls.
Tickets: Sold out.
K-State returns home to face Texas A&M Tuesday
Kansas State (13-2, 0-1 Big 12)) looks to rebound from its first loss of the New Year on Tuesday, as the Wildcats return home to host Texas A&M (12-3, 1-0 Big 12) before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum at 6 p.m. CT. The game will match two of the more physical teams in the Big 12, as the squads rank first and second in the league in personal fouls drawn (26.0 to 23.9) per game and free throws attempted (32.9 to 29.9) per game and first and third in free throws made (21.4 and 19.7) per game. The Aggies are riding a three-game winning streak into Manhattan, where the Wildcats have won 12 consecutive games dating back to the 2008-09 season (which is tied for the longest streak in Bramlage Coliseum history). Despite the loss on Saturday to Missouri, the Wildcats boast an impressive 13-2 overall record, which is ties for the fifth-best start in school history and the best since the 1981-82 squad also posted a 13-2 mark. K-State is 55-40 (.579) all-time in home conference openers dating back to the old Missouri Valley Conference in 1914, however, the team is just 4-9 (.307) since the start of the Big 12 in 1997. This will be the 21st meeting between the two schools, including the 17th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 14-6 advantage in the series, including an 8-0 mark at home. It will mark the second time in the last three seasons that the Aggies have played in the home conference opener in Manhattan with the Wildcats posting a 75-54 win on Jan. 19, 2008. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and Doug Gottlieb (analyst) on the call.
The Wildcats saw its first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years last just one week with Saturday's loss, as the squad tumbled two spots to No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Top 10 ranking was the highest for K-State in coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92 and marked just the 12th time that a Wildcat team had reached the Top 10 at any point in a season in school history. The team dropped two spots in the AP poll to No. 13, which is still just the ninth Top 15 ranking in the last 35 seasons. The squad, whose 15 opponents boast a .636 winning percentage through Jan. 11, currently has a consensus Top 10 RPI (in all four major RPI polls) and a strength of schedule ranked 17 or better nationally.
K-State posted season-lows in seven categories, including points (68) and field goal percentage (42.0), as Missouri extended the nation's second-longest homecourt winning streak to 30 games with a 74-68 victory at Mizzou Arena on Saturday afternoon. Junior Jacob Pullen knotted the game at 66-all with a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left but Tiger guard Zaire Taylor followed with his first 3-pointer of the day with 33 seconds remaining then Laurence Bowers grabbed a key offensive rebound and the ensuing free throws to clinch the game. Three Wildcats scored in double figures led by the backcourt duo of Jacob Pullen (21) and Denis Clemente (16), who combined for 30 or more points for the 11th time this season.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (82.5 ppg.) on 47.3 percent shooting (408-of-862), including 36.5 percent from 3-point range (100-of-274), with 39.1 rebounds, 15.7 assists, 7.5 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 11 of 15 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on nine occasions. The 1,237 points scored are the second-most through 15 games and the most since the 1986-87 squad scored 1,238 points. The team is averaging over 35 points per game (35.9) in the paint, while averaging the nation's most personal fouls drawn per game (26.0) and the second-most free throw made (21.4) and attempted (32.9) per game. They are out-scoring their opponents, 194-63, in fast-break points. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 68.1 points on 41 percent shooting while averaging 22.1 points off of 18 turnovers per game. The team has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in eight games, including five of the last six contests, while the 40 points off turnovers against South Dakota were the most-ever since the statistic began being kept in 2005-06. After allowing nearly 77 points in the previous three games, the Wildcats have turned up the intensity of late, holding the last three teams to 66.3 points on 41.6 percent shooting, including 26.8 percent from 3-point range, while posting an +11.3 rebounding edge. The team grabbed 50 or more rebounds against Cleveland State and South Dakota for the first time in back-to-back games since 2007-08.
Despite Saturday's loss, the Wildcats' 13-2 overall record is still the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best since the 1981-82 squad also opened at 13-2 (also matched by the 1950-51 and 1961-62 teams). Only four other teams have fared better after 15 games in Kansas State history, as the 1918-19 team started 15-0 (on its way to 17 straight wins) and the 1947-48, 1957-58 and 1958-59 team all started 14-1. This is just the seventh time in school history that the team has won 13 of their first 15 games.
Named a Mid-Season second team All-American by Yahoo! Sports, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 20.1 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (85), 3-point field goals (47), free throws (85), free throw percentage (78.7) and steals (23), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.3 points per game on 37.8 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (61) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.44). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (516) so far this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.4) 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 1,093 points in 82 career games ranks 13th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 15 games and a team-best 54 times in his career. Pullen needs just one more double-digit games to crack the school's all-time top 10 list.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 11.7 points per game on 60 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 13 of 14 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 4.9 per game. He has scored in double figures in 12 of his 14 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, 26 of Samuels' 27 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.3 points per game. Kelly, who leads the team with two double-doubles, is shooting a team-best 60.2 percent from the field and leads all players with 6.1 rebounds per contest. Junior Dominique Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's best defenders, is averaging 7.8 points on 52.4 percent shooting to go with the second-most rebounds per game (5.8). He was stellar during the team's 10-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. Missouri
--With its win over Kansas State, Missouri tied the all-time series between the two teams at 115-all... The win also extended the Tigers' homecourt winning streak to 30 games, which is the second-longest streak in the nation... The Wildcats fell to 41-63 all-time in Columbia, including losses in 24 of the last 26 meetings... The team fell to 49-48 all-time in conference openers dating back to the old Missouri Valley in 1914, including a 16-30 mark in openers on the road... The squad also dropped to 5-9 in Big 12 openers, including 2-7 in those on the road.
--K-State saw its 10-game winning streak end in the 74-68 loss at Missouri on Saturday... Ironically, it marked the second straight time that the Tigers have ended a 10-game winning streak by the Wildcats, as they snapped a 10-game streak in 1993-94 with a 63-43 at the Hearnes Center on Jan. 8, 1994... It was also the last time (and 10th time overall) the two schools met in a conference opener... The 10-game winning streak equaled five other squads for the ninth-longest streak and the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history.
--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 marked the just the second time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 49 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 82.
--The Wildcats set season-lows in a number of categories in dropping its first contest in 2010... The team posted season-lows in seven categories, including points (68), field goals (21), field goal percentage (42.0), defensive rebounds (18), rebounds (30), assists (six), blocks (two) and second-chance points (10)... The team saw its streak of five consecutive games with at least 20 points off turnovers end with 19 points... The squad was whistled for a season-high 32 personal fouls and the Tigers set opponent season-highs for both free throws made (28) and attempted (43).
--Junior Jacob Pullen led five players in double figures with 21 points on 4-of-14 shooting, including a 10-of-14 effort from the free throw line... Pullen has led the team in scoring 10 times this year, including 22 times in his career... He has at least two 3-pointers in 13 consecutive games (span where he is shooting nearly 46.9 percent from that range)... Senior Denis Clemente was solid with 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting on a team-best 36 minutes played... Clemente has scored in double figures in six consecutive games, including 13 of 15 games this season... Super sub Jamar Samuels topped double figures for the seventh consecutive games with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while he posted his 12th double-digit scoring effort of the season... Senior Chris Merriewether had a career-high eight points on 2-of-2 shooting to go with two assists and two steals.
The Book on Texas A&M
Texas A&M enters Tuesday night's game with a 12-3 overall record and 1-0 mark in Big 12 play after posting a 64-53 win over Nebraska in its league opener at Reed Arena. Senior guard Donald Sloan led all players with 26 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including a 13-of-14 effort from the free throw line, while senior forward Bryan Davis tallied a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Aggie held the Huskers to just 37 percent shooting and posted a 40-28 advantage on the boards.
The win was the team's third in a row since losing senior guard Derrick Roland to a broken leg in a 73-64 loss at Washington on Dec. 22. One of the best defenders in the Big 12, Roland ranked second on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game on 48.9 percent shooting to go with 3.0 rebounds per game. His high school teammate Donald Sloan has played inspired basketball since the loss of his best friend, averaging 21.0 points per game on 50 percent shooting (18-of-26). For the season, Sloan is the team's leading scorer at 18.0 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting (86-of-175) with 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.7 steals per contest. He is first on the team in field goals (86) and free throws (76), while is second in 3-point field goals (22) and assists (37).
Texas A&M is averaging just under 75 points per game (74.7) on the year on 44.6 percent shooting, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range, with 37.5 rebounds, 12.9 assists, 6.7 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. The team is shooting a solid 65.7 percent from the free throw line. A squad that features just three seniors, the Aggies are a balanced team with six players averaging six or more points on the season. Aside from leading scorer Donald Sloan, the team has one of the Big 12's best big men in senior Bryan Davis, who is averaging 9.0 points on 44.9 percent shooting to go with a team-best 7.7 rebounds per outing. Davis is top on the team in blocks per game (1.7 bpg.), while is second in steals per game (1.3 spg.). Junior B.J. Holmes has also played well for the Aggies, averaging 10.1 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting, including a team-best 27 treys on 40.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The squad is led by head coach Mark Turgeon, who has posted 61-24 (.718) mark in his third season at the helm of the Aggies. Last season, he led Texas A&M to its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance (and second under Turgeon) with a 24-10 overall record. He has a 214-143 (.599) record in his 12th season as a head coach, which includes two years at Jacksonville State (1998-2000) and six years at Wichita State (2000-07).
Series vs. Texas A&M
This will be the 21st all-time meeting between Kansas State and Texas A&M on the hardwood, including 17th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 14-6 advantage in a series that dates back to 1960. K-State holds an 8-0 mark at home in the series, including a 75-54 win in the schools' last meeting in Manhattan on Jan. 19, 2008. Last year, the Wildcats held on for a 65-60 win over the Aggies in College Station on Feb. 7 with the backcourt tandem of Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente combining for 30 points and senior Darren Kent adding 13 points.
'Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play this season in the month of January where the Wildcats have won 18 of their last 26 games. The squad is 364-304 (.545) all-time in January with 18 wins in their last 23 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season. The team has won 13 of its last 20 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including a 7-3 mark at home. 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.
It's Over But Still a Big Accomplishment
Kansas State saw its 10-game winning streak end against Missouri on Saturday, ironically the same opponent that ended its last 10-game streak in 1993-94. During the streak, K-State averaged 84.1 points on 47.8 percent shooting (276-of-577), including 39.1 percent from 3-point range (72-of-184), during its 10-game winning streak. The Wildcats scored at least 70 points in all 10 games and connected on 45 percent or better in six contests. The squad averaged 36.0 points in the paint (compared to 27.6 for its foes), 25.1 points off turnovers, 15.4 points in second chance points, 14.8 points in fast-break points and 23.3 points off the bench. The Wildcats held their opponents to 68.8 points during the stretch on 43.2 percent shooting, including 31.9 percent from 3-point range. The team also held an impressive averaging rebounding margin of 8.0 (39.3 to 31.3).
During the winning streak, the Wildcats 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 13-1 record and ranks 10th nationally in the Division II Top 25 poll. 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 paced three players in double figures during the 10-game streak at 22.5 points per game. He connected on 49.2 percent from the field, including 51.4 percent from the 3-point range, while adding highs in both field goals (65), 3-point field goals (38) and steals (13). Senior Denis Clemente averaged 15.1 points on 40.7 percent shooting with a team-high in assists (47). The two combined to average 37.6 points per game during the stretch. Sophomore Jamar Samuels also scored double figures at 12.3 points per game on a team-best 60 percent shooting.
Sizzling in the Second Half
Kansas State has proved itself to be a strong team in the second half this season, averaging nearly 45 points (44.1) on 50.9 percent shooting (204-of-401), including 41.9 percent (52-of-124) from 3-point range. The team has scored 40 or more points in the second half in 13 of their 15 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 was especially a factor during the 10-game winning streak where the Wildcats hit on 50.8 percent (134-of-264) in the second half, including 43 percent (37-of-86) from beyond the arc. In the last six games, K-State is averaging 44 points in the second half on 50.9 percent shooting (82-of-161), including 40.9 percent (18-of-44) 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 fouls drawn per game (26.0) and second in both free throws made (21.4) and free throws attempted per game (32.9). The team trails just Wyoming, which is first in both categories (23.1 free throws made and 31.3 free throws attempted per game). The Wildcats have connected on 20 or more free throws in 11 of their 15 games, including seven of the last eight contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 10 games. The team tied its season high with 28 free throws against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 21 (also had 28 vs. Boston U. on Nov. 19), while they attempted at least 40 free throws (42) for the fifth time. The Wildcats also seem to make them in clutch situations, hitting on 73 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 1,575 points off of 1,384 turnovers in 82 games, an average of 19.2 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. This year has not been any different with the squad averaging 22.1 points off of 18.0 opponent mistakes per game. Eight times K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most 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), Washington State (39), 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 1,468 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.4 points per game through 15 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 20.1 points per game. The 34.4-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 30.4) 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 42 times in 47 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 27 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 47 career games together) with four of those games coming in last 11 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 Dishes Out the Dimes
Known for his scoring ability, senior Denis Clemente has shifted his focus this season to set others up for scoring opportunities. The team leader in assists at 61 through just 15 games, Clemente ranks 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 with a stellar 2.44 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has had fewer than two turnovers in all but four games this season, while dishing out at least four assists in nine games. His assist-to-turnover ratio has been even better in the last nine games, where he has handed out 46 assists to just 18 turnovers for a solid 2.56 ratio. Clemente posted a season-high nine assists in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV, while he tallied eight against South Dakota and seven against Cleveland State.
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 21-point effort against Missouri on Saturday, Pullen now has 1,093 career points, which ranks 13th all-time in school history. He has a chance to crack into the school's all-time Top 10, where he is just 158 points short of 10th-place Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82). Pullen's next milestone could be 1,100 career points, which has only been done by 12 players, including most recently by Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07). He became the 21st player 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 in school history, ranking third in attempts with 461 and fourth in makes with 162. After moving past Cartier Martin (446; 2003-07) in attempts against South Dakota, he will now set his sights on eclipsing two of the best 3-point shooters in school history in Askia Jones (237 makes on 624 attempts; 1989-94) and Steve Henson (240 makes on 537 attempts; 1987-90). He still needs 17 3-point field goals to move past Cartier Martin (178; 2003-07) for third place all-time before challenging the records set by Jones and Henson. Pullen has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 13 consecutive games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12. In that span, he is connecting on 46.9 percent (45-of-96) of his shots from beyond the arc.
More on Pullen
In addition to moving up several scoring charts, Jacob Pullen is also ascending the school's record book in both assists and steals. He became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston University in the opener on Nov. 19 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off. With his three thefts against Alabama, he now ranks fourth in school history in the categories and needs just three 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 now just three behind Ed Nealy (270; 1979-82) for eighth-place all-time. He needs just 38 3-pointers to join Steve Henson (1987-90) and Askia Jones (1989-94) as the only players in school history with 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 250 assists and 100 steals.
If he continues his current pace, Pullen could become just the second Wildcat to average 20 points per game (20.1 ppg. through 15 games) in the last 25 seasons, following Michael Beasley, who set the school record with his 26.2-point average in 2007-08. Prior to Beasley, the last Wildcat to average 20 points was Askia Jones in 1993-94 at 22.1 points and prior to that, it was Mitch Richmond in 1987-88 at 22.3 points per game.
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 established himself as a top-line defender this year. During an eight-game stretch that has included the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, UNLV's Derrick Jasper, Alabama's Senario Hillman and Cleveland State's D'Aundray Brown, he has held his opponents to a collective 36.5 shooting percentage (31-of-85), including an 18.2 percent (4-of-22) mark 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 Hillman to just 3-of-9 shooting with just one 3-point field goal with 11 points, while Brown went 3-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-1 from 3-point range, with just six points. Sutton's defense has helped boost his offensive game, where he is averaging 9.5 points on 54.1 percent shooting during the past 11 games. He earned just his third double-double of his career against South Dakota with 14 points on 7-of-11 field goals with a team-high 10 rebounds and three steals.
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 15 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game on a team-best 60.2 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.1) and blocks (1.7) 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 nine times this year including in back-to-back games in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the team in rebounding in six 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. The team leader in blocked shots, he has at least one block in 12 games, including a career-best six against South Dakota. The six blocks against the Coyotes tie Tony Kitt (1998-99) for the most by a junior in one game in school history. He had perhaps his best all-around game on Jan. 3 against South Dakota with 15 points (on 6-of-11 shooting), six rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals in just 24 minutes.
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 11.7 points per game, has seen 26 of his 27 double-digit scoring efforts come as a reserve. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 12 times with 11 of those coming off the bench, including seven consecutive games. He is averaging 9.4 points on 55.1 percent (140-of-254) in 45 games off the bench, including 11.8 points per game on 60.7 percent shooting this season. His only start came in the opener against Loyola Chicago, where he scored 11 points on 3-of-6 field goals in 14 minutes. He scored a career-high 21 points from the bench in the win over Fort Hays State (No. 10 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, knocking down 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line.
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 28 rebounds in six 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.
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 694 points his two-year career on 39.7 percent shooting (240-of-605) from the field, including 33.7 percent (86-of-255) from 3-point range, in 47 games. He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 109 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.
Clemente Among 20 Finalists for Bob Cousy Award
Senior Denis Clemente was named one of 20 finalists for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award on Tuesday, 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 originally nominated for the award in early December, which included players from all Division I, II and III schools across the country.
Clemente made the cut to the final 20, which includes only one other player from the Big 12 (Kansas' Sherron Collins). The list also includes Ole Miss' Chris Warren, Cincinnati's Deonta Vaughn, South Carolina's Devan Downey, Maryland's Greivis Vasquez, Harvard's Jeremy Lin, Cal's Jerome Randle, Kentucky's John Wall, Duke's Jon Scheyer, Michigan State's Kalin Lucas, Connecticut's Kemba Walker, Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, Michigan's Manny Harris, Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin, Arizona's Nic Wise, Siena's Ronald Moore, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, Penn State's Talor Battle and Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes.
Clemente has helped guide K-State to its first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years with its current 13-1 record. The winners of 10 straight, the Wildcats are off to the second-best start in school history and the best since the 1958-59 season. The winning streak ties five others for the ninth-longest in school history and the longest since 1993-94 team won 10 from Dec. 1, 1993 to Jan. 5, 1994. Clemente is the team's second-leading scorer (and 14th in the Big 12) at 14.1 points per game and has scored in double figures in 12 of the team's 14 games. The team leader in assists at 4.21 per game, he is second on the team in field goals (67), 3-point field goals (25). He ranks second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.81, while he is seventh in assists and tied for 10th in 3-point field goals made per game (1.79).
The list of 20 candidates will be narrowed down to 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). For more information on the 2010 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, log onto www.cousyaward.com.
Martin Earns Coaching Honor From CollegeInsider.com
Head coach Frank Martin was honored for Kansas State's terrific start to the season on Thursday, as CollegeInsider.com named him the Jim Phelan award winner as the mid-season National Coach of the Year.
Martin has K-State off to its best start since the 1958-59 season and tied with three other teams for the second-best start in school history with its current 13-1 overall record. Only one other squad - the 1918-19 team which won their first 17 games - has a better record after 14 games The team earned its first Top 10 ranking in 35 years on Monday and its first since USA Today took ownership of the coaches' poll at No. 10. The squad is No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, its highest ranking in that poll since being ranked No. 9 on March 13, 1973. In addition, it is the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll in 1965.
K-State is in the midst of their longest winning streak (10) under Martin and their longest streak since also winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season. The team completed the month of December perfect for just the eighth time in school history and the first time since the 1998-99 season with their 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Dec. 29. Among the Wildcats' 13 wins are two over ranked non-conference teams (No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22 and No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12), a first for the program since the 1958-59 squad knocked off No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958. The 13 non-conference wins tie for the 1993-94 team for the most in school history, while the .928 winning percentage in non-conference play is the best in school history. In addition, the Wildcats have scored 80 or more points 11 times (including four 90-point games) in the first 14 games, which is the most by a team in school history. The squad already has produced the second-most points (1,169) by a team after 14 games. Martin became the third-fastest head coach in K-State history to 50 wins with an 86-69 win over Washington State on Dec. 5, trailing just Zora Clevenger (1916-20; 59 games) and Lon Kruger (1986-90; 71 games).
The Jim Phelan award is presented annually to the top Division I coach in college basketball by Collegeinsider.com. Prior to the 2003 season, the award was known simply as the CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year. It was renamed to honor longtime Mount. St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan who retired following the 2002-03 season. Previous winners of the award include John Calipari (Memphis, 2009), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2008), Tony Bennett (Washington State, 2007), Ben Howland (UCLA, 2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003). The 2010 award will be presented on April 2 at the Final Four in Indianapolis.
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.