13/12 KANSAS STATE (15-2, 2-1 Big 12)
vs. 1/1 Texas (17-0, 3-0 Big 12)
Date: Monday, January 18, 2010
Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: ESPN HD (Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Bob Knight, analyst; Holly Rowe, sideline reporter; Aaron Stojkov, producer) | Channel Directory: DirecTV 73, Dish Network 140, AT&T U-Verse 602, Cox Cable 32 | 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 122
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 58-26 (.690) in his third season at K-State. Texas - Rick Barnes (Lenoir-Rhyne '77) is 287-105 (.732) in his 12th season at Texas and 489-239 (.672) in his 23rd season overall as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State beat Colorado, 87-81, on the road, while Texas knocked off Texas A&M, 72-67, in overtime at home, both on Saturday.
Series: K-State leads 10-9 (5-3 at home) | Last time: Texas won 61-58 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on March 12, 2009 | Series Trend: The team have split the last four meetings | Frank Martin is 1-2 vs. Texas, while Rick Barnes is 8-4 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 is ranked No. 1 in both major polls.
Tickets: Sold out.
K-State returns home for Big Monday tilt with No. 1 Texas
Kansas State (15-2, 2-1 Big 12) plays on its biggest stage to date on Monday, as the Wildcats play host to No. 1 Texas (17-0, 3-0 Big 12) on ESPN's Big Monday before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m. CT. Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Bob Knight (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter) will be on the call for the ESPN broadcast. Monday's game will mark the 15th all-time meeting with a No. 1 team for K-State and the first since losing to top-ranked Kansas on the road on Feb. 27, 2002. The team is 2-12 all-time against the top-ranked team, including a 1-5 mark in games played at home. However, the two wins over No. 1 have come in the Sunflower State, including a 65-58 win over top-ranked Missouri at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 8, 1990 and a 68-64 triumph over top-ranked Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. This will be just the third meeting with a No. 1 team when the Wildcats are also ranked and the first since top-ranked Missouri beat No. 14 K-State, 59-58, at Ahearn Field House on Jan. 30, 1982. With three teams ahead of them in the polls losing on Saturday, there is a chance that the No. 12/13 Wildcats could find themselves in the Top 10 for the second time this season and the first time since Jan. 4. A top-10 ranking for K-State on Monday would pit two Top 10 teams in Bramlage Coliseum for the first time in the arena's 22-year history and for the first time in school history since No. 9 K-State knocked off No. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette, 66-63, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Houston, Texas on March 15, 1973. The school's No. 12 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches and No. 13 ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 polls represent just the ninth Top 15 rankings in the last 35 seasons. The squad, whose 17 opponents boast a .634 winning percentage through Jan. 17, has a consensus Top 10 RPI (in all five major RPI polls) and a strength of schedule ranked 17 or better nationally.
The Wildcats, who have rebounded nicely from their first loss in seven weeks with back-to-back wins over Texas A&M and Colorado, have won 12 of their last 13 games, and will be riding a Bramlage Coliseum-record 13-game homecourt winning streak into Monday's game. It is the ninth-longest winning streak in school history and the longest at a home venue for K-State since the squad won 20 straight games at Ahearn Field House from Jan. 28, 1981 to Jan. 30, 1982. The 87-81 win against the Buffaloes on Saturday moved the team to 15-2 overall this season, which ties for the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 squad also posted a 15-2 mark.
K-State used near record effort from the free throw line to record its eighth consecutive win over Colorado on Saturday. The Wildcats converted on 38-of-54 attempts from the charity stripe, the fourth-most makes and the third-most attempts in school history. Junior Jacob Pullen a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures with 15 points, while backcourt mate Denis Clemente added 13, including an 11-of-13 effort from the free throw line.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (83.1 ppg.) on 47 percent shooting (458-of-974), including 367 percent from 3-point range (113-of-308), with 39.9 rebounds, 15.4 assists, 7.4 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 13 of 17 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 10 occasions. The 1,412 points scored are the most through 17 games, just ahead of the 1986-87 team who scored 1,408. The 83.1 points per game average is on pace to break the school-record of 81.4 points averaged during the 1952-53 campaign. The 81.0 points per game average through three conference games are most for K-State since the start of Big 12 play and most in league play since averaging 91.3 points per game to start Big Eight play in 1986-87. The team is averaging over 35 points per game (35.6) in the paint, while ranking first nationally in most personal fouls drawn (26.4), free throws made (22.5) and free throws attempted (34.0) per game. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 68.7 points on 41.4 percent shooting while averaging 22.2 points off of 17.8 turnovers per game. The team has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 10 games, including seven of the last eight contests, while the 40 points off turnovers against South Dakota on Jan. 3 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 five teams to 69 points on 42.5 percent shooting, including just 24.7 percent from 3-point range, while posting an +13.2 rebounding edge.
With the win against Colorado, the Wildcats' 15-2 overall record is the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best since the 1961-62 squad also opened at 15-2 (also matched by the 1947-48 and 1950-51 teams). Only three other teams have fared better after 17 games in Kansas State history, as the 1918-19 team started 17-0 (on its way to a school-record 17 straight wins) and the 1957-58 and 1958-59 team all started 16-1. This is just the seventh time in school history that the team has won 15 of their first 17 games.
Dubbed a mid-season second team All-American by both Yahoo! Sports and The Sporting News, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 19.7 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (94), 3-point field goals (52), free throws (95), free throw percentage (79.2) and steals (26), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.9 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (69) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (588) this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.6) 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 1,126 points in 84 career games ranks 12th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 17 games. His team-best 56 career double-digit scoring games rank 10th all-time in K-State history.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 12.1 points per game on a team-best 61.2 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 15 of 16 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 4.6 per game. He has scored in double figures in 14 of his 16 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, 28 of Samuels' 29 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.1 points per game. Kelly, who is tied with Dominique Sutton with two double-doubles apiece, is shooting 59.3 percent from the field and ranks first on the squad with 6.2 rebounds per contest. Dominique Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's best defenders, is averaging 8.1 points on 52.1 percent shooting to go with 5.9 rebounds per game. Sutton, who turned in his second double-double in the last three games against Texas A&M (which included a career-best 12 boards), is averaging a near double-double (10.0 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) in the last seven games.
Postgame Notes vs. Colorado
--With its win over Colorado, Kansas State improved to 96-44 all-time in the series, including 15-14 since the start of the Big 12 in 1997... The Wildcats improved to 33-31 all-time in Boulder, including a four-game winning streak at the Coors Events Center for the first time since winning four in a row from 1986-89... The team has now won eight consecutive games against the Buffaloes in the series, the longest winning streak since the Wildcats won nine straight from 1985-89... Head coach Frank Martin improved to 5-0 all-time against Colorado.
--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 fifth time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 51 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 84... In addition, Sutton, who is second on the team with 58 consecutive games played, has started 34 consecutive games for the Wildcats.
--K-State scored 87 points on a season-low 41.5 percent shooting, including 38.5 percent from 3-point range, against Colorado... It marked the 13th time the team has topped 80 points this season, including back-to-back games in Big 12 play... The team set near records from the free throw line, converting 38 of 54 attempts... The 38 makes are the fourth-most in school history and the most since posting a Big 12-record tying 39 against Baylor at home on Feb. 13, 1999, while the 54 attempts were just two short of the school-record of 56 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958... The 54 attempts were just short of the Big 12 record of 59 set by Texas A&M against Baylor in five overtimes on Jan. 23, 2008.
--The team scored 20 or more points off turnovers for the 10th time this season, including the seventh time in the last eight outings... The team also out-rebounded the Buffaloes, 44-27, marking the eighth time that the team has posted a rebounding margin of 10 or more... It also marks the ninth time that the team has grabbed 40 or more rebounds in a game this season, including the fourth time in the last five games.
--Five players scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and for the first time in Big 12 play... Junior Jacob Pullen led in scoring for the 11th time (including the ninth time in the last 10) with a team-high 18 points... He also continued his streak with at least two 3-point field goals to 15 consecutive games... Senior Denis Clemente posted 15 points, including an 11-of-13 effort from the free throw line... Junior Curtis Kelly and sophomore Jamar Samuels tallied 11 points each, while freshman Rodney McGruder added 10 points (first double-digit scoring Big 12 game).
The Book on Texas
Texas enters Monday's game with a perfect 17-0 overall record and a 3-0 mark in Big 12 play after completing their first week as the nation's No. 1 team with a thrilling 72-67 overtime win over archrival Texas A&M at home on Saturday. The team rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to force overtime and gain the win. Senior Damion James was one of three Longhorns to register a double-double with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-19 field goals to go with a game-high 12 rebounds in 40 minutes of play. Fellow forward Gary Johnson posted 18 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman J'Covan Brown added 14 points and 10 rebounds. The team shot just 35.3 percent from the field, but scored 18 points off of 17 offensive rebounds and blocked 10 Aggie shots.
The Big 12's highest scoring team, Texas is averaging nearly 90 points per game (87.2) on the year on 49.4 percent shooting, including 34.5 percent from 3-point range, 45.2 rebounds, 16.4 assists, 8.7 steals and 6.4 blocks per game. The team is shooting a solid 63.4 percent from the free throw line. A veteran squad with perhaps the nation's best freshman not named John Wall, the Longhorns are a balanced team with seven players averaging six or more points on the teams. James is averaging a double-double with a team-best 17.8 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting and 11.2 rebounds per game. Fellow senior Dexter Pittman is second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points on a Big 12-best 69.6 percent shooting to go with 6.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Freshman phenom Avery Bradley is third in scoring at 12.2 points per outing, while fellow rookie J'Covan Brown is averaging 11.1 points per game. Dogus Balbay paces the squad in both assists (4.5) and steals (1.6) per game.
Led by the dean of Big 12 coaches, Texas is led by veteran head coach Rick Barnes, who has a 287-105 (.732) record in his 12th season at the helm. He has led the Longhorns to 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four in 2003. He has a 489-239 (.672) record in 23 seasons as a head coach, which includes stints at George Mason (1987-88), Providence (1988-94) and Clemson (1994-98).
Series vs. Texas
This will be the 20th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Texas on the hardwood, including the 15th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a narrow 10-9 all-time edge in a series that dates back to 1971. K-State, which is just 5-9 in the series since the start of the Big 12, is 5-3 all-time against Texas at home, including 3-3 at Bramlage Coliseum. Interestingly enough, the two teams have split their last four regular season meetings with each winning twice on the other's homecourt. Last season, on the strength of Denis Clemente's Big 12 record-tying and Erwin Center record 44 points, the Wildcats ended the Longhorns' 19-game homecourt winning streak with an 85-81 win on Jan. 31, 2009. However, Texas gained revenge in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with a 61-58 victory in Oklahoma City on March 12.
'Cats vs. No. 1
Kansas State will be facing a No. 1 team for the 15th time in the program's history and for the first time since dropping a 103-68 decision to top-ranked Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002 in Lawrence. The Wildcats are 2-12 (.143) all-time against No. 1 teams with their two wins coming in the last six meetings with a top-ranked squad -- a 65-58 win over No. 1 Missouri at Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 8, 1990 and a 68-64 win over No. 1 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. The team is 1-5 at home against the No. 1 team, including a 1-3 (.250) mark at Bramlage Coliseum. This will be just the third meeting with a No. 1 team when K-State is also ranked. Those came when the then fourth-ranked Wildcats lost to top-ranked Kentucky in the NCAA Championship in Minneapolis on March 27, 1951 and when No. 14 K-State lost at home to No. 1 Missouri on Jan. 30, 1982. This will be just the ninth meeting with a No. 1 team that doesn't involve archrival Kansas and the first since beating No. 1 Missouri in 1990.
It's Over But Still a Big Accomplishment
--Kansas State saw its 10-game winning streak end against Missouri on Jan. 9, 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, including 39.1 percent from 3-point range. The team scored at least 70 points in all 10 games and connected on 45 percent or better in six contests. The Wildcats held their foes 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.
--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). 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.
Kansas State has shown the ability to be a solid rebounding team, as the Wildcats rank fourth in the Big 12 with an average of 39.9 rebounds per game. The squad is tops in the conference at 15.7 offensive boards per game, while they are fourth in rebounding margin (+7.0). The Wildcats have grabbed 40 or more rebounds nine times this season, including four of the last five games, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards in three of the last five contests. The team posted 50 or more rebounds in back-to-back games against Cleveland State and South Dakota for the first time in consecutive games since the 11th and 12th games of the 2007-08 season. The offensive rebound opportunities have translated into over 15 points per game (15.2) in second chance points, including 20 or more second chance points in two of the last four games.
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 (26.4), free throws made per game (22.5) and free throws attempted per game (34.0). The team ranks just ahead of Wyoming, which is first in both categories (21.9 free throws made and 30.2 free throws attempted per game). The Wildcats have connected on 20 or more free throws in 13 of their 17 games, including nine of the last 10 contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 12 games. The team set near records for both categories against Colorado on Saturday with 38 makes on 54 attempts. The 38 free throws are the fourth-most in school history (and the most-ever in a true road venue) and the second-most in the Big 12 era behind the 39 against Baylor at home on Feb. 13, 1999. The 54 attempts are the third-most in school history (and the most-ever in a conference game as well as a road venue) and the most in a game since the Wildcats set the school-record with 56 attempts against Purdue at home on Dec. 1, 1958. The team has at least 40 attempts in six games.
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 1,621 points off of 1,416 turnovers in 84 games, an average of 19.3 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 22.2 points off of 17.8 opponent mistakes per game. K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers 10 times, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most since the stat began being kept 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), Cleveland State (30), Texas A&M (23) and Colorado (23). The team has a 36-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Frank Martin, including a 10-0 mark this season.
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 1,540 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second on the team in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.6 points per game through 17 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 19.7 points per game. The 34.6-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). As a pair, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 30.4) guard tandem in school history 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 44 times in 49 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 29 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 49 career games together). 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, No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22, 2009 and Washington State on Dec. 5, 2009.
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 69 through 17 games, Clemente ranks 33rd nationally and seventh in the Big 12 with a solid 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has had fewer than two turnovers in all but five games this season, while dishing out at least four assists in 10 games. His assist-to-turnover ratio has been even better in the last 11 games, where he has handed out 54 assists to just 23 turnovers for a solid 2.35 ratio. He posted a season-high nine assists in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, 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 18-point effort against Colorado, Pullen moved into 12th place on the all-time scoring chart with 1,126 points. He became just the 13th player in school history to top 1,100 career points against Texas A&M and the first to do so since current Golden State Warrior Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07). Pullen has a chance to crack into the school's all-time Top 10, where he is just 125 points short of 10th-place Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82). He became the 21st player to tally 1,000 career points, including the eighth guard, with his fourth 3-point field goal of the first half against Alabama on Dec. 19.
Pullen ranks in the top 5 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted in school history, ranking third in attempts with 473 and fourth in makes with 167. After moving past Cartier Martin (446; 2003-07) in attempts against South Dakota on Jan. 3, he now sets his sights on eclipsing two of the best 3-point shooters in school history in Askia Jones (237/624 attempts; 1989-94) and Steve Henson (240/537 attempts; 1987-90). He still needs 12 3-point field goals to move past Cartier Martin (178; 2003-07) for third place all-time in makes before challenging the 3-point field goal records set by Jones and Henson. Pullen has connected on at least two 3-pointers in 15 consecutive games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12. In that span, he is connecting on 46.2 percent (50-of-108) 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 on Nov. 19 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off. With his two steals against Colorado Saturday, he is now all alone in third place in school history in the category and needs just 14 to move ahead of Askia Jones (133, 1989-94) for second place and is 70 back of leader Steve Henson (190; 1986-90). Pullen moved into the career Top 10 in assists with his 248th vs. Washington State on Dec. 5 and is now in sixth place with 272 assists. He needs just 33 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.
Although he slipped slightly below his 20-point average, Pullen has the opportunity to become just the second Wildcat to average 20 points 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 a 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 Colorado's Alec Burks, Sutton has held his opponents to a collective 37.9 shooting percentage (39-of-103), including a 23.1 percent (6-of-26) 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. Sutton held Hillman to just 3-of-9 shooting with just one 3-point field goal with 11 points, while Colorado freshman phenom Alec Burks went 4-of-11 from the field with 14 points (including six from the line) and three turnovers. He also played a role in the defense of Texas A&M star Donald Sloan, who was held to just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting with three turnovers.
Despite his smallish stature (6-foot-5), Dominique Sutton has become quite the rebounding magnet this season. Second on the team in rebounds at 5.9 per game, Sutton has grabbed at least five boards in 11 of 17 games, including at least seven in six of the last seven games. He ranks 17th in the Big 12 in rebounding and 10th in offensive rebounds. He has an astounding 56 rebounds in the last seven games (an average of 8.0 per contest), including 34 on the defensive end, leading the team in the category five times. He is averaging a near double-double in that seven-game span with 10.0 points per game on 51.1 percent shooting (23-of-45) and 8.0 rebounds per outing. He earned his second double-double in the last four games (and fourth of his career) against Texas A&M on Jan. 12 with 12 points on 4-of-8 field goals with a career-best 12 rebounds.
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 17 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game on 59.3 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.2) and blocks (1.7) per contest. He is tied for the team lead 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 10 times, including in back-to-back games in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the team in rebounding in seven contests. He has shot over 60 percent in nine 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 14 games, including a career-best six against South Dakota. The six blocks against the Coyotes tied 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 12.1 points per game, has seen 28 of his 29 double-digit career scoring efforts come as a reserve. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 14 times with 13 of those coming off the bench, including nine consecutive games. He is averaging 9.6 points on 55.3 percent (149-of-267) in 47 games off the bench, including 12.2 points per game on 61.9 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. After scoring a career-high 21 points against Fort Hays State (No. 10 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, he was again sharp against Texas A&M with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting with four rebounds.
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 cog to the Wildcat attack last season, he 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 is averaging 2.6 points and 4.4 rebounds, has started four of the last five games (including three straight) and grabbed a career-tying 12 rebounds in his first start of the year against Cleveland State.
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 733 points his two-year career on 39.5 percent shooting (251-of-635) from the field, including 33.6 percent (91-of-271) from 3-point range, in 49 games. He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 70 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, which recognizes college basketball's top point guard, on Jan. 5. 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, who helped guide K-State to its first Top 10 ranking in more than 35 years earlier this season, has the Wildcats off to the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 season with its current 15-2 overall record. The season has included a 10-game winning streak, which tied five other teams for the ninth-longest in school history and the longest since the 1993-94 team also won 10 in a row. Clemente is the team's second-leading scorer (and 14th in the Big 12) at 14.9 points per game and has scored in double figures in 15 of the team's 17 games. The team leader in assists at 4.1 per game, he is second in field goals (84) and 3-point field goals (32). He ranks seventh in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), while he is 10th in assists, 11th in 3-point field goals made per game (2.0) and 13th in free throw percentage (75.7).
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 Dec. 30, 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 1961-62 season and tied with three other teams for the fourth-best start in school history with its current 15-2 overall record. Only three other squads - 1918-19, 1957-58 and 1958-59 teams - have a better record after 17 games in school history. The team earned its first Top 10 ranking in 35 years on Jan. 4 when the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll (including the first since USA Today took ownership of the poll in 1991-92) voted the Wildcats to No. 10. The squad reached as high as No. 11 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll also on Jan. 4, which was its highest AP ranking since being ninth on March 13, 1973. In addition, the No. 11 ranking was the highest prior to league play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the 1965 preseason poll.
Although it was ended at Missouri on Jan. 9, K-State posted its longest winning streak in more than 15 years earlier this season when the team won 10 straight from Nov. 22, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010. The 10-game winning streak was the longest since also winning 10 in a row during the 1993-94 season and just the 15th double-digit winning streak in school history. The squad completed the month of December perfect for just the eighth time and the first time since the 1998-99 season with their 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Dec. 29. During the streak, the team knocked off two ranked non-conference teams (No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22 and No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12) for the first time since the 1958-59 season (beat 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-league play is the best in school history. The squad already has produced the second-most points (1,412) by a team after 17 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.