10/9 KANSAS STATE (16-2, 3-1 Big 12)
vs. Oklahoma State (14-4, 2-2 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, January 23, 2010
Tipoff: 3:01 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court (Dave Armstrong, play-by-play; Rich Zvosec, analyst; Paul Splittorff, analyst; Stephen Reintjes, producer) | Channel Directory: KMCI-TV (Kansas City) Metro Sports (Kansas City), KSAS-TV (Wichita), KSNT-TV (Topeka) | 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 126/XM 103
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 59-26 (.694) in his third season at K-State. Oklahoma State - Travis Ford (Kentucky '94) is 37-16 (.698) in his second season at OSU and 227-190 (.544) in his 13th season overall as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State beat No. 1/1 Texas, 71-62, at home on Monday, while Oklahoma State defeated Colorado, 90-78, at home on Wednesday.
Series: K-State leads 69-45 (34-14 at home) | Last time: Oklahoma State won 77-71 at home on March 3, 2009 | Series Trend: K-State's two wins vs. OSU in the Big 12 era have come at home | Frank Martin is 1-1 vs. OSU, while Travis Ford is 1-0 all-time vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 10 in AP Top 25 and No. 9 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25. Oklahoma State is not ranked.
Tickets: Sold out.
K-State continues homestand with Oklahoma State Saturday
Kansas State (16-2, 3-1 Big 12) concludes its brief two-game homestand on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to Oklahoma State (14-4, 2-2 Big 12) before an expected sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum at 3 p.m. CT. The squad is coming off a thrilling 71-62 win over top-ranked Texas on Monday night before a nationally-televised audience on ESPN. The win was just the third over a No. 1 team in school history and the first since knocking off top-ranked Kansas, 68-64, at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. The Wildcats are 2-0 following previous wins over No. 1 teams, beating Colorado at home in both instances, including a 93-65 win over the Buffaloes on Feb. 10, 1990 just two days after beating No. 1 Missouri and a 71-65 win five days after defeating No. 1 Kansas. This will be the 114th meeting between K-State and Oklahoma State on the hardwood, including the 14th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 69-45 advantage in a series that dates back to 1927. However, the Cowboys have won 33 of the last 48 games in the series, including an 11-2 edge in Big 12 play. The two wins in that stretch for the Wildcats have come at home, including a 70-61 win on Feb. 2, 2002 and an 82-61 victory in the team's last meeting in Manhattan on Feb. 9, 2008. The contest will be televised regionally on the Big 12 Network as well as nationally on the ESPN Full Court package with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play), Rich Zvosec (analyst) and Paul Splittorff (analyst) on the call.
K-State moved into the Top 10 in both major polls on Monday morning, as the Wildcats moved three spots to No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and three spots to No. 10 in The Associated Press poll. It is one of the highest-ever ranking in the coaches poll (and highest since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92) and the highest ranking in the AP poll since being ranked No. 9 in the poll on March 13, 1973.
In the first-ever of meeting of Top 10 teams in the 22-year history of Bramlage Coliseum, the Wildcats used an impressive defensive effort to post a 71-62 win over the top-ranked Longhorns. Texas shot just 36.8 percent from the field, including just 30.3 percent in the first half, while holding the Big 12's top scoring team to nearly 26 points under their scoring average (87.3 ppg.). The frontline tandem of Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels combined for 37 points on 60.9 percent shooting (14-of-23) with 20 rebounds to out-duel the Texas duo of Damion James and Dexter Pittman, who combined for 15 points on 31.6 percent shooting (6-of-19) with 14 boards. The team grabbed 50 rebounds against the league's best rebounding squad, including 19 on the offensive board that translated into a 23-10 edge on second-chance points. The win moved the team to 16-2 overall this year, which ties for the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 squad also posted a 16-2 mark. The victory also extended the Bramlage-Coliseum record winning streak to 14 games, the school's longest homecourt winning streak since winning 20 in a row at Ahearn Fieldhouse from Jan. 28, 1981 to Jan. 30, 1982.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (82.4 ppg.) on 46.5 percent shooting (483-of-1039), including 35.6 percent from 3-point range (114-of-320), with 40.4 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 7.4 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 13 of 18 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 10 occasions. The 1,483 points scored are the second-most through 18 games, just behind the 1986-87 team who scored 1,496 in that span. The 82.4 points per game average is on pace to break the school-record of 81.4 points averaged during the 1952-53 campaign. The 78.5 points per game average through four conference games are most for K-State since the start of Big 12 play and most in league play since averaging 88.0 points per game to start Big Eight play in 1986-87. The team is averaging over 36 points per game (36.2) in the paint, while ranking first nationally in most personal fouls drawn (26.4), free throws made (22.4) and free throws attempted (33.9) per game. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 68.3 points on 41.1 percent shooting while averaging 22 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 nine 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 six teams to 67.8 points on 41.4 percent shooting, including just 25 percent from 3-point range, while posting an +12.5 rebounding edge.
With the win against Texas, the Wildcats' 16-2 overall record is the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best since the 1961-62 squad also opened at 16-2 (also matched by the 1950-51 team). Only three other teams have fared better after 18 games in Kansas State history, as the 1918-19 team started 17-1 (including a school-record 17 straight wins to start the season) and the 1957-58 and 1958-59 team also started 17-1. This is just the sixth time in school history that the team has won 16 of their first 18 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 19.3 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (96), 3-point field goals (52), free throws (103), free throw percentage (79.2) and steals (28), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.3 points per game on 37.1 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (77) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (605) this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 33.6) 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 1,138 points in 85 career games ranks 12th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 18 games. His team-best 57 career double-digit scoring games rank 10th all-time in K-State history.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 12.6 points per game on a team-best 61.2 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 16 of 17 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 5.1 per game. He has scored in double figures in 15 of his 17 games played, including just his second double-double against Texas with 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 29 of Samuels' 30 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.4 points per game. Kelly, who is tied with Dominique Sutton with two double-doubles each, is shooting 59.3 percent from the field and ranks first with 6.3 rebounds per contest. Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's top defenders, is averaging 7.8 points on 52 percent shooting to go with 5.9 rebounds per game. Sutton, who turned in his second double-double in the last four games against Texas A&M (which included a career-best 12 boards), is averaging a near double-double (9.3 ppg., 7.6 rpg.) in the last eight games.
Postgame Notes vs. Texas
--With its win over Texas, Kansas State improved to 11-9 all-time in the series, including a 6-3 mark at home... It was the first win over Texas at home since a 58-48 win over the 10th-ranked Longhorns on March 6, 2004... The team improved 6-9 against Texas since the start of the Big 12.
--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 just the sixth time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 52 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 85... In addition, Sutton, who is second on the team with 59 consecutive games played, has started 35 consecutive games for the Wildcats.
--The win was the first over a No. 1 team since the Wildcats knocked off No. 1 Kansas, 68-64, on Jan. 17, 1994 at Allen Fieldhouse. It is just the third-ever against a top-ranked team in school history, including the second at Bramlage Coliseum following a 65-58 win in the building on Feb. 8, 1990... It was also the first win for the Wildcats when ranked facing a No. 1 team, following losses in 1951 and 1982.
--K-State has now won a Bramlage Coliseum-record 14 consecutive games, which is two more than a 12-game streak that spanned the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons (March 1, 1997 to Feb. 14, 1998)... The 14-game homecourt winning streak is now the ninth-longest home winning streak in school history... It is the longest at a home venue since the squad won 20 straight games at Ahearn Field House from Jan. 28, 1981 to Jan. 30, 1982... Head coach Frank Martin has a 43-5 (.894) record in games played at Bramlage Coliseum.
--K-State shot a season-low 38.5 percent from the field, including just 8.3 percent from 3-point range, in scoring 71 points on the night, but the team's defense was stellar, holding Texas to nearly 26 points under their average (87.3) with 62 points on 36.8 percent shooting, including 27.3 percent from 3-point range... The Wildcats also topped 50 rebounds for the third time this season, including 19 offensive rebounds which led to a 23-10 edge on second-chance points... The team controlled the paint, 46-42, and owned a 15-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
--Sophomore Jamar Samuels led four Wildcats in double figures with his second career double-double with game-highs in points (20) and rebounds (12)... Junior Curtis Kelly added 17 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Rodney McGruder tossed in 11 points and seven boards.
The Book on Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State enters Saturday's game with a 14-4 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Big 12 play after posting a 90-78 win over Colorado at home on Wednesday. The team shot a stellar 55.4 percent from the field in topping 90 points for the second time this season, while the team shot a near perfect 90.9 percent (20-of-22) from the free throw line. The Big 12's leading scorer James Anderson led four players in double figures with a game-high 26 points on 7-of-14 shooting and an 11-of-13 effort from the free throw line. Junior Marshall Moses registered a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 18 rebounds (just five short of Colorado's entire total), while senior Obi Muonelo and sophomore Keiton Page added 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Oklahoma State is averaging nearly 75 points per game (74.6) on the year on 44.1 percent shooting, including 32.4 percent from 3-point range, 37.4 rebounds, 12.1 assists, 6.2 steals and 2.7 blocks per game. The team is shooting a solid 70.8 percent from the free throw line. The four-guard line-up includes arguably the league's best pure scorer in junior James Anderson, who leads all players at 21.8 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting from the field. He also averaging 5.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steal in a team-best 33.8 minutes per contest. Anderson is one of three players averaging in double figures, including Muonelo (12.3 ppg.) and Moses (11.5 ppg.). Moses averages a near double-double with a team-best 9.9 rebounds per game to go with his scoring average. Long-range threat Keiton Page is tied with Anderson with 36 3-point field goals to pace his 9.7 points per game average.
Oklahoma State is led by head coach Travis Ford, who has a 37-16 (.698) record in his second season at the helm. He led the Cowboys back to the NCAA Tournament in his first season with a 23-12 overall record, guiding the team to a win over Tennessee in the first round before losing to Pittsburgh in the second round. He has a 227-190 (.544) record in 13 seasons as a head coach, which includes stints at Campbellsville (1997-2000), Eastern Kentucky (2000-05) and Massachusetts (2005-08).
Series vs. Oklahoma State
This will be the 115th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Oklahoma State on the hardwood, including the 14th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 69-45 all-time advantage in a series that dates back to 1927. K-State is 34-14 all-time against OSU at home, but just 7-7 since play started at Bramlage Coliseum in 1989. The Cowboys have dominated the series in the last 27 seasons, winning 33 of the 48 games in that stretch, including 10 wins in Manhattan. OSU holds an 11-2 edge since the start of Big 12 play, including 4-2 mark in Bramlage Coliseum. The two wins since the start of the Big 12 for the Wildcats have come at home, a 70-61 victory on Feb. 2, 2002 and an 82-61 win on Feb. 9, 2008 in the last meeting in Manhattan. Last season, the Cowboys posted a 77-71 win over the Wildcats at home on March 3, 2009 with Byron Eaton leading five players in double figures with a game-high 25 points. Denis Clemente led K-State with 18 points and five assists.
'Cats in January
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play this season in the month of January where the Wildcats have won 21 of their last 29 games. The squad is 367-304 (.545) all-time in January with 20 wins in their last 25 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season. The team has won 16 of its last 23 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including a 9-3 mark at home. K-State has won four or more games in the month in each of the last six seasons (the team has already posted four in 2010), including a 6-0 mark in 2007-08. A win against Oklahoma State on Saturday would clinch a winning mark in January for the 59th time in school history, including a streak of six straight season dating back to 2004-05. The Wildcats have posted just nine unbeaten marks in the month, including most recently in the 2007-08 (6-0) season.
Knocking Off No. 1
With its 71-62 win over top-ranked Texas on Monday, Kansas State knocked off a No. 1 team for just the third time in school history and the first time since beating No. 1 Kansas, 68-64, at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 17, 1994. It was the second win over a No. 1 team on the Bramlage Coliseum floor (including the first match-up of Top 10 teams in the arena's 22-year history) and the first since defeating No. 1 Missouri, 65-58, on Feb. 8, 1990. The contest against the Longhorns was 16th in the program's history against the No. 1 team and the first since losing to top-ranked Kansas on Feb. 27, 2002. The Wildcats are now 3-12 (.200) all-time against No. 1 teams with all three wins coming in the last seven meetings with a top-ranked squad. The game was also just the third match-up with a No. 1 team when K-State was also ranked, including just the second time when ranked in the Top 10. Those other occasions were both losses, as 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.
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 40.4 rebounds per game. The squad is tops in the conference at 15.9 offensive boards per game, while they are fourth in rebounding margin (+7.1). The Wildcats have grabbed 40 or more rebounds 10 times this season, including in five of the last six games, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards in three of the last six 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 2007-08 season, while the squad grabbed 50 against the Big 12's top rebounding team against Texas, including 19 offensive boards which translated into a 23-10 edge in second chance points. The offensive rebound opportunities have helped the team average over 15 points per game (15.7) in second chance points, including 20 or more second chance points in three of the last five 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 (22.4) and free throws attempted per game (33.9). The team ranks just ahead of Wyoming, which is second in both categories (21.5 free throws made and 30.0 free throws attempted per game). The Wildcats have connected on 20 or more free throws in 14 of their 18 games, including 10 of the last 11 contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 13 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 1,636 points off of 1,434 turnovers in 85 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 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 1,557 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 33.6 points per game through 18 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 19.3 points per game. The 33.6-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 50 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 50 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 77 through 18 games, Clemente ranks 33rd nationally and fifth in the Big 12 with a solid 2.33 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has had fewer than two turnovers in all but six games this season, while dishing out at least four assists in 11 games. His assist-to-turnover ratio has been even better in the last 12 games, where he has handed out 62 assists to just 26 turnovers for a solid 2.38 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 on Jan. 3 and No. 1/1 Texas on Jan. 18 and seven against Cleveland State on Dec. 29. Clemente has tallied five more assists in eight games this season, including twice in four Big 12 games.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season. With his 12-point effort in the win over top-ranked Texas, he currently ranks 12th on the all-time scoring chart with 1,138 points, just 46 points short of Jack Parr (1,184, 1955-58) for 11th place. He became just the 13th player in school history to top 1,100 career points against Texas A&M on Jan. 12 and the first to do so since current Golden State Warrior Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07) in 2006. At his current career pace (13.4 ppg.), Pullen could jump into the school's all-time Top 10 by season's end, where he is 113 points short of 10th-place Tyrone Adams (1,251; 1978-82). He would have to average over 22.2 points over the course of the rest of this season (12 regular-season) and next season (typically 31 regular-season games) to come close to topping the all-time mark of 2,115 points set by Mike Evans in 117 games from 1974-78. 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 479 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 of 16 games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12. In that span, he is connecting on 43.9 percent (50-of-114) 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 on Jan. 16, he is now all alone in third place in school history in the category and needs just 12 to move ahead of Askia Jones (133, 1989-94) for second place and is 68 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 274 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.
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 18 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game on 59.3 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.3) and blocks (1.7) per contest. He had perhaps his best all-around game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Monday, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 field goals with eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 32 minutes of action. Kelly was also the principle defender of Texas' Damion James, holding the national and Big 12 Player of the Year candidate to just nine points on 3-of-12 field goals with seven rebounds and four turnovers. He is tied for the team lead with two double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort against current Top 25 foe Ole Miss on Nov. 20 and an 11-point, 11-rebound effort against IUPUI on Nov. 28. Kelly has scored in double figures 11 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 10 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 15 games, including two or more in eight games with a career-best six against South Dakota.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels is emerging as an early candidate to become the second Wildcat to earn the Big 12's Sixth Man of the Year award, as he boosts the team off the bench at nearly 13 points and just over five rebounds per outing. Samuels, who is third on the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game, had a breakout game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Monday, posting just his second double-double with 20 points and a career-best 12 rebounds against one of the best frontcourt tandems (Damion James and Dexter Pittman) in the country. The 20-point outing was just the third of his career (second this season) and just one point off his career-best of 21 scored against Fort Hays State (No. 5 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, while his 12-rebound effort was just the second double-digit rebounding game of his career. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 15 times with 14 of those coming off the bench, including a streak of 10 consecutive games. For his career, 29 of Samuels' 30 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. He is averaging 9.8 points on 56 percent (157-of-280) in 48 career games off the bench, including 12.6 points per game on a team-best 61.2 percent shooting this season. He has been even better since the start of league play, averaging 15.0 points on a team-best 65.6 percent shooting (21-of-32) and 5.0 rebounds per game. His 21 field goals so far in Big 12 play are a team-best.
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 38.3 shooting percentage (41-of-107), 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 12 of 18 games, including at least seven in six of the last eight games. He ranks 18th in the Big 12 in rebounding and 11th in offensive rebounds. He has 61 rebounds in the last eight games (an average of 7.6 per contest), including 38 on the defensive end, leading the team in the category in five of the eight games. He is averaging a near double-double in that eight-game span with 9.3 points per game on 51 percent shooting (25-of-49) and 7.6 rebounds per outing. He earned his second double-double in the last five 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.
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 five of the last six games (including four 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 738 points his two-year career on 39.3 percent shooting (253-of-644) from the field, including 33.3 percent (91-of-273) from 3-point range, in 50 games. He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 65 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 three divisions. 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 second Top 10 ranking of the season on Monday, has the Wildcats off to the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 season with its current 16-2 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. He is the team's second-leading scorer (and 16th in the Big 12) at 14.3 points per game and has scored in double figures in 15 of the team's 18 games. The team leader in assists at 4.3 per game, he is second in field goals (86) and 3-point field goals (32). He ranks fifth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), while he is seventh in assists and 14th in 3-point field goals made per game (2.0). 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. 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. 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 two other teams for the fourth-best start in school history with its current 16-2 overall record. Only three other squads - 1918-19, 1957-58 and 1958-59 teams - have a better record after 18 games in school history. The team earned its second Top 10 ranking of the season on Monday, as the Wildcats climbed to No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll (its highest ranking in the poll since USA Today took ownership of the poll in 1991-92) and to No. 10 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. It is the highest ranking in the AP since being ninth on March 13, 1973. On Monday night, Martin guided K-State to just third-ever win over a No. 1 team and first since 1994 with a 71-62 victory over then No. 1 Texas.
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 most points (1,483) by a team after 18 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.