11/13 KANSAS STATE (16-3, 3-2 Big 12)
vs. 24/rv Baylor (15-3, 2-2 Big 12)
Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Tipoff: 7:05 p.m. CT
Location: Waco, Texas | Arena: Ferrell Center (10,284)
Television: FOX Sports Kansas City /ESPN Full Court (Ben Boyle, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst; Max Leinwand, producer) | Channel Directory: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 449, AT&T U-Verse 750 | Internet: www.ESPN360.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Matt Walters, analyst) | Live Stats: www.kstatesports.com | Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan) | Satellite Radio: Sirius 91
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 59-27 (.686) in his third season at K-State. Baylor - Scott Drew (Butler '93) is 96-98 (.495) in his seventh season at Baylor and 116-109 (.517) in his eighth season overall as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State lost to Oklahoma State, 73-69, at home, while Baylor defeated Massachusetts, 71-45, at home; both on Saturday.
Series: Tied 10-10 (Baylor is 5-2 at home) | Last time: Baylor won 83-65 in Manhattan on Jan. 21, 2009 | Series Trend: The teams have split the last eight, but K-State hasn't won in Waco since 2004 | Frank Martin is 0-2 vs. Baylor, while Scott Drew is 3-3 all-time vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 11 in AP Top 25 and No. 13 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25. Baylor is ranked No. 24 in the AP Top 25.
Tickets: $12 (Youth), $15 (Upper Arena; Sections 106-107) by calling the Baylor Ticket Office at 254.710.1000 or online at baylorbears.com.
K-State hits the road for big test at Baylor Tuesday
Kansas State (16-3, 3-2 Big 12) looks to get back on the winning track on Tuesday night, as the Wildcat hit the road to face a surging Baylor squad (15-3, 2-2 Big 12) at the Ferrell Center at 7 p.m. CT. The squad is coming off a disappointing performance against Oklahoma State on Saturday, in which, they saw their Bramlage Coliseum-record 14-game homecourt winning streak come to an end in a 73-69 defeat. The team shot a season-low 35.6 percent from the field, including just 27.6 percent from 3-point range, and posted a near season-low 22 points in the paint. It was the first loss for the Wildcats at home since an 85-74 loss to No. 16 Kansas on Feb. 14, 2009 and the first at home to an unranked team since Baylor earned an 83-65 win on Jan. 21, 2009. Now, the Wildcats venture to the Ferrell Center where the Bears have won a school-record 11 consecutive home games, including a perfect 10-0 mark this season. Both teams enter the week ranked in the AP Top 25 with K-State dropping one spot to No. 11 and Baylor moving one spot to No. 24. It will mark the first time in series history that both teams will enter the game ranked in the AP Top 25. The contest will be televised regionally on FOX Sports Kansas City as well as nationally on the ESPN Full Court package with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call.
Tuesday's contest will not only pit two of the best backcourts in the Big 12, but also two of the best rebounding squads. The Baylor tandem of LaceDarius Dunn (19.3 ppg.) and Tweety Carter (16.2 ppg.) are averaging 35.5 points per game, while K-State counters with the duo of Jacob Pullen (18.8 ppg.) and Denis Clemente (14.6 ppg.), who are averaging 33.4 points per game. The teams rank in top-4 in both overall rebounding and rebounding margin, while K-State is tops in offensive rebounds (15.9) and Baylor second in defensive rebounds (29.06). This will be 21st all-time meeting between the two teams, including the 15th since the inception of the Big 12, with the series tied at 10-all. Baylor leads the series, 9-5, in the Big 12 era, including wins in three of the last four meetings. Overall, the Bears are 5-2 all-time at home, including five wins in the last six meetings in Waco. K-State hasn't won at the Ferrell Center since earning a 64-62 victory on March 2, 2004. Last season, Baylor posted its largest win in the series with an 83-65 victory in Manhattan.
K-State stayed in the Top 15 in both major polls for the fourth consecutive week on Monday, as the Wildcats dropped one spot to No. 11 in The Associated Press poll and four slots to No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. It marks the first time that the program has ranked among the AP Top 15 for four consecutive weeks since the 1961-62 squad was ranked among the AP Top 10 for 14 consecutive weeks from Dec. 19, 1961 to March 13, 1962. Although, the squad dropped its game against Oklahoma State on Saturday, the current 16-3 record ties for the sixth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 team opened with a 17-2 record. It marks just the seventh time in school history that a team has won at least 16 of their first 19 games.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (81.7 ppg.) on 45.9 percent shooting (504-of-1098), including 35 percent from 3-point range (122-of-349), with 40.1 rebounds, 15.3 assists, 7.4 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 13 of 19 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 10 occasions. The 1,552 points scored are the second-most through 19 games, just behind the 1986-87 team who scored 1,560 in that span. The 81.7 points per game average is on pace to break the school-record of 81.4 points averaged during the 1952-53 campaign. The 76.6 points per game average through the first fiveconference 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 35 points per game (35.5) in the paint, while ranking first nationally in most personal fouls drawn (26.5), free throws made (22.2) and free throws attempted (33.8) per game. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 68.6 points on 41.2 percent shooting while averaging 21.6 points off of 17.9 turnovers per game. The team has scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 10 games, including seven of the last 10 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 seven teams to 68.6 points on 41.8 percent shooting, including just 27.4 percent from 3-point range, while posting a +9.9 rebounding edge.
Despite the loss to Oklahoma State, the Wildcats' 16-3 overall record remains the best start under head coach Frank Martin and the best since the 1961-62 squad opened at 17-2. Only five other teams have fared better after 19 games in Kansas State history, as the 1957-58 and 1958-59 teams started 18-1 and the 1918-19, 1950-51 and 1961-62 teams all opened at 17-2. The 16-3 record matches the 1947-48 squad for the sixth-best start in school history. This is just the seventh time in school history that the team has won 16 of their first 19 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 18.8 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (98), 3-point field goals (54), free throws (108), free throw percentage (78.8) and steals (30), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.6 points per game on 37.4 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in assists (79) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (635) this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 33.4) 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 1,149 points in 86 career games ranks 12th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 19 games. His team-best 58 career double-digit scoring games rank 10th all-time in K-State history.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 12.2 points per game on a team-best 60.3 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 17 of 18 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 4.8 per game. He has scored in double figures in 15 of his 18 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 11.5 points per game. Kelly, who is tied with Dominique Sutton with two double-doubles each, is shooting 58.3 percent from the field and ranks first with 6.4 rebounds per contest. Sutton, arguably one of the Big 12's top defenders, is averaging 7.7 points on 51.5 percent shooting to go with 5.8 rebounds per game. He earned his second double-double of the season against Texas A&M with 12 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. Rookie Rodney McGruder has been solid of late, averaging 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in Big 12 play.
Postgame Notes vs. Oklahoma State
--With its loss to Oklahoma State, Kansas State dropped to 69-46 all-time in the series, including a 34-15 mark at home... The Cowboys have won 34 of the last 49 games, including 11 wins in Manhattan... OSU is now 12-2 all-time against K-State since the start of the Big 12, including an 8-7 mark at Bramlage Coliseum... The Cowboys also earned their first win over a Top 10 team on the road since beating No. 2 Kansas in 1958.
--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 seventh time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 53 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 86... In addition, Sutton, who is second on the team with 60 consecutive games played, has started 36 consecutive games for the Wildcats.
--K-State saw its Bramlage Coliseum-record 14-game winning streak come to end with the loss to Oklahoma State... It was the first loss at home since losing to No. 16 Kansas, 85-74, on Feb. 14, 2009 and the first loss to an unranked squad losing to Baylor on Jan. 21, 2009... The 14-game homecourt winning streak was the ninth-longest home winning streak in school history... It was 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 43-6 (.878) record at home.
--K-State shot a season-low 35.6 percent from the field, including just 27.6 percent from 3-point range, in scoring 69 points on the night... The team also tied its season low with 21 field goals and just 17 defensive rebounds... Oklahoma State shot 44.9 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half, while grabbing an opponent-high 28 defensive rebounds... The Wildcats lost for the first time this season when leading at halftime (16-1) and when leading with 10 minutes to play (16-1)... The squad also had their lowest points in the paint (22) total since UNLV.
--Senior Denis Clemente led four Wildcats in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-14 field goals, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range, before fouling out for the second time in his career... Junior Curtis Kelly added a solid all-around day with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go with seven rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals... It was a career-high in both assists and steals... Junior Jacob Pullen scored 11 points on just 2-of-15 shooting and has now scored in all 19 games this season... Freshman Rodney McGruder registerd double-digit points for the third straight game with 10 points on the day... He has averaged 10.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting in the last three games with 5.3 rebounds per game.
The Book on Baylor
Baylor enters Tuesday's game with a 15-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Big 12 play after finishing non-conference play with a 71-45 win over Massachusetts on Saturday at home. The Bears have now won a school-record 11 consecutive home games, including a perfect 10-0 mark this season. Big 12 Newcomer of the Year candidate Ekpe Udoh and sharpshooter Tweety Carter each scored 23 points in the UMass win, while All-Big 12 guard LaceDarius Dunn added 15 points on the day.
Baylor is averaging nearly 80 points per game (78.6) on the season on 49.9 percent shooting, including 41 percent from 3-point range, with 41.9 rebounds, 15.2 assists, 5.7 steals and 7.7 blocks per game. The team is shooting a solid 68.5 percent from the free throw line. Armed with one of the nation's best backcourts, the Bears are led by the talented Dunn, who is second in the Big 12 in scoring at 19.3 points per game. He is shooting 42.7 percent from the field, including 41.8 percent from beyond the arc, while 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Carter adds a 16.2 points per game average on 44.3 percent shooting, including 42.2 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 6.7 assists per outing. The two guards have combined for 107 of the team's 144 3-point field goals this season. Udoh, who sat out the 2008-09 season after transferring from Michigan, is averaging a double-double with 14.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. He is first in the league in blocked shots at 4.4 per game. He has connected on 54.1 percent from the field.
Baylor is led by head coach Scott Drew, who has a 96-98 (.495) record in his seventh season at the helm. He has built the Bears back to national prominence after probation rocked the program in 2003. He led Baylor to their first NCAA Tournament in 20 seasons in 2008, while he guided the squad to NIT Final last season with a 24-15 overall record. He has a 116-109 (.517) record in eight seasons as a head coach, which includes a one-year stint at Valparaiso in 2002-03.
Series vs. Baylor
This will be the 21st all-time meeting between Kansas State and Baylor on the hardwood, including the 15th since the inception of the Big 12, with the all-time series tied at 10-all in a series that dates back to 1948. This will be the first time in the series that both teams will be ranked when playing each other, although, the stakes have been higher before with the Bears earning their only trip to the Final Four by beating the Wildcats, 60-52, in the 1948 Western Regional Final at Muncipal Auditorium on March 20. Baylor knocked off No. 24 K-State, 92-86, in the last meeting at the Ferrell Center on Feb. 23, 2008 when future NBA players Michael Beasley (44) and Bill Walker (31) combined for 75 of the team's 86 points. The Bears hold a 9-5 mark against the Wildcats in the Big 12 era, including wins in three of the last four meetings. Baylor is 5-2 all-time at home in the series, including wins in five of the last six meetings in Waco. K-State hasn't won at the Ferrell Center since earning a 64-62 victory on March 2, 2004. Last season, junior LaceDarious Dunn paced four players in double figures with a career-best 33 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including 9-of-12 from 3-point range, to help hand the Wildcats their worst loss (83-65) in series history. Denis Clemente led K-State with 17 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 21 of their last 30 games. The squad is 367-305 (.545) all-time in January with 20 wins in their last 26 games at home in the month dating back to the 2004-05 season. The team has won 16 of its last 24 Big 12 games in January dating back to 2006-07, including a 7-4 mark on the road. 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. The Wildcats have posted a winning mark in January 58 times in school history, including a streak of six straight season dating back to 2004-05.
Knocking Off No. 1
With its 71-62 win over top-ranked Texas on Jan. 18, 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 40.1 rebounds per game. The squad is tops in the conference at 15.9 offensive boards per game, while they are fourth in rebounding margin (+6.4). The Wildcats have grabbed 40 or more rebounds 10 times, including in five of the last seven games, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards in three of the last seven 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 (Texas) on Jan. 18, 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 six 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 (26.5), free throws made (22.2) and free throws attempted per game (33.8). 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 19 games, including 10 of the last 12 contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 14 games. The team set near records for both categories against Colorado on Jan. 16 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 1,650 points off of 1,454 turnovers in 86 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 21.6 points off of 17.9 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 1,587 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 33.4 points per game through 19 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 18.8 points per game. The 33.4-point combined average is the fourth-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 Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5) and just ahead of 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 45 times in 51 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 30 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 51 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 79 through 19 games, Clemente ranks 43rd nationally and fourth 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 13 games, where he has handed out 64 assists to just 27 turnovers for a solid 2.37 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 five 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. After his 11-point effort in the loss to Oklahoma State, he currently ranks 12th on the all-time scoring chart with 1,149 points, just 35 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 102 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. He finished the contest with his third career 30-point game.
Pullen ranks in the top 5 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted in school history, ranking third in attempts with 491 and fourth in makes with 169. 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 10 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 the last 17 games this season, including a career-best seven treys against UNLV on Dec. 12. In that span, he is connecting on 41.3 percent (52-of-126) 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 10 to move ahead of Askia Jones (133, 1989-94) for second place and is 66 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 280 assists. He needs just 31 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 19 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game on 58.3 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.4) and blocks (1.9) per contest. He had perhaps his best all-around game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, 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 12 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 eight 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 16 games, including two or more in nine 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 under five rebounds per outing. Samuels, who is third on the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game, had a breakout game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, 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 in 10 of the last 11 games. For his career, 29 of Samuels' 30 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. He is averaging 9.7 points on 55.8 percent (159-of-285) in 49 career games off the bench, including 12.2 points per game on a team-best 60.3 percent shooting this season. He has been even better since the start of league play, averaging 13.0 points on a team-best 62.2 percent shooting (23-of-37) and 4.2 rebounds per game. His 23 field goals in Big 12 play only trail Denis Clemente's team-best 25.
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 40 shooting percentage (50-of-125), including a 23.1 percent (8-of-31) 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 5.8 per game, Sutton has grabbed at least five boards in 12 of 19 games, including at least seven in six of the last nine games. He ranks 17th in the Big 12 in rebounding and 11th in offensive rebounds. He has 65 rebounds in the last nine games (an average of 7.2 per contest), including 39 on the defensive end, leading the team in the category in five of the last nine games. He is averaging a near double-double in that nine-game span with 8.8 points per game on 50 percent shooting (26-of-52) and 7.2 rebounds per outing. He earned his second double-double in the last six 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 six of the last seven games (including five straight) and played a huge role in limiting Texas' Dexter Pittman to just six points and seven rebounds.
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 757 points his two-year career on 39.4 percent shooting (259-of-658) from the field, including 33.6 percent (95-of-283) from 3-point range, in 51 games. He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 46 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 Jan. 18, has the Wildcats tied for the sixth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 season with its current 16-3 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 14th in the Big 12) at 14.6 points per game and has scored in double figures in 16 of the team's 19 games. The team leader in assists at 4.3 per game, he is second in field goals (92) and 3-point field goals (36). He ranks fourth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), while he is ninth in assists and 13th 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 one other team for the sixth-best start in school history with its current 16-3 record. Only five other squads - 1918-19, 1950-51, 1957-58, 1958-59 and 1961-62 teams - have a better record after 19 games in school history. The team earned its second Top 10 ranking of the season on Jan. 18, as the Wildcats climbed to No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll (its highest ranking 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. Later that same 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. The win over the Longhorns also gave the Wildcats three wins over Top 25 teams for the first time ever in the regular season.
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 and No. 14 St. Joseph's 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 non-league winning percentage is the best in school history. He became the third-fastest head coach to 50 wins with the 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.