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K-State Returns Home To Face Nebraska Wednesday


GO WILDCATS Senior Jacob Pullen moved into second place all-time in scoring at Kansas with 21 points.
GO WILDCATS
Senior Jacob Pullen moved into second place all-time in scoring at Kansas with 21 points.
GO WILDCATS

Feb. 1, 2011

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Kansas State (14-8, 2-5 Big 12)
vs. rv/rv Nebraska (15-5, 3-3 Big 12)

Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011  |  Tipoff: 7:04 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.  |  Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)  | 
Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com  |  Internet: ESPN Full Court/ESPN3.com
Television: Big 12 Network (Dave Armstrong, play-by-play; Jon Sundvold, analyst; Doc Carothers, producer)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)  |  Satellite Radio: Sirius 155 (home team only)  
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International ‘93) is 86-40 (.683) in his fourth season as a head coach and at the school. 
Nebraska - Doc Sadler (Arkansas ‘82) is 133-81 (.621) in his seventh season as a head coach and 85-63 (.574) in his fifth season at the school.
Series: K-State leads 124-93 (68-35 at home)  |  Martin vs. Nebraska: 4-2 (3-0 at home)  |   Martin vs. Sadler: 4-2 (3-0 at home) 
Last Time Out:  K-State lost at No. 6/6 Kansas, 90-66, on Saturday, while Nebraska knocked off No. 13/11 Texas A&M, 57-48, at home on Saturday.
Rankings: K-State is not ranked, but Nebraska is receiving votes in both The Associated Press and/or USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 polls.   
Tickets: 500 general admission tickets are available for $20 through the Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221.CATS

K-State returns home to face Nebraska on Wednesday
Kansas State (14-8, 2-5 Big 12) returns home to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night, as the Wildcats host a surging Nebraska squad (15-5, 3-3 Big 12) at 7 p.m.  The Wildcats, who have dropped three of last four games on the road against nationally-ranked teams, will take on a rising Cornhusker squad that knocked off No. 13/11 Texas A&M, 57-48, on Saturday afternoon at the Devaney Sports Center.  The Huskers have already equaled their win total from a season ago, while also surpassing their league total from 2009-10.  The contest will broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call.  Locally, the game will be available on KMCI-TV in Kansas City, KMTW-TV in Wichita and KSNT-TV in the Topeka and Manhattan areas.  It will also be available nationally on ESPN Full Court as well as on the internet at ESPN3.com.  Fans are encouraged to bring items for the “Tipoff for TP” event to benefit the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, as K-State student-athletes will be collecting toilet paper, trash bags and paper towels to benefit the shelter.

This will be the 218th meeting between K-State and Nebraska in a series that dates back to 1906.  It is the third-most played series in school history behind the rivalries with Kansas (271) and Missouri (232).  The two teams have met every season for 88 years, however, they will be playing for the final time in Manhattan as conference opponents with the Cornhuskers heading to the Big Ten in 2011-12.  The Wildcats own a 124-93 advantage in the series, including a 68-35 edge in Manhattan.  K-State holds a slight edge in the series since the start of the Big 12, posting a 17-12 edge since 1996, including 12-2 mark at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Wildcats have won three consecutive games over the Huskers, including a season sweep a season ago.  It was the first season sweep for either team since 2003-04.  The squad earned their first win in Lincoln in three tries with a 76-57 victory at the Devaney Center on Feb. 2 then held on for a 91-87 win at home two weeks later on Feb. 17.

After a much-needed 69-61 win over Baylor on Monday night, K-State couldn’t continue its upward momentum against No. 6/6 Kansas on Saturday night in the 271st Sunflower Showdown.  A motivated Jayhawk squad ran out to a 15-2 edge and never looked back, earning their 34th win in 36 tries since the start of the Big 12, including their 15th at Allen Fieldhouse with a 90-66 win over the Wildcats.  Kansas connected on 61.8 percent from the field, including 69.7 percent in the second half, while holding K-State to just 33.8 percent shooting, including 19.4 percent in the first half.  The Jayhawks posted opponent highs in seven categories, including points, field goals, field goal percentage, defensive rebounds (29) and assists (20).  It marked the first time that an opponent topped the 90-point barrier in a regulation game since dropping a 94-74 decision at Missouri on Feb. 25, 2009, while it marked the fourth-most points scored against a Frank Martin-coached team behind the 103 scored by Xavier on Dec. 31, 2007, 94 by Missouri in 2009 and 92 by Baylor on Feb. 23, 2008.  The 61.8 shooting percentage by Kansas was the highest by an opponent since Kentucky connected on 68.8 percent (22-of-32) on Nov. 28, 2008. 

As equally dismal on the offensive end, the Wildcats failed to break the 70-point barrier for the sixth time in seven conference games, while also shooting below 40 percent for the second consecutive contest.  The 33.8 shooting percentage was the lowest in a Big 12 game this season, while it was the second-lowest behind the 27.3 percent shot against Florida on Dec. 18, 2009.  Although, the team recovered to score 46 points on 50 percent shooting in the second half, they dug themselves a hole, scoring 20 points on just 19.4 percent shooting in the first half.  The 19.4 shooting percentage ties for the ninth-lowest in a half in school history with the 2003-04 squad that also hit on 19.4 percent against Texas on March 6, 2004.  It was the lowest shooting percentage in a half since connecting on 18.8 percent against Missouri on Feb. 27, 2010.  The Wildcats were again doomed by the turnover bug, as the Jayhawks converted 16 miscues into 22 points.  It marked the fifth time this season (including the third in Big 12 play) that they have allowed an opponent to score 20 or more points off of turnovers.  

K-State got strong effort from the backcourt of senior Jacob Pullen and sophomore Rodney McGruder, who combined to score 36 of the team’s 66 points on Saturday.  Pullen led all scorers with 21 points, which included a season-tying four 3-point field goals, while McGruder chipped in 15 points on 5-of-10 field goals, including three from long range.  It marked the 16th time that Pullen has led the team in scoring in just 19 games played.  He has scored in double figures now 93 times in his career, which has only been accomplished more by Rolando Blackman (100, 1977-81) in school history.  It was also his 34th 20-point game, which now ties him for third-place all-time.  His 21-point effort also enabled him to move into second place all-time in scoring at K-State with 1,850 points, moving him past Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94).  He is now within 265 points off all-time leader Mike Evans, who scored 2,115 points from 1974-78.  He also became the school’s all-time leader in steals with 191st theft, breaking his tie with Steve Henson (190, 1987-90).  Already the leader in 3-point field goals (266) and 3-point field goals attempted (758), he ranks among the the Top 5 of 17 career categories.  Pullen now needs nine steals and three rebounds to become the first player in school history with 1,800 points, 400 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.
 
With the loss, K-State has already equaled its total from the entire 2009-10 season, while the team wrapped up the month of January with a 3-5 mark -- its first losing mark in the month since going 2-6 in 2003-04.  The Wildcats, which started the season with a 9-1 record, has lost seven of its last 12 games.  However, the squad returns home where they have posted an 11-1 mark, including back-to-back wins over Texas Tech and Baylor since a loss to Colorado on Jan. 12.  The 17 wins over the Cornhuskers are the most by any opponent at Bramlage Coliseum.   

The Wildcats continue to try to find some consistency, as they have just one player - Rodney McGruder - who has started all 22 games this year, while there are just two others - Spradling and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts - who have played in all 22 games.  The team has used eight different starting lineups, while Spradling and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are just the second and third rookie guards to start a game in four years under Frank Martin.  The two’s only two seniors - Pullen and Kelly - missed three and six games, respectively, due to NCAA rules violations, while the team’s four upperclassmen - Pullen, Kelly, Jamar Samuels and Victor Ojeleye - have only been eligible to play in the same game 10 times.  On Monday, they lost a second player - Wally Judge - who opted to leave the team after playing in 17 games this season.  

Kansas State fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll on Jan. 17 for the first time in 23 consecutive polls dating back to Dec. 14, 2009 after starting the year at No. 3 for their highest-ever preseason ranking.  The No. 3 ranking was the highest in an AP poll in almost 50 years since the team ranked No. 3 on March 6, 1962.  The team fell out of the Coaches’ poll after 24 weeks on Jan. 24 after consecutive losses the week before.

The Book on Nebraska
Nebraska enters Wednesday’s game with a 15-5 overall record and a 3-3 mark in Big 12 action after posting a 57-48 victory over then No. 13/11 Texas A&M on Saturday in Lincoln.  The win helped the team equal their entire win total (15) from last season, while surpass their victory total (three) in league games.  The Cornhuskers rallied from a 31-24 deficit at halftime to post a near flawless effort in the second half in Saturday’s win, out-scoring the Aggies, 33-17.  They connected on 50 percent from the field, while holding Texas A&M to just 23.8 percent shooting, including 18.2 percent from 3-point range.  Although out-rebounded 34-26, they committed just seven turnovers, while converting 14 A&M miscues into 16 points.  The team was diverse offensively, with three players in double figures led by sophomore Brian Jorge Diaz’s game-high 16 points.  Junior Brandon Richardson and senior Lance Jeter each added 10 points, while Jeter also added team-highs in rebounds (six) and assists (four).  The team returns 10 lettermen, including four starters, from a squad that posted a 15-18 overall record, including a 2-14 mark in the Big 12. 

The Cornhuskers are averaging 68.8 points on 47.7 percent shooting from the field, including 29.9 percent from 3-point range, with 36.8 rebounds, 13.3 assists, 6.6 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.  They are impressive on the defensive end, yielding 56.5 points on 36.5 percent shooting, including 30.1 percent from 3-point range, while forcing 14.0 turnovers per game.  They rank first in scoring defense, second in field goal percentage defense and defensive rebounds (27.7) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage.  One of the Big 12’s most balanced offensive teams, the Huskers have nine players averaging at least four points per outing, including two in double figures.  Jeter paces the squad in four categories, including points (10.6 ppg.), assists (4.4 apg.), steals (1.9 spg.) and minutes (28.6).  Diaz averages 10.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting to go with a team-high 4.6 rebounds per game.  Six players have totaled double-digit three-point field goals led by sophomore Eshaunte Jones’ 18 treys.
    
Nebraska is led by fifth-year coach Doc Sadler, who has compiled an 85-63 (.574) record since taking over in 2005-06.  He has a 133-81 (.621) record in his seventh season as a head coach, which includes a two-year stint at Texas-El Paso (2004-06).  He has guided the Cornhuskers to back-to-back NIT appearances in 2007-09, while his first squad at UTEP advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2004-05. 

Series vs. Nebraska
This will be the 218th meeting between K-State and Nebraska in a series that dates back to 1906.  It is the third-most played series in school history behind the rivalries with Kansas (271) and Missouri (232).  The two teams have met every season for 88 years.  The Wildcats own a
124-93 advantage in the series, including a 68-35 edge in Manhattan.  K-State holds a slight edge in the series since the start of the Big 12, winning 17 of 29 meetings, including 12 of 14 at Bramlage Coliseum in the era.  The squad has won three in a row over the Huskers, including a season sweep a season ago.  The Wildcats earned their first win in Lincoln in three tries with a 76-57 victory at the Devaney Center on Feb. 2 then held on for a 91-87 win at home two weeks later on Feb. 17.  It was the first season sweep for either team since 2003-04.  Denis Clemente led all scorers in Lincoln with 23 points, while Clemente and Dominique Sutton each added 21 points in the four-point win at Bramlage Coliseum. 

Getting Defensive
Despite one of its worst efforts of the Frank Martin era against Kansas on Saturday, K-State has still been a solid team defensively this season, holding its opponents to 65.7 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting, including 35.5 percent from 3-point range, while forcing them into 16.4 turnovers per game.  The Wildcats have held 15 opponents to 65 points or less, including 12 of the last 17, while limiting 10 foes to under 40 percent shooting from the field.  The team has also posted an impressive +8.2 rebounding margin against its foes, which ranks fifth nationally.  The squad is averaging 40.0 rebounds per game, including 16 offensive rebounds, while holding its opponents to 31.8 rebounds per game.  K-State leads the Big 12 in offensive rebounds, while it is second in both overall rebounds and margin.  The squad has paced in the league in offensive rebounds in each of Frank Martin’s three seasons as head coach.  This rebounding edge has helped the Wildcats post 330 second-chance points (15.0 per game) compared to just 224 (10.1 per game) for its opponents.  They have out-scored their opponents in this regard in all but five games.  The team has scored 20 or more second-chance points in five contests, including a season-high 25 against both UMKC on Dec 31 and Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  This statistic has been particularly stark in Kansas State’s 14 wins, where the team has averaged 17.1 second-chance points compared to just an average of 11.3 second-chance points in the eight losses.   

Digging the Long Ball
One of the more lethal components of the Wildcats’ offense under head coach Frank Martin has been the ability to convert from long range.  The team has posted 200 or more treys in each of the last three seasons under Martin, including a school-record 253 makes in 2009-10.  This year’s squad seems to be on track to continue that trend, as they rank fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (7.0) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (36.3), while trailing just Iowa State (190) and Missouri (160) in total 3-pointers (154).  The team has tallied double-digit treys in five contests, including a season-best 13 (on a season-high 59.1 percent) against Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  The 13 makes ties six others for the seventh-most in a game in school history, while they are most since the team had 14 against UNLV on Dec. 12, 2009.

Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been particularly solid from beyond the arc, ranking seventh in the league in 3-point field goals (2.27) and ninth in percentage (41.0).  He has posted at least one trey in 18 of 22 games, including two or more from long range on 16 occasions.  McGruder has been impressive in the last nine games, where he has connected on 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from 3-point range, which includes a 7-of-10 effort against UMKC on Dec. 31.  The seven makes tied 10 other players for the fourth-most 3-pointers in a game in school history, while he was the first to accomplish the feat since teammate Jacob Pullen did it twice a season ago.  His exploits are all the more impressive considering he shares the backcourt with Pullen, the school’s all-time leader in both 3-pointers (266) and attempts (758).  Pullen, who is 10th in the Big 12 in 3-pointers per game (2.16), ranks second on the team with 41 treys, including at least two in 11 games and a season-high four in five contests.  However, this statistic goes beyond McGruder and Pullen, as nine other Wildcats have at least one 3-pointer this season, including double-digit totals from freshman Will Spradling (21) and sophomore Martavious Irving (14). 

Practice Makes Perfect
One of the main concerns with this Kansas State team has been its ability to shoot free throws, where it 338th nationally (out of 346 teams) and last in the Big 12 at 60.7 percent (331-of-545).  However, the extra practice since the end of the semester has seemed to improve that percentage, as the Wildcats have connected on almost 72 percent (156-of-217) in the last nine games, including a season-best 81.3 percent (13-of-16) against Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  During this span, the team has hit on more than 75 percent four times, including games against Baylor (80.6; 25-of-31), Oklahoma State (77.4, 24-of-31) and North Florida (76.9, 20-of-26).  Three Wildcats are perfect from the line in this stretch -- Will Spradling, Victor Ojeleye and Nick Russell -- while five more are hitting at greater than 70 percent.  Senior Jacob Pullen, who ranks second in school history in free throws made (444) and attempted (581), has hit on more than 75 percent (42-of-54) after starting the season at just over 70 percent (71.4; 45-of-63).  Spradling’s 9-of-9 effort against Baylor was the best since Pullen went 11-of-11 against Washington State in 2009.       

Young ‘Cats Step Up
Even before the suspension of seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly before the UNLV game on Dec. 21, the play of Kansas State’s freshmen and sophomores have played a major role in the team’s record.  This nucleus has scored 798 of the team’s 1609 points thus far (50 percent), while posting 433 of 881 rebounds (49 percent), 181 of 314 assists (58 percent) and 64 of 137 steals (47 percent).  The group boasts six of the Top 10 scorers, while it includes three of the Top 5 rebounders and four of the Top 5 assists leaders.  Thirty-one of the team’s 69 double-digit scoring efforts have come from sophomores and freshmen led by guard Rodney McGruder, who is second on the squad in double-figure scoring games with 14.  He paces the team in 3-pointer (50) and rebounding (6.6 rpg.), while he is second in scoring (11.4 ppg.), field goals (88), steals (16) and minutes played (29 mpg.).  Freshman Will Spradling and sophomore Martavious Irving rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in scoring at 6.0 and 4.9 points per game.  Spradling is first in free throw percentage (89.7) and second in assists (2.2 apg.) and steals (0.8 spg.), while he and fellow freshman Shane Southwell are just the second and third rookie guards to earn a start under head coach Frank Martin

This group was even more impressive during Pullen’s three-game suspension (UNLV, UMKC and North Florida games), as the Wildcats averaged nearly 80 points per game (79.7 ppg.), including the school’s first 100-point game of the season, while connecting on 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.  During this period, the team started three sophomores, one true freshman and one junior with three of the four double-digit scorers being either sophomores or freshmen led by McGruder’s 14.7 points per game.

Bench Points
One of the definite advantage of this year’s Kansas State squad is its depth and versatility.  The Wildcats have played at least nine players in each of its 22 games, including a high of 14 against No. 18/22 Gonzaga (11/22), Texas Southern (11/26), Emporia State (11/29) and Alcorn State (12/6).  The team has used this depth to its advantage, averaging 24.4 points per game off the bench, while out-scoring its foes by a margin of 537-376.  The squad has scored 20 or more points from the bench in 16 of 22 games, including a string of five straight games of at least 30 points from Nov. 16-26 for the first time under Frank Martin, while it posted 40 or more points of production in back-to-back games for just the second time under Martin and the first time since 2008-09.  The Wildcats scored 86 points from the bench against Duke (45) and Texas Southern (41), which is the most in consecutive games since they totaled 104 points in games against Idaho State (45, 1/3/09) and Chicago State (59, 1/5/09).  The team has seen a Big 12-high 12 different players record 69 double-digit scoring efforts this season, including 19 coming off the bench from seven separate players.  Sophomore Martavious Irving leads with five double-digit scoring efforts from the bench.            
    
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes.  Since he became coach, the Wildcats have scored 2,358 points off of 2,098 turnovers in 126 games, an average of 18.7 points per game.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past four years have come off of offense generated from turnovers, including the current season, in which, the team has outscored its foes, 382-348.  The squad has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers in five games, including a season-best 33 points against Emporia State on Nov. 29.  The team has pressured their foes into 15 or more turnovers in 14 games, including a season-high 26 vs. James Madison on Nov. 12.  Before the North Florida game on New Year’s Eve, the Wildcats were one of just four schools (Louisville, Washington and Cincinnati) to force each of their opponents into more turnovers than assists in every game.  The team’s streak of 17 consecutive games (which led the nation) holding a foe to more turnovers than assists ended on Dec. 31 when the Ospreys tallied 14 assists to just 11 turnovers.  It marked the first positive assist-to-turnover ratio for an opponent since Kansas had 16 assists and 11 turnovers in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on March 13, 2010.

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Senior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone in the midst of his final season at K-State.  With his team-high 21-point effort against No. 6 Kansas on Saturday, he moved into second place all-time in scoring in school history with 1,850 points, passing both Rolando Blackman (1,844, 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834, 1989-94).  His current total of 1,850 points in 123 games is now 265 points behind all-time leader Mike Evans, who had 2,115 points from 1974-78.  He became the first Wildcat since Jones in 1994 to eclipse the 1,800-point barrier in a career with his 21-point performance at No. 11/10 Texas A&M on Jan. 22, while he is the 19th player in the Big 12 era to top 1,800 points, including the second this season (LaceDarius Dunn).  He also ranks among the Top 5 in double-digit scoring games (93, t-2nd) and 20-point games (34, t-3rd). 

Pullen ranks among the Top 10 in 18 career categories, including 17 in the Top 5 in school history.  Already the school’s career record holder for 3-point field goals attempted (758), he became the leader in 3-point field goals (now at 266) in the win over Emporia State on Nov. 29 with four treys, breaking his second-place tie with Askia Jones (237, 1989-94) and passing former leader Steve Henson (240, 1987-90).  He also became the school leader in steals with his 191st theft against the Jayhawks on Jan. 29, passing Henson’s 190 total from 1987-90.  With his six makes against Florida on Dec. 11, he became the first Wildcat since Bob Boozer (1956-59) to connect on 400 free throws in a career, while his five dimes against Texas Tech on Jan. 15 made him the first since Henson to dish out 400 assists.  His start against the Red Raiders also gave him 100 for his career, making him one of just four players (Ed Nealy, Henson and Blackman) to tally that many starts.  He ranks second in free throws attempted (581) and minutes played (3,562), third in consecutive starts (82), fourth in games played (123), starts (104) and field goals attempted (1,415) and fifth in field goals (570).  He is on pace to become the first Wildcat with 1,800 points, 400 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals.

Pullen Named Preseason AP All-American
Senior guard Jacob Pullen became the first Wildcat to earn preseason All-American honors from the Associated Press, as he was named first team selection by the organization in early November.  Pullen, who has been selected to a number of All-American teams, was joined on the first team by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson and Duke’s Kyle Singler.  He was an honorable mention AP All-American as a junior after leading K-State to its first Elite Eight since 1988.  He was already been named a preseason All-American by a number of media outlets, including to the first team by ESPN.com, Blue Ribbon Yearbook and The Sporting News, the second team by Dick Vitale and the third team by Athlon Sports.  He was also selected a preseason Top 50 candidate for both the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy, while he was recently named one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award and the midseason Top 30 list for the Wooden Award.
 
McGruder Takes Off
Sophomore Rodney McGruder has been one of the team’s most consistent all-around players this season, averaging 11.4 points on 45 percent shooting, including 41 percent from 3-point range, to go with a team-best 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.7 steals in 29 minutes per game.  The only player to start all 22 games, McGruder also paces the team in 3-point field goals (50), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (14), field goals (88), steals (16) and minutes.  He had a career day against UMKC on Dec. 23, setting highs in five categories, including points (24), field goals (eight), field goals attempted (14), 3-point field goals (seven) and 3-point field goals attempted.  His seven treys tied 10 others players for the fourth-most in a single-game in school history, while he was the first to do it since Jacob Pullen had seven against BYU in the NCAA Tournament.  Despite the presence of the school’s all-time leader in Pullen, McGruder has been the team’s best long range threat with at least two makes from 3-point range in 16 of his 22 games.  All of 6-foot-4, he has also been the best rebounder, posting at least five boards in 18 contests, including a career-high 15 against Texas Tech on Jan. 15.  He has led the team in department on 11 occasions.  His 15 rebounds against the Red Raiders were the most by a Wildcat since Michael Beasley grabbed 17 against Missouri on Feb. 16, 2008.   

From Reserve to Starter
A reserve for much of his career, junior Jamar Samuels has made the most of his nine consecutive starts, which has included the team’s first seven Big 12 opponents.  The reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, he is averaging 11 points in the span on 45.3 percent shooting (34-of-75), including 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from beyond the arc, to go with 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 28.1 minutes per game. Pressed into the starting lineup against North Florida due to an illness, Samuels earned his first start since the first game of his sophomore season with perhaps his best offensive day.  He posted his second 20-point game of his career, as he came up just one short of his career-high of 27 against Oklahoma State last season at the Big 12 Championships.  He went 11-of-15 from the field against Ospreys, including 2-of-3 effort from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 23 minutes.  He earned a near double-double against Texas Tech on Jan. 15, as he tallied a team-high 22 points on 8-of-12 field goals with nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 30 minutes.  Samuels is closing in on a feat that only eight other players have accomplished at K-State, as he is nearing 1,000 career points (881 currently) and 500 career rebounds (462).      

Coaching Staff Continuity
One of the main reasons that Kansas State has been able to win a school-record 72 games over the past three seasons has been its ability to not only keep head coach Frank Martin, who earned a new multi-year contract through the 2014-15 season during the off-season, but his entire staff, which includes associate head coach Dalonte Hill, assistants Matt Figger and Brad Underwood, director of operations Andy Assaley and strength coach Scott Greenawalt.  K-State is one of just two Big 12 schools (other being Missouri) to have kept their entire staff together for the last four seasons.  This has enabled the Wildcats to post 72 wins the past three seasons, which is the most by a coaching staff in their first three seasons and the most-ever by the school in that span.  They are the first staff to post three consecutive 20-win seasons since 1979-82 and just the second group to guide K-State to the postseason in each of their first three seasons.  The staff has also captured 30 Big 12 wins in last three years, which ties Jack Hartman’s staff from 1970-73 for the most in a three-year period.  They have also helped make the K-State one of just two in the Big 12 to finish in the top-4 in the league standings and receive a bye at the Big 12 Championship each of the past three years.

Season Tickets Sold Out
With preseason expectations for K-State at a near all-time high, officials announced on Oct. 22 that all reserved tickets for the 2010-11 season have been sold.  K-State has sold over 12,000 season tickets to the general public and students, surpassing last year’s total by over 750 tickets.  The school has ranked among the nation’s leaders in attendance in three of the last four seasons, including ranking 31st with an average of 11,884 fans per game to 17 home games in 2009-10.  The team also ranked fourth in attendance among Big 12 institutions and was second only to Kansas in sellouts with 14.  In addition, the school enjoyed the nation’s largest average attendance increase with nearly 3,000 more fans per game.  Three of the top-5 single-season attendance averages have come in the last four years.
   
Diaz, Gipson Sign with K-State for 2011-12
Head coach Frank Martin announced the signing of high school standouts Adrian Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Thomas Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas) to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 14.  Both players are listed on the Rivals150 by Rivals.com with the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Gipson listed at No. 142 and the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Diaz checking in at No. 145.  An emerging post prospect, Diaz is a senior at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in Hialeah, Fla.  As a junior, he averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Trojans.  Rated as the 13th-best prospect in the state of Texas by TexasHoops.com, Gipson is a senior at Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill.  As a junior, he led in scoring (16 ppg.) and rebounding (7.2 rpg.) en route to helping the Longhorns to a 28-4 record and a trip to the 2010 Class 5A Tournament.  He was a TABC first team Class 5A All-State selection and was co-MVP of District 7-5A.  He helped Cedar Hill to the 2009 Class 5A state final as a sophomore where he averaged 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.  He was named first team All-Area by the Dallas Morning News and was the District 7-5A Sophomore of the Year.