5/5 KANSAS STATE (24-5, 11-4 Big 12)
vs. Iowa State (14-16, 3-12 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, March 7, 2010
Tipoff: 5:05 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: Big 12 Network/ESPN Full Court (Dave Armstrong, play-by-play; Paul Splittorff, analyst; Doc Carothers, producer) | Channel Directory: Metro Sports (Kansas City), KSNT (Topeka), KSAS (Wichita) | 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 122/XM 143
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 67-29 (.698) in his third season at K-State. Iowa State - Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa '88) is 58-67 (.464) in his fourth season at Iowa State and 279-194 (.590) in his 16th season as a head coach.
Last Time Out: K-State lost at No. 2/2 Kansas, 82-65, on Wednesday, while Iowa State lost at home to Missouri, 69-67, on Tuesday.
Series: K-State leads 133-76 (K-State is 77-23 at home) | Last time: K-State won 79-75 in Ames on Feb. 6, 2010 | Series Trend: K-State has won eight in a row over Iowa State overall and at home | Frank Martin is 5-0 vs. Iowa State, while Greg McDermott is 0-7 vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked No. 5 in AP Top 25 and No. 5 in ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25. Iowa State is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: Sold out.
K-State celebrates Senior Night by hosting Iowa State Saturday
Kansas State (24-5, 11-4 Big 12) concludes the regular season on Saturday night, as the Wildcats bid farewell to three seniors by hosting Iowa State (14-16, 3-12) at Bramlage Coliseum at 5 p.m. CT. The squad will celebrate the accomplishments of Denis Clemente, Luis Colon and Chris Merriewether in a pre-game senior ceremony, as Colon and Merriewether will leave as the winningest senior class in school history. Despite losing a chance at the Big 12 regular season title with the loss to No. 2 Kansas on Wednesday night, K-State still has a great deal to play for against Iowa State. A victory would not only clinch sole possession of second place and the No. 2 seed at next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, but also give the Wildcats a tie two other teams for the most wins in a single-season (25) in school history. This will be the 210th meeting between the two rivals in a series that dates back to 1909 with K-State holding a 133-76 edge all-time, including 77-23 at home. The game will be broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network as well as nationally on ESPN Full Court with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Paul Splittorff (analyst) on the call.
K-State moved further up in the Top 10 on Monday, ranking fifth in both The Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. It marks the school's first AP Top 5 ranking since March 7, 1962 when the Wildcats ranked third, while it is the fifth Top 10 ranking in both polls this season, including the fourth straight week. It is the highest ranking in the Coaches' poll since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1993-94. It marks the first time that the program has ranked among the AP Top 15 for nine consecutive weeks since the 1961-62 squad was ranked among the AP Top 10 for 15 weeks, while the team's current 12-week stay in the AP Top 25 is the longest since the 1972-73 squad was ranked for 16 straight weeks.
The Wildcats are off to their best start in nearly 50 years with their current 24-5 record. The 24 wins tie for the fourth-most in school history and the most since the 1987-88 squad won a school-record 25 en route to the Elite Eight. The team posted their 23rd 20-win season on Feb. 13, becoming the first Wildcat squad to tally 20 or more wins in four consecutive seasons. In addition, Frank Martin became the first head coach in school history to post three 20-win seasons to start a career, while the win over Oklahoma on Feb. 20 gave him the most wins by a head coach in his first three seasons.
K-State saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night, as No. 2/2 Kansas broke open a tight game in the second half to post an 82-65 victory and earn an outright Big 12 title. The backcourt tandem of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, to pace the scoring attack, marking just the fifth time in their respective careers that they have posted 20 or more points in the same contest.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just under 80 points per game (79.8 ppg.) on 45.7 percent shooting (765-of-1674), including 36 percent from 3-point range (194-of-539), with 39.1 rebounds, 14.7 assists, 7.2 steals and 5.0 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in 16 of 29 games (including five 90-point outputs), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on 15 occasions. With 91 points effort against Nebraska on Feb. 17, the Wildcats topped 2,000 points scored for the fourth consecutive season, while the current total of 2,315 points already ties the 1989-90 team for the eighth-most points in a single season. The 79.8 points per game average currently ranks second on the season scoring average chart just behind the school-record mark of 81.4 points averaged during the 1952-53 campaign, while the 76.4 points per game in Big 12 play ranks seventh in school history and the highest since the 2007-08 squad averaged 77.6 points. The team has already posted the fifth-most 3-point field goals made (194) and attempted (539) and are on pace to post at least 200 treys for the fourth straight season. The Wildcats are averaging 35 points (33.7) per game in the paint, while ranking first nationally in free throws made (20.4) and attempted per game (30.9) and free throws attempted (896) and second in free throws (591). The defensive effort has also been solid, holding foes to 68.8 points on 41.6 percent shooting while averaging 20.9 points off of 17.1 turnovers per game. The Wildcats have scored 20 or more points off turnovers in 15 games, including 12 of the last 20 contests, while the 40 points off turnovers against South Dakota on Jan. 3 are the most since the statistic began being kept in 2005-06.
Despite the loss to No. 2 Kansas on Wednesday, the Wildcats still boasts a 24-5 record on the season, which is the best start under Frank Martin and the best in school history since the 1958-59 squad finished at 25-2. The 24 wins tie for the fourth-most in school history with the 1976-77 and 1980-81 squads, while the 24 wins tie the 1958-59 team for the most-ever in the regular season. The school-record of 25 wins has been done three times, including in 1950-51, 1958-59 and 1987-88. The 11 league wins are the most in the Big 12 era and the most since the 1987-88 squad also posted 11 in Big Eight play. The win over Colorado on Feb. 13 gave the team a 20-win season for an unprecedented fourth straight season, while it made Martin the first coach to post 20 wins in each of his first three seasons. It is also the earliest 20-win season in school history.
Named one of the 30 mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 18.6 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in 20-point games (12), 3-point field goals (81), free throws (156), free throw percentage (81.3) and steals (48), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 16 points per game on 39.6 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in field goals (156), assists (117) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (1,003) this year, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 34.6) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game between 1974-76. Earlier this season, Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points, while his current total of 1,330 points in 96 career games ranks eighth all-time, just 34 points shy of Chuckie Williams (1,364; 1972-76) for seventh place. The only player to score in double figures in all 29 games, he needs four treys to become the second player in school history (joining Steve Henson) with at least 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 300 assists and 100 steals in career. Twice named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week this year, Clemente has become of the one of top transfers ever to play at K-State, ranking third on the chart for most points by a transfer (944). He also recently joined Pullen in the school's Top 10 for career 3-pointers (126; seventh) and 3-pointers attempted (358; sixth).
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 11.6 points per game on 57.6 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 27 of 28 games, ranks third on the squad in rebounding at 5.1 per game. He has scored in double figures in 23 of his 28 games played, including his third career double-double against Texas Tech on Feb. 23 with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 36 of Samuels' 37 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve with K-State holding a solid 30-6 record in these contests. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the only other player averaging in double figures at 11.2 points per game. Kelly, who leads the squad with four double-doubles, is shooting a team-best 58 percent from the field and ranks first with 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per contest. He ranks second on the school's single season list with 55 blocks, just four shy of Gerald Eaker's mark of 59 in 1995-96. One of the Big 12's top defenders, junior Dominique Sutton is averaging 7.4 points on 50 percent shooting to go with 5.3 rebounds per game.
Postgame Notes vs. Kansas
--Kansas now leads the all-time series, 178-91, with Kansas State, including 81-35 at home... The Jayhawks are one of just two Big 12 schools to hold an advantage against the Wildcats in the all-time series... It is the eighth-most continuously played rivalry (105) in the nation and the second-longest west of the Mississippi River... Kansas has now won 32 of the 34 meetings in the Big 12 era, including 15 of the last 16 at home.
--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 16th time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 63 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 96... In addition, Sutton, who is second on the team with 70 consecutive games played, has started 46 consecutive games for the Wildcats.
--After posting season lows in five categories in the win over Missouri on Feb. 27, K-State didn't fare too much better against Kansas, scoring just 65 points on 40 percent shooting, including 35.7 percent from 3-point range... The Jayhawks, on the other hand, shot 51 percent from the field and scored 82 points... K-State shot 50 percent in the first half, but managed just 27 points in the second half on 29.2 percent shooting from the field... The Wildcats did hold a 35-28 advantage on the boards, marking the 20th time in 29 games that they have out-rebounded an opponent.
--The backcourt tandem of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, to lead all Wildcats in scoring... It marked just the fifth game of their career together that they have both topped the 20-point barrier in the same game, including the fourth this season and the second against Kansas (Feb. 14, 2009)... It marked the 21st 20-point game for Pullen and the 17th for Clemente in their respective careers... Pullen passed Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) for eighth place on the all-time scoring with 1,330 points, while Clemente moved past Jeremiah Massey (929; 2003-05) into third place in scoring by a transfer with 944 points... He has the most points by a transfer since Richmond.
The Book on Iowa State
Iowa State enters Saturday's game with a 14-16 overall record and a 3-12 mark in Big 12 play after dropping a 69-67 decision in overtime to Missouri at home on Tuesday night. Marcus Denmon's running lay-up with five seconds left in overtime was the game-winner, as the Cyclones lost their second straight game. Five players scored in double figures in the contest, led by double-double efforts by forwards Marquis Gilstrap and Craig Brackins. Gilstrap paced all Cyclones with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Brackins added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Iowa State is averaging nearly 73 points per game (72.1) on the season on 44.3 percent shooting, including 36.7 percent from 3-point range, with 38.3 rebounds, 14.3 assists, 5.2 steals and 5.0 blocks per game. The squad is led by one of the Big 12's top scoring tandems of Brackins and Gilstrap, who combine to average 31.4 points per game. Brackins, a first team All-Big 12 honoree as a sophomore, is averaging a team-best 16.5 points on 41.9 percent shooting, including 32.1 percent from 3-point range, with 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 35.2 minutes per game. Gilstrap, a junior college transfer, is averaging 14.9 points on 44.7 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 9.2 rebounds per contest. Diante Garrett is one of the Big 12's best point guards, averaging 4.9 assists to go with 9.1 points per game. Guard Scott Christopherson is big threat from beyond the arc, averaging 7.5 points on 41.1 percent shooting, while forward Justin Hamilton averages 6.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Iowa State is led by head coach Greg McDermott, who has a 58-67 (.464) record in his fourth season at the helm. He has a 279-194 (.590) in 16th season as a head coach, which includes a stint at his alma mater, Northern Iowa, where he led the Panthers to three NCAA Tournaments.
Series vs. Iowa State
This will be the 210th all-time meeting between Kansas State and Iowa State on the hardwood, including the 29th since the inception of the Big 12, with the Wildcats holding a 133-76 advantage in a series that dates back to 1909. It is the fourth-most played rivalry (209), while the 133 wins are the most against one opponent in school history. The two teams have played at least twice every year since 1918. The team has posted a 77-23 record at home in the series, including a 16-5 mark in Bramlage Coliseum. The series has been very competitive of late with K-State holding a 15-13 edge since the inception of the Big 12. The Wildcats have won eight straight in the series since 2006, including eight straight at Bramlage Coliseum. It is the longest winning streak by K-State since winning eight in a row from 1975-77, while the eight wins in Manhattan are the most since winning 11 straight from 1969-78. Earlier this season, the Wildcats held on for their fourth straight win over the Cyclones at Hilton Coliseum with a 79-75 victory on Feb. 6. Up 75-66 with 59 seconds to go, Iowa State connected on three 3-point field goals in the last 41 seconds to close the gap and missed another as time expired. Senior Denis Clemente led all scorers with 30 points on 9-of-18 field goals, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range, while juniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly added 15 and 12 points, respectively. Junior Craig Brackins had a monster game for the Cyclones with 29 points on 11-of-22 field goals with a game-high 12 rebounds, while fellow forward Marquis Gilstrap had 18 points.
'Cats in March
Kansas State will look to improve its play in the month of March where the Wildcats have posted an all-time mark of 156-153 (.505). After posting its first unbeaten February in more than 30 years, the Wildcats will look to continue that momentum in the most important month of the year for college basketball. The squad has posted an 11-9 record in Big 12 regular season play in the last 11 seasons, including 7-2 mark in the span in home games. The team has won three consecutive Senior Days, including a 76-64 victory over Colorado last season.
Head coach Frank Martin has changed the culture in many ways at Kansas State, including how the Wildcats play on the road. The squad has been one of the most successful teams in the Big 12 when playing on the road this season, posting an 11-3 mark away from Bramlage Coliseum this season, including a 7-2 mark in 'true' road games and a 6-2 mark in Big 12 road contests. The 11 wins away from home are the most by a Big 12 team this season and the most by a K-State team since 1987-88, while the 6-2 mark in Big 12 road games trails just Kansas for the best in the league. The squad, who guaranteed themselves a winning road mark in league play for the first time in the Big 12 era and the first time since the 1987-88 season with the win over Oklahoma on Feb. 20, won six straight road league games for the first time since the 1963-64 season. The six league road wins are the most since the 1975-76. This is nothing new for Frank Martin-coached teams, which have won 13 Big 12 road games since the 2007-08 season, which is just one short (14) of the entire total the school had the Big 12's first 11 seasons from 1996-97 to 2006-07.
Second Half Surge
One of the biggest factors in K-State's seven-game winning streak was its ability to pick up its pace in the second half. The Wildcats averaged 43.7 points in the second half of their seven wins on 53.2 percent shooting (99-of-186), including 50 percent (34-of-68) from 3-point range. This is in stark comparison to the first half, where the team averaged 33.9 points on 39.2 percent shooting (85-of-217), including just 22.9 percent (16-of-70) from beyond the arc, in this same seven-game span. K-State scored at least 40 or more points in the second half in each of these seven games and combined to out-score their foes, 306-241. This comes after holding just a 237-214 edge over these foes at the half. The squad were able to overcome halftime deficits (Iowa State & Nebraska) twice in the span to post wins after starting the year 0-3 when trailing at the half. This trend was reversed in the loss at No. 2 Kansas, as the squad shot 50 percent in the first half compared to a season-low 29.2 percent in the second half. For the year, the team is averaging 42.5 points in the second half on 48.7 percent shooting, including 41.7 percent from 3-point range.
Experience is the Key
One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State this season has been its experience on the floor. The squad boasts a starting line-up (Denis Clemente, Jacob Pullen, Dominique Sutton, Curtis Kelly and Luis Colon) with a combined 491 games of experience, including 333 games as starters. The fivesome has started 16 of the last 17 games this season, while Clemente, Kelly, Pullen and Sutton have started all 29 games. In fact, four of the five starters (Clemente, Colon, Pullen and Sutton) have been in the opening line-up in 30 in the last 31 Big 12 contests.
Most of the experience lies in the backcourt, where Clemente and Pullen have started 61 of the last 63 games for the Wildcats. The tandem has combined to play in 218 games in their respective careers, including 166 combined starts. Pullen has the team's longest active streaks for both games played (96) and starts (63), which both date back to his freshman season. He ranks seventh in school history in consecutive games played, while he is sixth in consecutive starts. He also places seventh in K-State history in career minutes played (2,697), while his 77 starts rank 10th all-time. He trails Steve Henson in both categories, who owns the school record in consecutive games played (127) and consecutive starts (118). Clemente, who played in 61 games with 28 starts in two years at Miami (Fla.) from 2005-07, boasts 122 games of experience to go with 89 starts in his career. There is also plenty of experience in the frontcourt where Colon and Sutton have combined to play in 193 games in the past three seasons. Sutton has played in 70 consecutive games (which ranks second on the team), including starts in 65 of the last 67 games. Colon, who was one of only two players (Pullen) to start in all 34 games a year ago, has seen action in 111 games in his K-State career, including 68 starts. The only starter without experience beyond this season is junior Curtis Kelly, who sat out last season after transferring from UConn.
Experience can also be found on the bench, where regular reserves Chris Merriewether and Jamar Samuels have combined to play in 157 games in their careers. A former walk-on, Merriewether has played in 95 games with five starts, including action in 83 of the last 96 contests. Samuels, who has come off the bench in all but three games in his career, has seen action in 62 of the last 63 games for the Wildcats. Four-year seniors Luis Colon and Chris Merriewether, who have won 90 games in their career, became the outright winningest senior class in school history in the victory over Texas Tech on Feb. 23, breaking a tie they had with Fred Barton (88; 1976-78; 1979-81) on the school's all-time list.
Although known for the guard tandem of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen, Kansas State has shown an ability to have multiple players involved in the scoring output this season. The Wildcats have seen four or more players score in double figures 22 times this season, including five or more double-digit scorers in eight contests. Even though Pullen (29) and Clemente (26) have been the consistent double-digit scoring threats, six other players have registered at least one double figure scoring game this season, including Jamar Samuels (22), Curtis Kelly (20), Dominique Sutton (eight), Rodney McGruder (six), Wally Judge (four) and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (once). The Wildcats own a 19-3 mark in games when four or more players tally double digits, while they are 7-1 when five players are in twin figures. In all, the squad has seen at least seven players score in every game (including five games with 10 or more) this season, including at least four players scoring five or more points in each contest.
Kansas State has shown the ability to be a solid rebounding team, as the Wildcats rank fourth in the Big 12 with an average of 39.1 rebounds per game. The squad is tied for league leader at 15.1 offensive boards per game, while they are fourth in rebounding margin (+5.4). The Wildcats have grabbed 40 or more rebounds 12 times, including in seven of the last 17 games, while they have tallied 20 or more offensive boards four times. The team posted 50 or more rebounds in back-to-back games against Cleveland State and South Dakota for the first time in back-to-back games since the 2007-08 season, while the Wildcats grabbed 50 against the Big 12's top rebounding squad (then No. 1 Texas) on Jan. 18,
including 19 offensive boards which translated into a 23-10 edge in second chance points. The offensive rebound chances have helped the team average over 15 points per game (14.0) in second chance points, including 20 or more second chance points on five occasions this season.
Seizing on its Opportunities
Kansas State has capitalized this season on its opportunities from the free throw line, where the Wildcats rank first nationally with 896 free throws attempted, 20.4 free throws made per game and 30.9 free throws attempted per game. The squad is seven attempts ahead of Morgan State (889) for the lead nationally, while they just ahead of North Texas (20.3) in makes per game and Cal State Northridge (29.5) in attempts per game. The team is tied for second with Northridge in free throws made with 591, trailing leader Morgan State (626), which has played four more contests.
At its current pace, K-State will shatter the 51-year-old school record for free throws made (606; 1958-59), while it broke the mark for free throws attempted (862; 2008-09) for the second straight season with 34 against Missouri on Feb. 27. This is a growing trend for Frank Martin-coached teams, where his previous two squads rank among the top 10 in both single-season free throws (fifth and seventh) and attempts (first and eighth).
The team has connected on 20 or more free throws in 19 of their 29 games, including 15 of the last 22 contests, while they have attempted at least 30 free throws in 17 games. The Wildcats made the most of their opportunities in the win over Nebraska on Feb. 17, converting on a season-high 80 percent (32-of-40) from the stripe, including 14-of-14 in the last five minutes of the game. It marked just the second time this season that the squad has made 30 or more free throws, while it was the sixth time they had at least 40 attempts in a contest. The team set near records for both categories in a win at Colorado on Jan. 16 with 38 makes on 54 attempts. The 38 free throws are the fourth-most in school history (most-ever in a 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 (most-ever in a league game) and the most since the Wildcats set the school mark with 56 against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958.
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 1,845 points off of 1,609 turnovers in 96 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 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 season has been no different with the squad
averaging 20.9 points off of 17.1 opponent mistakes per game. K-State has scored 20+ points off of turnovers 15 times, including 40 against South Dakota, which is the most since the stat began being kept in 2005-06. The team also scored 20 + points off of turnovers against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), WSU (39), UNLV (26), Alabama (22), UAPB (29), Cleveland State (30), Texas A&M (23), Colorado (23 & 26), Nebraska (22 & 29), Oklahoma (23) and Missouri (21). The team has a 41-5 record when scoring 20+ points off turnovers under Martin, including 15-0 this season.
Right Man, Right Time
Senior Denis Clemente seems to play his best basketball against the best competition. He has been the team's leading scorer in conference play, averaging a team-best 17.7 points on 41 percent shooting (89-of-217), including 37.5 percent (42-of-112) from 3-point range, this year. This has included a stretch in the last eight games, in which, he has averaged 19.6 points on 45.7 percent shooting, including 43.5 percent from beyond the arc. In all, he has scored in double figures in 14 of 15 league games, including six 20-point outings. For his career, he has been even better in Big 12 contests, averaging 18.1 points (561) on 41.7 percent shooting (187-of-449), including 39 percent (78-of-200) from 3-point range, in 31 career games. He has scored in double figures in 28 of these conference games, including 10 20-point games. He has led the Wildcats in scoring 16 times in this span. In comparison, he is averaging just 12.8 points in his 30 career non-conference games on 38.1 percent shooting (136-of-357), including 30.4 percent (48-of-158) from beyond the arc. He has scored in double figures 21 times in these games with four 20-point outings. This season, he averaged 14.1 points during non-league play on 37.9 percent shooting, including 29.4 percent from beyond the arc.
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 1,955 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second on the team in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.6 points per game through 29 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 18.6 points per game. The duo ranks as the third-highest scoring backcourt in the Big 12 in both overall (34.6 ppg.) and league-only games (34.9 ppg.), trailing Colorado's Cory Higgins and Alec Burks and Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter. The 34.6-point average is the third-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in both 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and ahead of Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5). They are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 31.7) guard tandem in school history since Evans and Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. Clemente and Pullen has combined to score at least 20 points 55 times in 61 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 38 occasions and 40 or more points 13 times. The duo 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 from the field, including 55.6 percent from 3-point range. The duo has topped 20 or more points in the same contest five times (four times this year), including Kansas twice (Feb. 19, 2009 and March 3, 2010), No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22, 2009 and Washington State on Dec. 5, 2009.
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 against Missouri on Feb. 27, he became just the 10th player in school history to eclipse 1,300 career points and the first since Cartier Martin (1,546; 2003-07) in 2006. His current total of 1,330 points in 96 games ranks eighth all-time on the scoring list, as he passed Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) with his 20 points at Kansas on Wednesday. If he keeps up his current career scoring average (13.7 ppg.), he would finish in the Top 5 just behind Mike Evans (2,115; 1974-78), Rolando Blackman (1,844; 1977-81) and Askia Jones (1,834; 1989-94) with over 1,700 points. 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 second in attempts with 563 and third in makes with 196. He now only trails Askia Jones (624 attempts; 1989-94) in career attempts, while he looks to join Steve Henson (240; 1987-90) and Jones (237) as the only players with 200 or more 3-point field goals in school history. By reaching that milestone, Pullen would join Henson as the only players in school history with at least 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 300 assists and 100 steals in a career. In addition to moving up several scoring charts, Pullen is also ascending the school's record book in numerous other career categories. He ranks second in steals with 142, trailing just all-time leader Steve Henson (190; 1986-90), while he is fourth in assists with 321. He places in the top-10 in four other career categories, including seventh in minutes played (2,697), ninth in both double-digit scoring games (68) and free throws attempted (409) and 10th in field goals attempted (1,032). He could also join the career Top 10 in field goals made and free throws made this season.
Kelly a Key Factor Down Low
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 29 games this season, Kelly is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game on 58 percent shooting to go with team-bests in both rebounds (6.4) and blocks (1.9) per contest. He continued his solid play against Missouri on Feb. 27, recording his fourth double-double (his second in Big 12 play) with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists, three blocks and two steals in 34 minutes of action. The leader in double-doubles, Kelly also performed the feat in consecutive games against Ole Miss (18 points, 10 rebounds) on Nov. 20 and IUPUI (11 points, 11 rebounds) on Nov. 28 and also against Colorado on Feb. 13. He also had a solid effort in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 field goals with eight rebounds and two blocks. He 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. In all, he has scored in double figures 20 times, including in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the team in rebounding 10 times. He has shot over 60 percent in 15 games, including connecting on 81.8 percent (9-of-11) against Loyola Chicago on Nov. 13 with a career-best 22 points. He also paces the squad with 55 blocks, which ranks second on the school's single season chart. The total is four short of the school record of 59 held by Gerald Eaker (1995-96). He has at least two blocks in 14 games, including 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 12 points and five rebounds per outing. Samuels, who is third in scoring at 11.6 points per game, had a breakout game in the win over No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18, posting his second career 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 nation. The 20-point outing was the third of his career (second this year) and just one point off his career-best of 21 scored against Fort Hays State (No. 12 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, while his 12-rebound effort was just the second double-digit rebounding game of his career. He grabbed his third double-double in the win over Texas Tech on Feb. 27 with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. This season, he has scored 10 or more points 22 times with 21 of those coming off the bench, including in 17 of the last 21 games. For his career, 36 of Samuels' 37 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. He is averaging 9.9 points on 55.5 percent (197-of-355) in 59 career games off the bench, including 11.6 points per game on a team-best 57.8 percent shooting (106-of-181) this year. He has been solid since the start of Big 12 play, averaging 11.3 points on a team-best 56.1 percent shooting (60-of-107) and 5.2 rebounds per game. His 60 field goals in Big 12 play trail only Denis Clemente (89) and Jacob Pullen (70) through 15 league games.
Clemente Named Big 12 Player of the Week Again
Senior Denis Clemente was the named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Feb. 22 when he shared the honor with Oklahoma State's James Anderson. He helped run the Wildcats' winning streak to five games with victories over Nebraska (91-87) and Oklahoma (83-68) from Feb 20-23. He averaged 24.0 points on 53.1 percent shooting (17-of-32), including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from 3-point range, in the two wins with 4.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 36.5 minutes per game.
Clemente began the week by scoring a game-tying 21 points in helping the squad sweep the season series from Nebraska for the first time since the 2003-04 season on Feb. 17. He connected on 6-of-14 field goals, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range, with three assists and three steals in 38 minutes. He followed with a game-high 27 points in the Wildcats' second straight win at the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday. He went 11-of-18 from the field, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, with a game-high six assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes. The 11 field goals is a season-high for a player this season, while it marked the fifth time he has had five or more treys in a game.
Clemente, who has three career Big 12 Player of the Week honors, earned his first award this season on Feb. 7 in helping the squads to road wins at Nebraska (76-57) and Iowa State (79-75). He averaged 26.5 points on 50 percent shooting (16-of-32), including 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from 3-point range, in the two wins with 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 36.0 minutes per game. He posted just his second career 30-point game in the Wildcats' fourth straight win at Iowa State on Feb. 6, while it was his highest point total since tying the Big 12 record with 44 against Texas on Jan. 31, 2009. He was also named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week on Feb. 8 for his efforts, marking the second time in his career he has been named a National Player of the Week after he earned the honor from ESPN.com on Feb. 2, 2009.
One of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, Clemente has helped the Wildcats to their highest ranking in the AP poll since 1962 at No. 5 as well as their highest ranking in the Coaches' poll, also at No. 5, since USA Today took over ownership in 1993-94. He is the team's second-leading scorer (and ninth in the Big 12) at 16.0 points per game and has scored in double figures in 26 games. He ranks in the Top 10 in four Big 12 categories, including third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2), fifth in 3-point field goals per game (2.4) and seventh in both assists and minutes played.
Clemente Among Best Transfers
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the career 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28, 2009. Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 944 points his two-year career on 40 percent shooting (323-of-806) from the field, including 35.2 percent (126-of-358) from 3-point range, in 61 games. He broke into the school's top 10 for career points by a transfer with his 23-point effort against Nebraska on Feb. 2, surpassing Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96). He currently ranks third on the list, trailing Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) and Willie Murrell (1,112; 1962-64). He needs 56 points to become just the sixth player in school history to top 1,000 points in a two-year career and the first since Mitch Richmond (1,327 points; 1986-88). He has also cracked the school's Top 10 in 3-point field goals, ranking sixth in attempts (358) and seventh in makes (126).
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. Regularly assigned the opponent's top offensive performer for much of his career, he has established himself as a top-line defender this season. He has been assigned to defend the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford, UNLV's Derrick Jasper, Colorado's Alec Burks, Kansas' Xavier Henry, Iowa State's Marquis Gilstrap and Missouri's Zaire Taylor. Sutton has held his opponents to a collective 39.5 shooting percentage (85-of-215), including a 27.9 percentage (17-of-61) mark from 3-point range, this season. 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 nine turnovers. Crawford had 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 three turnovers. Jasper was held scoreless for the first time in his UNLV career, going 0-of-3. He was also solid on Big 12 Newcomer of the Year candidate Marquis Gilstrap, who was 4-of-16 from the field, including just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, with 18 points in the first meeting on Feb. 6. 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.
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 3.1 points and 3.9 rebounds, has started 16 of the last 17 games, including 15 straight games dating back to the Missouri game on Jan. 9. His biggest impact has been on the defensive end of the court, where he played a huge role in limiting Texas' Dexter Pittman to six points and seven rebounds in the win on Jan. 18. Colon's overall production has picked up in the last seven games, where he is averaging 4.9 points on 39.5 percent shooting to go with 4.4 rebounds per game. He had a big game in the home win over Colorado on Feb. 13, tying a season-high with nine points to go with six rebounds.
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.
Pullen Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Jacob Pullen was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Dec. 14 in an announcement by the league office. Pullen, who helped the Wildcats to wins over Xavier and No. 18/17 UNLV, averaged 22.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting (13-of-27), including 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range, for the week with 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. Pullen began the week by scoring 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half of a 71-56 win over the Musketeers in 24 minutes. He then followed with a season-high 28-point output in a 95-80 win over the nationally-ranked Runnin' Rebels, including a career-best 7-of-10 effort from beyond the arc. The seven 3-point field goals tied eight other players for the fourth-most in school history.
Pullen leads the squad in scoring (18.6 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (29), 20-point games (12), 3-point field goals (81) and attempts (207), free throws made (156) and attempted (192), free throw percentage (81.3) and steals (48). He ranks among the Big 12 leaders in eight categories, including second in 3-point field goals per game (2.8), third in scoring, fourth in steals, eighth in free throw percentage, ninth in 3-point field goal percentage, 10th in both assists and field goal percentage (41.9) and 13th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). His 29 consecutive double-figure games ties for the second-longest streak in school history, while his 68 career double-digit scoring efforts ranks ninth in school history.
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, who entered the season with the second-most wins (43) by head coach in school history, has K-State off to its best start since the 1958-59 season, while the current 24 victories and 11 conference wins are the most in the Big 12 era and most since the 1987-88 season won a school-record 25 games. The team earned their first Top 5 ranking in nearly 50 years on Monday when they rose to No. 5 in each poll. It marks the fifth straight Top 10 ranking this season, including the fourth in both major polls. Martin guided K-State to just third-ever win over a No. 1 team and the first since 1994 with a 71-62 victory over then No. 1 Texas on Jan. 18. The win over No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 24 gave the Wildcats four wins over Top 25 teams for the first time in a regular season. The four wins over Top 25 teams (No. 18/21 Dayton, No. 18/17 UNLV, No. 1/1 Texas and No. 24/RV Baylor) tie Kansas for the most by a Big 12 team this 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 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. He now has the most wins by a head coach in his first three seasons, surpassing Lon Kruger, while the win over Colorado on Feb. 13 made him the first K-State coach to have three 20-win seasons to start a career.