Kansas State (5-3) faces one of its most difficult tests of the season on Sunday, as the Wildcats return home to face unbeaten California (6-0) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 1 p.m. It will be the team’s last game before taking a break for semester exams next week.
It will be the first of four straight home contests for the Wildcats, as they are the home team for a neutral site game against Florida A&M in the K-State Holiday Classic presented by Subway at the Sprint Center on Monday, Dec. 17 followed by true home games against Winston-Salem State on Saturday, Dec. 22 and Wagner on Saturday, Dec. 29.
The team has dropped three of its last five, including two in a row, after falling 68-59 to Notre Dame at the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday.
Sunday’s contest will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Midwest (DirecTV 648, Dish Network 444) with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action. The viewing area is restricted to the state of Kansas and the Kansas City area by Big 12 Conference regulations. It will be the third of 10 appearances on the network and one of a school-record 29 televised contests.
The game will also be broadcast on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (Powercat Passport Internet Audio; Yahoo! Internet Radio; Sirius Satellite 153) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Matt Walters (analyst) behind the mikes.
the book on kansas state
The Wildcats are riding a two-game losing streak after dropping a 68-59 decision to Notre Dame on Tuesday at the 13th annual Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden. The loss snapped the team’s six-game winning streak in the month of December dating back to last season and kept the team winless in four visits to the Garden. The squad trailed as much as 11 points to the Fighting Irish before cutting it to 61-59 on a pair of Michael Beasley free throws with 1:47 left. However, a 3-pointer by Kyle McAlarney on the next possession and 4-of-5 free throws by McAlarney down the stretch sealed the victory.
Beasley led K-State in scoring for the seventh time in eight games with a game-high 19 points to go with a team-high 13 rebounds. Freshman Bill Walker tied a season-high with 14 points (including 12 in the second half) on 6-of-11 field goals to go with six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in a season-high 33 minutes. Senior Blake Young scored in double figures for the time since the opener with 11 points.
The team is averaging 76.9 points on 42.6 percent shooting with 44.0 rebounds, 16.8 assists, 7.5 steals and 4.3 blocks per game, while holding their foes to 71.0 points on 40.4 percent shooting. Three players are averaging in double figures led by Michael Beasley, who paces the nation in scoring at 25.8 points per game.
After earning their first preseason ranking since 1975, Kansas State dropped out of The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday after a four-week run. The four-week run in the poll was the longest by the team since the 1981-82 squad also spent four consecutive weeks in the poll from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, 1982. The squad is still receiving votes in both polls (15 in the AP poll and two in the ESPN/USA Today poll).
Beasley, who also paces the nation in rebounding at 14.8 per game, is shooting 57.9 percent from the field, including 40.0 percent from 3-point range to go with 1.5 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals in 32.4 minutes per game. He has registered a double-double in every game this season and has posted 30 or more points in four of eight games. On Nov. 17, he became the first player in Big 12 history to collect two 20-point/20-rebound performances in a single season -- and just the second player in school history and first since Jack Parr did it twice during the 1955-56 season -- after tallying 28 points and 22 rebounds in 32 minutes against Western Illinois.
Beasley is one of three players averaging in double figures for the Wildcats, including fellow freshmen Jacob Pullen (12.1 ppg.) and Bill Walker (11.3 ppg.). Pullen, who tied his career-high with 19 in back-to-back wins against UCF and Rider at the Old Spice Classic, is first in 3-point field goals (11), assists (3.5 apg.) and steals (1.6 spg.) and is second in scoring. He has scored in double figures in six games. Walker, who posted his first double-double against Rider, is third in scoring and rebounding (6.2 rpg.). He has scored in double figures in nine of 12 career games, including five of six games this season.
Season tickets are sold out for the season, however, there will be selected tickets that have unclaimed from the student allotment
available for purchase on an individual-game basis. Less than 50 tickets remain for Sunday’s game, which are priced $20 for the
general admission seating in student sections 19-25 in the arena, and are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum, by calling 1.800.221.CATS or online at www.k-statesports.com.
k-state offers holiday ticket specials
Kansas State is offering three Holiday Ticket Packs with special pricing on two men’s basketball games and one women’s basketball game during this holiday season.
For just $50, fans may purchase four tickets to either the Saturday, Dec. 22 men’s game against Winston-Salem or the Saturday, Dec. 29 men’s contest against Wagner. That’s a savings of $30 from regular pricing for each game. The Holiday Pack tickets are located in general admission seating Sections 19-25 of Bramlage Coliseum. Also, for just $20 fans can purchase four general admission tickets to the women’s Western Illinois game on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Best of all is the Ultimate Holiday Pack. Fans may purchase four tickets to all three games for just $110, a savings of $76.
in search of win 1,400
One of the winningest programs in college basketball history, Kansas State is just nine wins shy of its 1,400th victory. The Wildcats, which ranks 47th all-time in victories in Division I with a 1,391-1,015 (.578) mark could become the fifth Big 12 program to accomplish the feat, following Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri. The squad could be one of seven programs to eclipse the 1,400-win mark this season, joining Tennessee (1,399), Oregon (1,398), Michigan State (1,397), Illinois State (1,396), Ohio State (1,395) and Southern Illinois (1,387).
‘cats good inside the arc
Kansas State has proven to be better inside the 3-point arc this year, converting on 50.6 percent (182-of-360) of its 2-point field goals. The team has connected on 50 percent or better from inside the arc in five of eight games, including a season-high 56 percent (28-of-50) against George Mason (11/22). Three of the Wildcats’ top-5 scorer also prove to better on 2-point baskets, including freshman forward Michael Beasley (60.8; 73-of-120), freshman guard Jacob Pullen (53.8, 21-of-39) and junior forward Andre Gilbert (55.5; 15-of-27).
‘cats solid in december
Kansas State is 430-222 (.660) all-time in the month of December, including wins in 25 of its last 33 games. The loss to Notre Dame ended the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak in the month that dated back to the an 84-83 defeat at Colorado State on Dec. 2, 2006. After that setback, the team rattled off wins against USC (68-55) and New Mexico (72-56) on a neutral floor to win the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 22-23. K-State has won eight in a row at home in December dating back to a win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2005.
Kansas State has posted at least eight non-conference wins in 22 of the last 26 seasons, including each of the last five seasons. The Wildcats have earned a winning record in non-conference play in 35 consecutive seasons dating back to the 1972-73 season with 10 or more victories on 17 occasions. K-State has won 33 of its last 44 games against non-conference foes, including a remarkable 27-2 mark at home. The Wildcats’ loss to Oregon on Nov. 29 was the team’s first to a home non-conference home opponent since 2004.
the book on california (6-0)
California enters Sunday’s contest with a perfect 6-0 record after posting a 117-74 win over Jackson State at home on Wednesday. It was the Bears’ fifth straight win at home this season and their highest point total since putting up 121 vs. U.S. International on Dec. 19, 1990. The team shot 58.2 percent from the field and had four players score in double figures led by sophomores Patrick Christopher and Ryan Anderson, who posted 26 and 23 points, respectively.
One of the top offensive teams in the country, California is averaging 82.5 points on 49.3 percent shooting, including 32.4 percent from 3-point range, with 41.5 rebounds, 16.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. The team is just as formiable on the defensive end, holding opponents to 67.3 points per game on 39.4 percent shooting from the field. The squad returns three starters and seven lettermen from the 2006-07 season, in which, they posted a 16-17 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the Pac-10.
The squad is led by the powerful attack of Ryan Anderson (22.5 ppg) and Patrick Christopher (20.7 ppg.). Anderson, who is one of four Bears averaging in double figures, is shooting 54.8 percent from the field to go with a team-high 10 3-pointers and 9.2 rebounds per game. Sophomore Jerome Randle averages 10.8 points on 54.1 percent shooting, while senior DeVon Hardin adds a double-double with 10.8 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.
The team is led by veteran coach Ben Braun, who owns a 541-373 record in 31 years as head coach and a 208-138 mark in 12 years at California. He has led the Bears to seven postseason appearances, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006.
series vs. california
This will mark the seventh all-time meeting between Kansas State and California on the hardwood, but the first in Manhattan, Kan., and Bramlage Coliseum. The Bears broke a five-game losing streak to Wildcats last season with a 78-48 win at home in Berkeley, Calif.
K-State won five in a row against California between 1951 and 1995. The two teams first met on Dec. 11, 1951, in which, the Wildcats posted a 64-50 win in Berkeley, Calif. Kansas State also earned wins in 1954, 88-75 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., in 1957, 58-44 in Seattle, Wash., in 1958, 68-65 in Berkeley, Calif., and 1995, 65-58 in Oakland, Calif.
Interestingly enough, the games in 1957 and 1958 were between two titans in coaching as the legendary Pete Newell led California and Tex Winter paced the sideline for K-State.
The squad has a 36-22 overall record against teams from the Pacific-10 Conference, including a 17-4 mark at home in those match-ups. It will be the second of two meetings this season with teams from the Pac-10, as the Wildcats dropped an 80-77 overtime decision to No. 17 Oregon at home on Nov. 29.