Wildcats, Rattlers tangle Monday at Sprint Center

game information

Kansas State (6-3) vs. Florida A&M (3-6)

K-State Holiday Classic presented by Subway

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tipoff: 7:07 p.m. CT

Location: Kansas City, Mo.

Arena: Sprint Center (2007)

Capacity: 18,500

Series: Kansas State leads 1-0

(W, 93-48, on 11/27/90, at home)

Television: FSN Midwest

Ben Boyle (play-by-play)

Stan Weber (analyst)

Doug Stanton (producer)

Satellite Channels: DirecTV 648; Dish Network 449

Radio: K-State Sports Network;

Powercat Passport Internet Audio;

Yahoo! Internet Radio, Sirius Satellite 121

Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play)

Matt Walters (analyst)

Tickets: Priced at $25 and available by calling the Ticketmaster outlet at 816.931.3330 or online at Ticketmaster.com.

kansas state wildcats

Record: 6-3 (0-0 Big 12)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): nr/nr

Coach: Frank Martin

Alma Mater: Florida International, ‘93

Career Record: 6-3/1

School Record: 6-3/1

vs. Florida A&M: First meeting

‘06-07 Record: 23-12 (10-6 Big 12)

Last game: Dec. 9, 2007

defeated California, 82-75

SID: Tom Gilbert

Website: www.kstatesports.com

florida a&m rattlers

Record: 3-6 (0-1 MEAC)

Ranking (AP/Coaches): nr/nr

Coach: Eugene Harris

Alma Mater: Florida State, ‘79

Career Record: 3-6/1

School Record: 3-6/1

vs. Kansas State: First meeting

‘06-07 Record: 21-14 (12-6 MEAC)

Last game: Dec. 15, 2007

defeated North Florida, 61-57

SID: Ronnie Johnson

Website: www.thefamurattlers.com

projected starters

Kansas State (6-3)

G - #2 Blake Young (8.8 ppg., 3.8 rpg.)

G - #5 Clent Stewart (6.3 ppg., 3.0 apg.)

G - #31 Chris Merriewether (0.6 ppg., 0.8 rpg.)

F - #12 Bill Walker (14.0 ppg., 6.7 rpg.)

F - #30 Michael Beasley (25.0 ppg., 14.3 rpg.)

Florida A&M (3-6)

G - #2 Jermonte Bush (4.0 ppg., 0.7 apg.)

G - #11 Leslie Robinson (10.7 ppg., 2.9 rpg.)

G - #24 Joe Ballard (4.4 ppg., 2.8 rpg.)

F - #21 Oliver Prince (11.0 ppg., 7.4 rpg.)

F - #32 Larry Jackson (7.1 ppg., 4.7 rpg.)

game preview

Kansas State (6-3) looks to continue to build on its win over California on Monday, as the Wildcats face Florida A&M (3-6) in the inaugural K-State Holiday Classic presented by Subway at the new Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., at 7 p.m. It will be the team’s first game since taking an eight-day break for semester exams.

It will be the team’s first visit to the arena that serves as the host site for the 2008 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and first regular-season neutral site game in Kansas City since playing in the BMA Holiday Classic at Kemper Arena in Dec. 28-29, 1991. K-State last played in the city during the 2005 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, where the squad upset Texas A&M, 68-62, in the first round before losing to Kansas, 80-67, in the quarterfinals. The school’s last regular season game in the city came against UMKC on Dec. 30, 2003.

Monday’s contest will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Midwest (DirecTV 648, Dish Network 449) 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 fourth 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 coming off their most impressive win of the season, as the squad knocked off previously unbeaten California, 82-75, on Dec. 9. The teams fought through 14 ties and 14 lead changes before senior guard Blake Young hit a 3-pointer with 2:19 remaining to give Kansas State the lead for good. Freshman forward Bill Walker, who registered a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds, hit 5-of-6 free throws (the team went 8-of-11) down the stretch to secure the win.

Walker, who set or tied career-highs in nine categories, led K-State in scoring for the first time this season with a team-high 30 points on 7-of-22 shooting with 10 rebounds and a career-high four steals. He also went 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. Rookie forward Michael Beasley collected his ninth straight double-double with 19 points and team-high 11 rebounds, while seniors Clent Stewart and Jacob Pullen added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The team is averaging 77.4 points on 42.3 percent shooting with 43.8 rebounds, 16.3 assists, 8.0 steals and 4.1 blocks per game, while holding their foes to 71.4 points on 41.5 percent shooting. Three players are averaging in double figures led by Michael Beasley, who ranks fifth nationally in scoring at 25.0 points per game.

After earning their first preseason ranking since 1975, Kansas State dropped out of The Associated Press Top 25 on Dec. 3 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.

Beasley, who paces the nation in rebounding at 14.3 per game, is shooting 57.5 percent from the field, including 38.1 percent from 3-point range to go with 1.6 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals in 32.2 minutes per game. He has registered a double-double in every game this season and has posted 30 or more points in four of nine games. Beasley leads the team in 10 categories, including scoring, field goals (88), free throws (41), rebounds, blocks and minutes.

On Nov. 17, Beasley 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 Bill Walker (14.0 ppg.) and Jacob Pullen (11.9 ppg.). Walker, who posted his second career double-double against California, is second in scoring and rebounding (6.7 rpg.) and has now scored in double figures in 10 of 13 career games, including six of seven games this season. 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 assists (3.3 apg.) and steals (1.6 spg.) and is third in scoring. He has scored in double figures in seven games.

ticket information
Tickets are available for Monday’s game and are priced at $25. They are available at all Ticketmaster outlets by calling 816.931.3330 or online at Ticketmaster.com. The game is considered K-State's home contest and is included in the season-ticket package for fans, excluding students whose season ticket does not contain games played during the semester break. Students are able to purchase

tickets at a special price of $10 through the Athletics Ticket Office.

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 1,392-1,015 (.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 Oregon (1,400), Tennessee (1,399), Michigan State (1,398), Illinois State (1,397), Ohio State (1,397) and Southern Illinois (1,389).

non-conference success

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 34 of its last 45 games against non-conference foes, including a remarkable 28-2 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.

‘cats good inside the arc
Kansas State has proven to be better inside the 3-point arc this year, converting on 50.6 percent (203-of-405) of its 2-point field goals. The team has connected on 50 percent or better from inside the arc in five of nine 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 (60.6; 80-of-132), freshman guard Jacob Pullen (54.5, 24-of-44) and junior forward Andre Gilbert (55.5; 15-of-27).

‘cats solid in december

Kansas State is 431-222 (.660) all-time in the month of December, including wins in 26 of its last 34 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. The win over California gave K-State nine straight wins at home in the month dating back to a win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30, 2005.

the book on florida a&m (3-6)

Florida A&M enters Monday’s contest with a 3-6 record after posting a 61-57 win over North Florida at home on Saturday afternoon. Senior guard L.C. Robinson paced all scorers with 18 points, while junior guard Joe Ballard added 14 points. The win snapped a three-game losing streak, which included setbacks to Connecticut (93-54), Bethune-Cookman (62-46) and Florida (91-52).

Florida A&M is averaging 60.7 points on 40 percent shooting, including 29.3 percent from 3-point range, with 32.3 rebounds, 11.9 assists, 7.2 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. The team is holding opponents to 78.4 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting from the field. Junior forward Oliver Prince paces the squad in both scoring (11.0 ppg.) and rebounding (7.4 rpg.), while senior guard L.C. Robinson and senior forward Akini Akini average 10.7 and 9.9 points, respectively.

Florida A&M is one of at least eight teams K-State has or will face that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006-07, where the Rattlers lost to Niagara, 77-69, in the opening round game in Dayton, Ohio on March 13. The team compiled a 21-14 record and finished second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings with a 12-6 mark before winning three games to capture the league tournament. The squad returns two starters and eight lettermen.

The team is led by first-year coach Eugene Harris, who was hired on Sept. 20 after the resignation of longtime coach Mike Gillispie. Harris has spent 23 years as an assistant coach throughout the southeast including stints at South Alabama (1983-84), Clemson (1984-94), Auburn (1994-2001) and Alabama (2005-06).

Like Frank Martin, Harris played and coached in the state of Florida. He was a three-year starter for Hugh Durham at Florida State and was co-captain of a Seminole squad that won the 1978 Metro Conference crown. He also coached in the Florida high school ranks before moving to college basketball, spending two seasons (1982-84) at Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Fla.

series vs. florida a&m

This will mark the second all-time meeting between Kansas State and Florida A&M on the hardwood and the first in a neutral-site venue. The Wildcats posted a 93-48 win over the Rattlers on Nov. 27, 1990 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.

The squad has a 14-0 overall record against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It will be the first of two consecutive games against squads from the league, as Kansas State plays host to Winston-Salem State on Saturday, Dec. 22 at Bramlage Coliseum. The team has played at least one Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school in four of the last five seasons, including twice last season. The Wildcats beat Coppin State, 68-57, on Nov. 25 at home before posting a 79-58 home win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 19.

k-state has rich history in kansas city

Kansas City has been an integral part of the history of the Kansas State program, playing host to the Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament for nearly 40 years from 1943 to 1979 and to 27 Big Eight/12 Postseason Conference Tournaments between 1977 and 2007. The city has also served as the host for eight of the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament games, including the 1948 and 1964 Final Fours.

The Wildcats are 97-68 (.588) all-time in Kansas City, which spans three different arenas -- Municipal Auditorium, Kemper Arena and now the Sprint Center. The team has played games in the city dating back 64 years since K-State lost to Kansas, 62-44, in the Kansas City Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29, 1943. The squad played at least one game in the city for 59 straight seasons from 1943-44 to 2001-02.

about the sprint center

The brand-new Sprint Center is the cornerstone of more than $4.5 billion revitalization of downtown Kansas City. The 18,500-seat arena will play host to numerous sporting events, including the 2008 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s First and Second Rounds and 2010 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regional Finals and Semifinals.

It will mark just the sixth basketball game played in the arena since its opening in October, following the four games in the CBE Classic on Nov. 19-20 and the Kansas-Ohio contest held this past Saturday.

newcomers a big part of success

One of the nation’s top recruiting classes has been a big success so far for Kansas State, as the newcomers have posted over 60 percent of the Wildcats’ points (438) and blocks (24) and over 50 percent of the rebounds (222), steals (38) and assists (71). Most of these have come from freshman phenom Michael Beasley, who owns over 34 percent of the team’s points (225) and rebounds (129). In all, three of the top-5 scorers and two of the top-3 rebounders are either freshmen or first-year players in the program. If you include redshirt freshman Bill Walker, who played just six games last year, the totals increase to almost 80 percent of the points (536) and blocks (30) and almost 70 percent of the rebounds (269) and steals (52).

walker named big 12 rookie of the week

Freshman forward Bill Walker earned Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors on Dec. 10 after averaging 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in games against Notre Dame and California.

Walker is the second Kansas State player to earn Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors this season after fellow freshman Michael Beasley was honored on Nov. 19. He is the 11th overall player in school history to earn the accolade since the inception of the league.

For the week, Walker averaged 22.0 points on 39.4 percent shooting (13-of-33), including 33.3 percent (2-of-6), with 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals, 1.0 assist and 1.0 block in 34.0 minutes per game. He also connected on 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the free throw line.

Walker played arguably his best game as a Wildcat in the team’s 82-75 win over previously unbeaten California on Dec. 9, as he set or tied career-highs in nine categories. He posted a career-high 30 points on 7-of-22 field goals, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, with a

career-tying 10 rebounds, a career-high four steals and two assists in 35 minutes of action. Walker also set career-highs for field goals (7), field goal attempts (22), 3-point field goals (2), 3-point field goal attempts (5), free throws (14) and free throw attempts (16). It was just his second career double-double and his first since the Rider game on Nov. 25 at the Old Spice Classic.

The performance followed a solid outing against Notre Dame on Dec. 4, as he tallied 14 points against the Fighting Irish on 6-of-11 field goals with six rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 33 minutes. He scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half on 5-of-8 shooting in playing all 20 minutes.

walker back to full strength

The former high school All-American is finally healthy after playing in just six games as a true freshman in 2006-07 before going down with a season-ending ACL injury at Texas A&M in the first Big 12 contest.

Walker paces the squad in steals (2.0 spg.) and free throw percentage (76.2) and is second to Michael Beasley in scoring (14.0 ppg.) and rebounding (6.7 rpg.). He has now scored in double figures in 10 of his 13 career games, including six of seven games this season.

After battling through a variety injuries to start the season, Walker has now played in four straight games for the Wildcats, including a career-high 35 minutes of action against California on Dec. 9. In that span, he is averaging 15.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.8 assists and 1.0 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game. He set or tied career-highs in nine categories against the Golden Bears with 30 points on 7-of-22 field goals with 10 rebounds, two assists and four steals.

Walker missed the opener against Sacramento State on Nov. 9 with a severely jammed thumb on his shooting hand and was held to just 16 minutes against Pittsburg State on Nov. 11 due to a calf cramp. He played his first complete game of the season in the win over Western Illinois on Nov. 17. He scored a season-high 14 points against the Leathernecks with eight rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes.

He hyperextended his knee in practice on Nov. 23 and did not play against UCF that night. However, he came back with full force two days later to post his first career double-double against Rider on Nov. 25 with 14 points and a new career-high 10 rebounds. He continued his impressive play against Notre Dame with a season-tying 14 points on 6-of-11 field goals with six rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

30-30-30-30

At the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 22-25, Beasley recorded back-to-back 30-point games for the second time this season with 30 points each against George Mason on Nov. 22 and UCF on Nov. 23. His four 30-point game this season already ties four other players for the fourth-most in a single-season in Kansas State history, joining Dick Knostman (1952-53), Willie Murrell (1963-64), Chuckie Williams (twice, 1974-75 and 1975-76) and Askia Jones (1993-94). He trails leaders Bob Boozer (7, 1958-59) and Norris Coleman (7, 1985-86) and third-place Mitch Richmond (6, 1987-88) for the most in a single-season. He already ties Murrell for the ninth-most in a career with four, while Boozer is all-time leader with 10 from 1956-59.

double-double

Michael Beasley will look to become just the sixth player in school history and the first since Gene Williams in 1968-69 to average a double-double for a single-season. Beasley is currently averaging 25.8 points and 14.8 rebounds per game through eight games with eight consecutive double-doubles. He would join Bob Boozer (1956-59), Jack Parr (1955-58), Larry Comley (1960-61), Willie Murrell (1962-64) and Gene Williams (1968-69) to average a double-double for a season. Remarkably, Boozer and Parr averaged a double-double in three consecutive seasons, while Murrell accomplished it back-to-back seasons. At his current pace, Beasley could also top the school single-season scoring and rebounding averages held by Bob Boozer (25.6 ppg. in 1958-59) and Jack Parr (14.5 rpg. in 1956-57).

better in the second half

Michael Beasley tends to get better as the game goes on, averaging 14.4 points on 64.1 percent shooting to go with 6.0 rebounds per game in the second half this season. He has scored in double figures in seven of nine second halves this season, including 23 points against Western Illinois (11/17) and 24 against George Mason (11/22). He had a double-double just in the second half against WIU with 12 rebounds to go with 23 points. In contrast, he is averaging 10.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting with 7.8 rebounds per game in the first half. He has scored in double figures in just four first halves this season, but he did have a double-double (16 points and 17 rebounds) in his first collegiate half against Sacramento State on Nov. 9.

historic beginning

Michael Beasley had a memorable first game as a Wildcat, he set three school records as well as two Big 12 marks in helping Kansas State to a season-opening victory over Sacramento State on Nov. 9. He posted 32 points on 12-of-20 field goals with 24 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals in 31 minutes.

Beasley is just the third player in school history to top 30 points and 20 rebounds in a single-game and the first since Bob Boozer (36 points, 23 rebounds) did it against Colorado in 1957. The 32 points were the most points by a freshman in a debut in both Kansas State and Big 12 history, while the 24 rebounds were the most by a freshman in a single-game and the third-most by a Wildcat in school history. The 24 rebounds also eclipsed the all-class Big 12 record of 23 held by Kevin Durant (2006) and Nick Collison (2003).

On Nov. 11, Beasley became just the third player in school history (and first freshman) to tally 30 points in back-to-back games in a win over Pittsburg State. He tallied 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting with 14 rebounds, three assists and one steal in 29 minutes. He is the first player to top 30 points in consecutive games since Askia Jones did it against Colorado (32) and Oklahoma (31) in January 1994.

beasley earns big 12 honors again

Freshman forward Michael Beasley earned Big 12 weekly honors for the second straight week on Nov. 19, as he was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week after posting his second career 20-point/20-rebound effort in the 77-64 win over Western Illinois.

Beasley became the first player in Big 12 history to collect two 20-point/20-rebound performances in a single season with his 28-point, 22-rebounds effort against Western Illinois. In the first 11 years of Big 12 competition, only nine players had posted 20-point/20-rebound games in their career and none had ever done it more than once in their respective careers. He is just the second player in school history to accomplish the feat twice in a season and the first since Jack Parr did it twice during the 1955-56 season.

After a slow start against WIU, Beasley came on strong in the second half with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting with 12 rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block in 17 minutes. The owner of the Big 12 all-class record for rebounds (24) and third-most rebounds in school history, his 22 rebounds tie four other individuals for the ninth-most.

On Nov. 12, he was named the first Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week as well as the National Player of the Week by ESPN.com,

Rivals.com and Collegehoops.net after averaging 31.0 points and 19.0 rebounds in guiding the Wildcats to a pair of wins to open the season. He was named Dick Vitale’s Diaper Dandy of the Week.

iron man

A team mainstay the past three seasons, senior guard Clent Stewart has become a guiding force for a young squad. He has been a steady force during a crucial stretch in the last three games, averaging 8.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists against the likes of Oregon, Notre Dame and California. He topped double-digits for the first time this season with 10 points against the Ducks then topped his previous season-high with 11 in the win over the Golden Bears.

Stewart continues to move up the career charts in three categories (assists, minutes played and games started), in this, his last season at K-State. With two assists against Oregon on Nov. 29, he broke his second-place tie with Tyrone Adams (1979-82) for career assists with 318. With 325 assists, Stewart now trails just leader Steve Henson (582, 1987-90) on the all-time list.

He moved up to sixth in career minutes played with 2,643, passing former teammate Lance Harris (2,618; 2003-07) with a season-high 34 minutes against California. At his current pace, he should finish in the top-3 behind only Steve Henson (4,474; 1987-90) and Askia Jones (3,547; 1990-94). In addition, he moved into a tie for 10th-place on the all-time games started list with Matt Seibrandt (74; 2001-03) with his start against California. He is also just 14 games away from breaking into the top-10 for career games played (99).

young comes through in clutch

Senior Blake Young came through a pair of big 3-point field goals in the second half of the win over California. After missing his first field goal attempt, Young hit his first trey with 3:06 remaining to give the Wildcats’ a two-point lead then followed less than a minute later to break a 69-all tie and give the team the lead for good with 2:19 left. He finished the game with eight points on 2-of-3 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 35 minutes.

Young, who ranks fourth on the team in both scoring (8.8 ppg.) and rebounding (3.8 rpg.), has elevated his play in the last three games against Oregon, Notre Dame and California. He has averaged 9.3 points on 50 percent shooting, including 41.7 percent from 3-point range, with 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 35.7 minutes.

He is one of just two players (Michael Beasley) to start all nine games this season. He also has the longest active game streak on the team with 44 consecutive games played dating back to last season.

pullen shines at the point

Michael Beasley is not the only true freshman to shine so far this season, as rookie Jacob Pullen has played well in the point guard spot. The Maywood, Ill., native paces the squad in assists (3.3 apg.), is second in 3-point field goals (11) and steals (1.6 spg.), third in scoring (11.9 ppg.) and fourth in minutes played (25.8 mpg.).

He has scored in double figures in seven of the team’s first nine games, including tying his career-high with 19 points in back-to-back wins over UCF and Rider at the Old Spice Classic. He combined to go 6-of-14 from 3-point range in those victories, including a season-high four treys against the Knights. He has also been stellar from the free throw line, going 18-of-23 (78.3 percent) at the Old Spice Classic to rank second on the team at 70.3 percent for the season.

He opened the season with 18 points against Sacramento State in his first collegian game on 7-of-11 shooting to go with a team-high five assists and two steals. He made it double figures in two of his first three games, scoring 10 points against Western Illinois on Nov. 17.

Pullen is the third freshman to start the season at the point since 2003, following Dez Willingham (2003) and Clent Stewart (2004).

gilbert not just one-game wonder

Junior college transfer Andre Gilbert broke out against Rider on Nov. 25 and even outshined fellow newcomer Michael Beasley. The transfer from Mount San Jacinto College in California, nearly doubled his season total for points against the Broncs with a team-high 22 points on 7-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, with five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in 28 minutes of action. Gilbert followed this performance with yet another stellar effort against Oregon (11/29), posting 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting with four rebounds and four assists in a season-high 32 minutes. He averaged 19.0 points on 52.0 percent shooting, including 50.0 percent from beyond the arc, with 4.5 rebounds in those two games.

Gilbert came into the Rider game with a total of 13 points in the first five games with a previous high of seven against Pitt State on Nov. 11. The 22 points broke his previous high of 17 against Manhattan on Dec. 20, 2005 when he was redshirt freshman at South Dakota State.

anderson a monster on boards

Another true freshman making an immediate impact for the Wildcats is Ron Anderson, who ranks first on the team in field goal percentage (58.1) and third in rebounding (6.1 rpg.). A late addition to the squad in August, he had a solid tournament at the Old Spice Classic, 7.0 points on 75 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds in 20.7 minutes. He nearly posted his first double-double against UCF on Nov. 23 with season-high 11 points and eight rebounds to go with three assists after turning in six points and nine rebounds against George Mason. The rookie has registered eight or more rebounds in four games this year, including a career-high 12 against Pitt State on Nov. 11.

k-state earns first preseason ranking since ‘75

Kansas State received its first preseason ranking in 32 seasons on Nov. 2, as The Associated Press placed the Wildcats at No. 25 in its annual preseason Top 25 poll. K-State has not been ranked in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 since opening the 1975-76 season with a No. 14 ranking. It also marks the first time that the Wildcats have been ranked in the poll in more than 14 years since checking in at No. 23 on Feb. 13, 1993.

“For a program like us, with incredible tradition and success, being ranked again is always a great thing and it reflects the hard work of the players and that they are getting noticed by people out there," said coach Frank Martin. "Will it have an influence on how we play or how good we are? Probably not. But it is an honor to have a program not ranked for 14 years to all of sudden by there again."

Overall, the ranking marks the sixth time in school history that the Wildcats have started a season ranked in the preseason Top 25 since The Associated Press started its poll in 1949. The squad started the 1961-62 and 1964-65 seasons at No. 8, the 1965-66 season at No. 10, the 1972-73 season at No. 17 and the 1975-76 season at No. 14.

The preseason ranking is not the first garnered this season, as the teams has been ranked 11th by Rivals.com, 14th by Slam magazine and 17th by The Sporting News. The team has also been ranked 26th by CBS Sports.com and Dick Vitale and 32nd by FoxSports.com.

K-State was the top vote-getter among teams receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll with 94 points, just 17 short of 111 received by No. 25 Villanova.

season tickets sold out... again

K-State scored its first victory of the season Nov. 1 before ever playing a game when it was announced that men’s basketball season tickets are sold out in Bramlage Coliseum. The sellout announcement marked the second consecutive year that all season-ticket packages have been purchased. Last season was the first time in the history of Bramlage Coliseum that K-State games were sold out on a season-ticket basis. Prior to then, the previous sellout was 1982-83 when the Wildcats played in Ahearn Field House.

viva las vegas

Kansas State has been selected to participate in a regular-season tournament in Las Vegas for the second time in three seasons in 2008 when the Wildcats will join traditional powers Kentucky, Iowa and West Virginia in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. The squad will face two teams at home in mid-November (Delaware State, SE Missouri State, Longwood and/or Oakland) before making the trek to Las Vegas and playing two games at the Orleans Arena.

The Wildcats captured the 2007 Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic by beating Kennesaw State (82-54) and Maryland-Eastern Shore (79-58) at home before defeating USC (68-55) and New Mexico (72-56) in Las Vegas. It was the first tournament title since 1995.

k-state chosen fourth in big 12 preseason poll

The Kansas State men’s basketball team was given its highest-ever ranking in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll on Oct. 11, as the

Wildcats were chosen fourth with 91 points.

Boosted by the return of seven lettermen and one of the nation’s top recruiting classes, the Wildcats received their highest ranking in 10 preseason polls dating back to the 1997-98 season. The previous high came in 2006-07 when K-State was selected fifth, while the

previous high to last season came back in 1998-99 when the team was chosen sixth.

For the eighth time in Big 12 history, Kansas is the preseason favorite to win the conference title as the Jayhawks gained 120 total points and received 10 of the possible 12 first-place votes.

Texas was picked second in the poll with 105 points, as the Longhorns received four more points more than third-place Texas A&M, which received the other two first-place vote and 101 points. Missouri and Oklahoma followed K-State in a tie for fifth with 66 points each.

Oklahoma State edged Texas Tech for seventh place with 61 points, while the Red Raiders followed in eighth place with 60 points. Baylor (55) and Nebraska (29) were picked ninth and 10th, respectively, while Iowa State (22) and Colorado (16) rounded out the poll.

beasley named preseason big 12 frosh of the year

Freshman forward Michael Beasley was selected as the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year in a vote of the league coaches, as the conference office announced its annual preseason honors Oct. 9.

The league also announced that Texas’ D.J. Augustin was named the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and Missouri’s DeMarre Carroll was selected as the Preseason Newcomer of the Year. In addition to these superlatives, Augustin was joined on the Preseason All-Big 12 squad by Kansas’ Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush, Baylor’s Curtis Jerrells, Nebraska’s Aleks Maric and Texas A&M’s Joseph Jones.

Beasley and freshman Bill Walker were named to the honorable mention preseason team, along with Baylor’s Aaron Bruce,

Colorado’s Richard Roby, Kansas’ Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Dove, Texas A&M’s Josh Carter and DeAndre Jordan and Texas Tech’s Martin Zeno.

The honor is one of many earned by the 6-foot-10, 235-pound former No. 1 high school player in the country this preseason. Beasley has been selected as a Diaper Dandy by Dick Vitale, a second team preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated and a third team All-American by Collegehoops.net, while he garnered Preseason Freshman All-America distinction from Athlon’s College Basketball Yearbook. In addition, he was named to the preseason All-Big 12 team by both Athlon’s and The Sporting News.


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