K-State To Open Season With Northern Colorado

By: K-State Sports Information
By: K-State Sports Information
Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber calls out a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas State won 67-54. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber calls out a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas. Kansas State won 67-54. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

NORTHERN COLORADO (0-0, 0-0 Big Sky) AT KANSAS STATE (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)

Friday, November 8 >> Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) >> Manhattan, Kan.

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INSIDE THE SERIES

Overall: Series Tied at 2-2

vs. Big Sky: K-State leads 15-4 (13-2 at home)

In Manhattan: Tied 1-1 (last meeting: 12/11/1937)

In Greeley: Tied 1-1 (last meeting: 12/10/1935)

Current Streak: K-State, 1

Last Meeting: K-State won 44-42 in Manhattan (12/11/1937)

Weber vs. Hill: First meeting

QUICK HITTERS

· Kansas State officially tips off the 110th season of men’s basketball on Friday night, as the Wildcats play host to Northern Colorado (0-0) in the second game of a doubleheader at Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m.

· The women’s basketball team opens the year with Tennessee State (0-0) at 5:45 p.m. Men’s ticket holder may present their UNC ticket for early admission and sit in general admission seating for the women’s contest.

· Friday’s opener is the first three in a row for the Wildcats at home to start the season, including tilts with Oral Roberts on Nov. 13 and Long Beach State on Nov. 17, before heading to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

· K-State is 85-24 (.780) all-time in season openers dating back to the first season in 1903, including a 73-8 (.901) mark at home.

· The Wildcats have won 10 consecutive season openers since 2003 with their last loss coming to BYU (73-64) on Nov. 23, 2002 at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, the last loss in an opener came at No. 10 Arizona (88-69) on Nov. 16, 1999 in the Preseason NIT.

· Overall, the school has won 19 straight openers at home, including a 20-1 (.952) record at Bramlage Coliseum, with the last setback coming to Southern Miss (74-60) on Nov. 27, 1993.

· Bruce Weber is 14-1 (.933) in his 15-year head coaching career in openers (Southern Illinois and Illinois), including a 14-0 mark in home openers. His last setback in an opener came in his first season (1998-99) at SIU, where he dropped a 65-62 decision at Murray State.

· K-State has won 47 consecutive non-conference games at Bramlage Coliseum dating back to an overtime loss to No. 17 Oregon (80-77) on Nov. 29, 2007. Since the 2006-07 season, the Wildcats are 101-17 (.856) in the building, including a 43-15 vs. Big 12 opponents. The 101 wins are the fourth-most among Big 12 schools, trailing Kansas, OSU and Texas.

· The Wildcats return eight lettermen in 2013-14, including starters Shane Southwell and Will Spradling, from a team that posted a 27-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in league play en route to their first-ever Big 12 Championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

· The 27 wins in 2012-13 were the second-most in school history, while the 14 in league play tied the school record held by the 1958-59 team.

· K-State lost six lettermen (and three starters) from 2012-13, including senior Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder, from the winningest class (101-38) in school history.

RECAPPING THE EXHIBITON SEASON

· Kansas State won its lone exhibition game of the 2013-14 season with a 75-54 win over Division II Pittsburg State. The school is now 55-18 (.753) all-time in exhibition play dating back to 1964, including 43-9 (.827) at home. The Wildcats are 37-9 (.804) at Bramlage Coliseum in exhibition play, including 15 consecutive wins dating back to 2004.

· With the score knotted at 7-all just seven minutes into the game, the Wildcats scored 18 of the next 22 points to take a 16-point lead with 6:31 right before halftime. The team led by as many as 26 points in the second half before the final 21-point win.

· K-State shot 36.4 percent (24-of-66), including 17.4 percent (4-of-23) from 3-point range, and held a 48-46 edge on the glass. The squad knocked down 62.2 percent (23-of-37) from the free throw line and dished out 16 assists to just 11 turnovers. The team also scored 17 points (to just 6 for PSU) on second-chance opportunities, boasted by 14 offensive rebounds.

· The Wildcats took advantage of the Gorillas’ issues at the point guard spot, holding the team to three assists while forcing 20 turnovers. The team converted those 20 miscues into 23 points. Last season, the squad posted 10 or more points off of turnovers in 30 of 35 games, including 20 or more on 10 occasions, with a season-best 34 vs. Lamar on Nov. 12, 2012.

· Five players scored in double figures led by freshman Nigel Johnson, who had a near double-double in 23 minutes with a game-high 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one steal. He went a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line. Junior Nino Williams posted a double-double with 13 points and a team-best 13 rebounds, while freshman Marcus Foster (13), senior Shane Southwell (10) and freshman Wesley Iwundu (10) also scored in double figures for the Wildcats.

· Four freshmen played in the exhibition, scoring 41 of the 75 points, 18 of the 48 rebounds and eight of the 16 assists.

THE OPPONENT: NORTHERN COLORADO (0-0)

· Northern Colorado returns eight lettermen, including all five starters, from a team that posted a 13-18 overall record and fift-place finish in the Big Sky with a 10-10 mark. Despite the sub.-500 mark, the Bears won seven of their last 10 games before falling to regular-season champion Montana (70-56) in the conference tournament semifinals.

· The Bears averaged 70.4 points on 46.3 percent shooting, including 37.7 percent from 3-point range, with 34.1 rebounds, 13.1 assists, 6.7 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. Overall, the team returns 76.4 percent of its scoring (68.2 percent of its 3-pointers), 74.3 percent of its rebounding, 65.7 percent of its assists, 72.9 percent of its steals and 72.7 percent of its minutes played.

· UNC returns five of its top six scorers from 2012-13, including each of its top four, along with its Top 5 rebounders.

· Three players - Tate Unruh (13.5 ppg.), Derrick Barden (13.5 ppg.) and Tevin Svihovec (11.9 ppg.) - averaged in double figures. Unruh also led the Bears in 3-pointers (92) and steals (1.3 spg.), Barden in field goals (163), field goal percentage (54.3) rebounding (8.9 rpg.) and Svihovec (3.2 apg.) in assists. The squad also returns its shot-blocking leader (Connor Osborne, 28).

· Head coach B.J. Hill has a 43-48 overall record in his fourth season at the helm, which includes a 21-win campaign and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010-11. He was a Bears’ assistant coach from 2006-10 (including associate head coach in 2008-10) before assuming the head coaching reins when Tad Boyle took the job at Colorado. Hill was previously an assistant coach at several community colleges, including Independence (1998-99) and Coffeyville (2000-05) Community Colleges in Kansas.

BREAKING DOWN THE SERIES

· Friday’s contest will mark the fifth meeting between K-State and Northern Colorado on the hardwood and the first since 1937.

· Each school has won twice in the series and once each on the other’s home court. The Bears won the first meeting, 40-30, in Greeley on Dec. 9, 1935 and then again by a score of 45-40 in Manhattan on Dec. 10, 1937. The Wildcats won the second game, 30-18, on Dec. 10, 1935 in Greeley then at home on Dec. 11, 1937 by a score of 44-42.

· K-State is 15-4 all-time against Big Sky Conference schools, including a 13-2 mark at home. The last meeting with a member of the Big Sky came in last season’s home opener against North Dakota - a 85-52 Wildcat win on Nov. 9, 2012.

WEBER STELLAR IN OPENERS

· Reigning Big 12 Coach of the Year Bruce Weber has been solid in season opener in his head coaching career, posting a 14-1 (.933) mark in debuts during his stint at Southern Illinois (1999-2003), Illinois (2003-12) and Kansas State.

· Weber is also 14-0 in season openers at home with his only loss in 15 tries coming on the road at Murray State (65-62) in his first season at SIU (1998-99). Weber’s team have won these 14 openers by an average of 20.1 points per game, including a 33-point win (85-52) over North Dakota last season in his K-State debut.

‘CATS PICKED 5TH IN BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL

· For the second consecutive year, Kansas State was selected to finish fifth in the preseason 2013-14 Big 12 Conference coaches’ poll released by the league office on Oct. 10. The Wildcats received 43 points to earn a tie for fifth place with Oklahoma, 13 points behind fourth-place Iowa State (56) and 20 behind third-place Baylor (63).

· Kansas and Oklahoma State tied for first place in voting by the coaches with each team receiving 77 points and five first-place votes. After the top 5, the rest of the poll included seventh-place West Virginia (35), Texas (30), Texas Tech (14) and TCU (12).

FOUR WILDCAT COMPETE INTERNATIONALLY

· Four Wildcats – Thomas Gipson, D.J. Johnson, Will Spradling and Jevon Thomas – competed internationally over the past summer. Johnson played with Reach USA on a cultural exchange trip to the Far East from May 11-26, while Gipson and Thomas competed with the Athletes in Action Tour to Lithuania from August 6-19. Spradling spent seven days with the Global Sports Academy playing five games against various club teams in Belgium and the Netherlands from August 8-16.

· Johnson averaged 8.3 points on 45.8 percent shooting with 8.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game during Reach USA’s six-game tour. He scored in double figures twice, including a tour-high 13 points in a win over Lithuania.

· Gipson and Thomas helped AIA post a 4-1 record during its tour of Lithuania... Thomas averaged 13.6 points on 47.2 percent shooting with 4.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals with three double figure scoring games, including a tour-best 23 points. Gipson averaged 11.4 points on 49 percent shooting with 7.2 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game with three double-digit scoring games, including a tour-high of 19 points.

· Spradling averaged 11 points, three assists and three rebounds in helping Global Sports post a 5-0 record.

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