By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528) -- Manhattan, Kansas. Television: FSN-KC. Home Record: Savannah St. 1-3, Kansas St. 8-1. Away Record: Savannah St. 0-11, Kansas St. 2-0. Neutral Record: Savannah St. 1-0, Kansas St. 1-2. Conference Record: Savannah St. 0-0, Kansas St. 0-0. Series Record: Kansas State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The always fiery Frank Martin leads his Kansas State Wildcats into battle tonight against the Savannah State Tigers, a non-conference opponent.
Savannah State, a member of the MEAC, has already played 16 games this season. Unfortunately for the Tigers, just two of their contests have resulted in victories, and they are 0-11 in true road games. They were most recently in action last Thursday when they dropped a 64-54 decision to Southern Mississippi.
Kansas State continued to play without the suspended Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly on Friday when it cruised past North Florida by a 100-76 final. That 100-point total was the highest of the season for the Wildcats, who are now 11-3 overall. They carry an 8-1 home record into this evening's affair, which will serve as the final tune-up before Saturday's Big 12 Conference opener against Oklahoma State.
The Wildcats have won both of their previous meetings with Savannah State, the most recent of which took place in 2008.
The Tigers are a strong defensive team, and it is surprising that they have managed just two wins thus far when considering the fact that they are holding opponents to 60.9 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting from the floor. Obviously, their problems have come at the offensive end where they are managing a mere 54.4 ppg on 37.9 percent field goal efficiency. There are three double-digit scorers in the fold for Savannah State, and Jovonni Shuler leads the way with 16.9 ppg despite his 36.8 percent shooting. Preston Blackmon adds 12.4 ppg, and Joshua Montgomery pitches in 10.5 ppg. Shuler scored 19 points for the Tigers in the 10-point loss to Southern Miss last time out, and Montgomery added 17 points. Unfortunately for Savannah State, it shot only 34 percent from the field and suffered a 38-28 rebounding disadvantage.
It is unclear when Pullen or Kelly will return to the lineup for Kansas State, but the team did just fine without them against North Florida. The Wildcats shot 57.4 percent from the floor, including 10-of-17 from three-point range, and they earned a staggering 42-15 rebounding advantage as well. Jamar Samuels came through with 26 points in the triumph, as he shot 11-of-15 from the field. Wally Judge added 22 points and nine rebounds for K-State, which got 12 points apiece from Juevol Myles and Victory Ojeleye off the bench. Pullen is a standout guard who averaged 16.5 ppg in the 11 games that he has played. His return is reportedly imminent, while Kelly (10.3 ppg) may be out longer. Rodney McGruder is the leading active scorer for the Wildcats with 11.2 ppg, and the team is generating 74.6 ppg while allowing 63.2 ppg.
Obviously, K-State will cruise to victory in this contest, as Savannah State won't be able to score nearly enough points to keep things close. Expect this one to be decided by intermission.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 85, Savannah State 55
01/03 10:32:44 ET
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