Alcorn State (0-6) at (5) Kansas State (7-1)
Monday, December 6th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bramlage Coliseum (13,340) -- Manhattan, Kansas. Television: FSN-KC. Home Record: Alcorn St. 0-0, Kansas St. 5-0. Away Record: Alcorn St. 0-6, Kansas St. 1-0. Neutral Record: Alcorn St. 0-0, Kansas St. 1-1. Conference Record: Alcorn St. 0-0, Kansas St. 0-0. Series Record: First- ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The fifth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats are set for a non- conference mismatch tonight, as they welcome the winless Alcorn State Braves to Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.
Alcorn State has lost all six of its games thus far, the most recent of which was a 100-71 setback to Southern Miss last Wednesday. The fact that all six losses have come by no fewer than 18 points illustrates how badly the Braves have been outplayed, but it should be noted that the schedule has been rather challenging to date. Clearly, the level of competition will decrease significantly once SWAC play begins.
On Friday, Kansas State took on Washington State as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, and the result of that road affair was a hard-fought 63-58 victory. The win was the third in a row for the Wildcats since they suffered their only loss of the season to top-ranked Duke. Frank Martin's team is now 7-1 overall and carries a 5-0 home record into this evening's affair.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Kansas State and Alcorn State on the hardwood.
Alcorn State is only scoring 57.5 ppg on 32.3 percent shooting from the field, and even free throw shooting has been a problem, as the club is knocking down less than 60 percent from the charity stripe. Defensively, the Braves are permitting 89.8 ppg to foes, and they are being outrebounded by over 10 boards per outing. Marquis Baker is netting a team-best 13.8 ppg so far this season, but he is shooting a mere 29.4 percent from the floor. In the lopsided loss to Southern Miss last week, Alcorn State connected on a mere 37.1 percent of its field goal attempts, which included a 2-of-8 effort from three-point range. The Braves turned the ball over 15 times and finished with 15 fewer rebounds than the Golden Eagles. Baker scored 23 points in that affair, but he finished 5-of-18 from the floor, as 13 of his points came from the charity stripe. Michael Starks netted 13 points in defeat, and Jamar Ragland chipped in with 11.
As expected, Jacob Pullen leads Kansas State in scoring with 15.0 ppg, but the standout guard is shooting a lackluster 39.6 percent from the field. Rodney McGruder checks in with 11.8 ppg, and Curtis Kelly adds 11.2 ppg for the Wildcats, who are posting 75.6 ppg while limiting opponents to 63.8 ppg. Strong rebounding has been key to the team's success thus far, as K-State is ripping down 9.8 rpg more than the opposition on average. In the five-point triumph over Washington State three days ago, the Wildcats played tremendous defense in the first half, limiting the Cougars to 29.2 percent field goal efficiency en route to an eight-point lead at intermission. Kansas State struggled offensively after the break, but the team did just enough to escape Pullman victorious. Kelly and McGruder netted 15 points apiece, while Jamar Samuels contributed 12 points and eight boards off the bench. Pullen was held to eight points on 2-of-11 shooting from the floor and he turned the ball over six times. Clearly, he is eager to get back on the court tonight.
Expect a bounce-back effort from Pullen, who played far below his capability in the narrow win over Washington State. This game will be well in hard for the Wildcats by intermission.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 89, Alcorn State 54
12/06 10:31:41 ET