Cats over Sooners on Senior Day

Cartier Martin saved his best for last. The senior for the Kansas State men's basketball team had the best game of his career in a 72-61 victory over Oklahoma on Senior Day in Bramlage Coliseum.

Martin scored a career-high 30 points in his last regular season game, and also grabbed a team-high six rebounds in 38 minutes. He went 10-for-16 from the field, hit 5-of-8 3-point attempts and made all five of his free throws.

"He had the best game on his night, and there's nothing more you can say," junior David Hoskins said. "30 points? I don't remember a miss."

Hoskins scored 14 points of his own, but he seemed like a side note in a game that was meant for the seniors.

Martin came into the game averaging 20 points in his last 12 games, and he has scored more than that in six of those games. Even with such a high average, he never could get to 30.

That changed against Oklahoma (15-14, 6-10 Big 12 Conference).

"I would say this is probably one of my best games here at K-State." Martin said.

One of?

"I'll say the best game," he said. "A career high, six rebounds and 10-for-16? Hey, it was a good night."

The other four Wildcat graduates didn't disappoint in their final home game either.

Lance Harris scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds and had two steals in front of a sold-out crowd. Akeem Wright had six points, five assists, four rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes.

Jermaine Maybank only had one point, but he did have eight rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes. Serge Afeli played 11 minutes, the most he has played during conference play, and responded with two points and a rebound.

All the seniors were honored before the game, and were greeted by K-State President Jon Wefald, Athletic Director Tim Weiser, their parents and coach Bob Huggins.

"It was a big game that we needed, on a night when we knew we weren't going to play here anymore," Wright said. "Everybody came out with energy in the first half, and that really set the tone. Guys started getting into passing lanes and knocking down shots."

K-State came out pumped up to start the game, but Oklahoma held strong and kept the game close until the there were about seven minutes to play in the first half with the Sooners down 21-18.

That's when the Wildcats blew the game wide open with a 20-4 run to end the opening frame. The run began when Afeli accepted a pass on the baseline and dunked the ball. Then Martin knocked down two-straight shots to get the run going. Harris, Wright, Martin and Afeli all contributed in the big run that gave K-State a 41-22 halftime advantage.

The Sooners took advantage of a Wildcat team that didn't play as hard in the second half. Oklahoma got the lead all the way down to 11 with four minutes to play, but the Sooners never got any closer

Besides a 3-point shot from junior Clent Stewart and a basket by Wright, Martin and Hoskins were the only two Wildcats to score in the second half. They combined for 26 points.

Nate Carter, Oklahoma's leading scorer, had 14 points and seven rebounds in the game. Tony Crocker came off the bench to score 14 before fouling out, and David Godbold had 12 for the Sooners.

K-State shot 53 percent from the field and 58 percent from behind the arc in the game. Oklahoma wasn't able to keep up with the Wildcats, shooting only 44 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point land.

"We definitely went out with a bang for this one," Martin said. "I couldn't ask for anything better. I went out with my career-high and with a win, ultimately. The main thing is we still have games ahead of us so…"

At 21-10 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12, the Wildcats wrapped up a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament. They will play their first game Friday.

No team in Big 12 history has ever reached the 20-10 mark, received a first-round bye in the conference tournament and didn't receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

K-State is on the bubble now, and will need to secure a win in its first game of the tournament in order to be assured of a spot in the "Big Dance".

The Wildcats will await the winner of Thursday's first round matchup between Texas Tech and Colorado.

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