Sutton Finds His Stroke

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Where has that scoring been? Fans leaving Bramlage Coliseum Wednesday night were asking just that after seeing Dominique Sutton net a career-high 21 points in a 91-87 victory over Nebraska. Included in his collection of baskets were ... not one, not two, but three 3-pointers.

Dominique Sutton admitted that this one … the 91-87 victory over Nebraska Wednesday night … topped any of the other 77 games that he had played in a Kansas State uniform.

Flashing a postgame smile, the 6-foot-5 junior said, "With those 3s … sure, it was my best game."

Sutton from 3? Doesn't sound right, does it?

After-all, Sutton is known for being a defensive stopper. From afar, he was 0-of-4 going into Wednesday night for this season, and had only six makes in 32 casts toward the bucket for his three-year career.

But on this night, "It just felt right. I was into it and shot with confidence. Frank started throwing plays my way, and it got my confidence going. My confidence is sky-high right now." Buy how? Why on this night?

"It was just catch-and-shoot without hesitation," said Sutton. "It felt right in my hand, it felt good off my fingers and my follow through was good … and it went in the basket."

Simple as that from a guy who had averaged only two field goals in his last eight games of 6, 3, 5, 9, 4, 5, 4 and 8 points.

"I can't explain it," Sutton said. "I just play my game. Tonight that was scoring." Sutton had six points at the half, but then scored the Wildcats first seven points of the second half, and later added eight more for his 21-point performance.

A 5.4 point per game scorer in the first 10 Big 12 games on 47 percent shooting and a chilly 58 percent from the foul line, Sutton made 5-of-7 from the field and 8-of-10 from the one-point stripe.

The 21-point effort was a season-high by five points, and tied his KSU-high scored against Wagner in 2008.

The game came after fighting off a virus that caused him to miss practice on Sunday and Monday.

"Maybe I should get sick more often," he quipped.

The Durham, N.C., native, and product of The Patterson School, also controlled nine rebounds, plus had a pair of steals, a blocked shot and an assist.

Known as a defensive stopper, Sutton said of his game, "I was just trying to do what I do best I was penetrating to try to get Jake (Pullen) and Denis (Clemente) shots. When I penetrate, the focus is on me and that leaves the guards wide open for 3s, or Jamar (Samuels) for a dunk. When I penetrate it helps the others."

As a refresher course, Sutton arrived at K-State at mid-term two years ago and immediately became a factor.

"Here's this high school center that gets off the plane, practices and is in a game two days later," said KSU coach Frank Martin. "That first year (2007-2008) was like a blur to him. We didn't really get to coach him to get a feel for the things that he could do, and couldn't do. He played that first season by ear."

Playing 19 games and starting eight, Sutton averaged 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in his rookie half-season.

Last year, Sutton improved his numbers to 7.5 and 5.4.

"He had good games, but other games where his numbers weren't what we wanted to see," said Martin of his 23-year-old junior. "He's older now and has a more mature game."

That maturity has helped the Wildcats to a 21-4 record and No. 7 national ranking heading to Oklahoma on Saturday.


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