‘CATS ENJOYING LIFE ON THE ROAD

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Seven games, six wins … that's away from home for Kansas State in Bramlage Coliseum. It's the first time that the Wildcats have posted a winning Big 12 record in road games, and the first time since the 1988 Big 8 season that the ‘Cats have been on the plus side of .500 in conference action.

Frank Martin has gone as far in past seasons, and even earlier this year, to say that it's "nearly impossible" to win games on the road in the Big 12 Conference.

Guess what?

This year's Wildcat team is accomplishing the "nearly impossible" with six wins in seven starts after Tuesday's 83-64 whipping of Texas Tech in Lubbock.

At 6-0, only Kansas has a better road record than K-State, and if you look at the other 10 teams heading into Wednesday's action … Martin's right … it has been nearly impossible to win away from home as those clubs are a collective 15-45.

"All the good teams win on the road," said

Texas Tech coach Pat Knight of the Wildcats. "It just proves they are a very good team. You have to have good leadership and be mentally tough to do that. They've won in tough places on the road. Of course they're talented, but a lot of talented teams still don't win on the road."

K-State is 4-2 at home and 6-1 on the road. Those roadies have been at Colorado, No. 24 Baylor, Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The lone loss was at Missouri to open Big 12 play. The Wildcats' final road game will be at Kansas.

The Bramlage wins have been over No. 1 Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado and Nebraska. The losses were to No. 2 Kansas and Oklahoma State. Home dates remaining on the KSU schedule are with Missouri and Iowa State.

To those records, Martin says, ‘We focus on one game at a time whether it's at home or on the road. We try to focus only on the things we have to do to go win that next game." No more, no less, he says, with the exception of emphasizing to maintain a special focus between the lines of the court. Martin agrees that being mentally tough is a huge factor, as well as the experience of this team.

In the starting lineup are a pair of 23-year-old seniors in Denis Clemente and Luis Colon, plus a 23-year-old junior in Dominique Sutton, a 22-year-old junior in Curtis Kelly, plus three-year starter Jacob Pullen.

"We're starting some grown men," said Martin. "That experience has a lot to do with it. It's one reason why from day-one that I had a faith in this basketball team. We had guys who have been around, understand what it takes, and have been through the growing pains. They have shown a willingness to work and to win together."

And, they have shown the quality of, as Martin says, " … a self-discipline to understand you have to stay focused for 40 minutes. You can't allow a mistake, or a good play, to change your focus or emotion, or the other team will make you pay."

Overall, Martin concludes, "This is a special group of kids … a special group of kids. They're driven, they're focused and it's fun to coach them. With that said, we still have three games to play and a lot of work to do."

KANSAS STATE HOME/ROAD COMPARISONS
BRAMLAGE ROAD

RECORD 4-2 6-1

SCORING AVERAGE 77.6 79.1

DEFENSIVE AVERAGE 69.8 70.2

3s PER GAME 6.0 7.8

REBOUND MARGIN +4.7 +3.6

• KSU has been out-rebounded once at home and three times on the road.

• KSU has not shot better than 49 percent in home game, and twice shot 38 and 36 percent; KSU has not shot below 41 percent on the road, and twice has been at least 50 percent.

• KSU has shot over 33 percent from 3-point range only once at home; KSU has not shot below 31 percent from long range on the road, and twice has been over 50 percent.


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