Kansas State: Bruce Weber (Wis.-Milwaukee ’78)
Overall: 416-223/20th season
At K-State: 103-68/6th season
vs. NAU: 0-0
Northern Arizona: Jack Murphy (Arizona ‘96)
Overall: 63-104/6th season
At NAU: Same
vs. Kansas State: 0-0
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Kansas State (3-0)
G: #3 Kamau Stokes
G: #5 Barry Brown, Jr.
G: #20 Xavier Sneed
F: #32 Dean Wade
F: #14 Makol Mawien
Northern Arizona (0-3)
G: #0 Torry Johnson
G: #3 Gino Littles
G/F: #32 Chris Bowling
F: #25 Brooks Debisschop
F: #33 Isaiah Thomas
Overall: First meeting
In Manhattan: First meeting
Last Meeting: n/a
Weber vs. Murphy: First meeting
Kansas State (3-0) concludes the home portion of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational by hosting Big Sky foe Northern Arizona (0-3) at 7 p.m., on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum. The contest concludes a long homestand for the Wildcats, as they have played six consecutive home games (three exhibitions), including the first three regular-season tilts in the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum. The team is in the midst of a playing six games in a 15-day stretch to start the season.
K-State begins the main draw of the Las Vegas Invitational on Thanksgiving Day when they face Pac-12 foe Arizona State (4-0) at 6 p.m. CT, in the second semifinal at the Orleans Arena. The winner will play either George Washington (2-1) or No. 15/17 Xavier (3-0) for tournament title on Friday at 4:30 p.m., CT. It marks the second appearance in the Las Vegas Invitational and the first since 2008.
The Wildcats will face a first-time opponent for the third time in their first four games on Monday, as they welcome Northern Arizona (0-3) to Bramlage Coliseum. The Lumberjacks have lost their first three games of the season with two coming against Pac-12 opponents Arizona (101-67) and Arizona State (97-62). K-State is 17-5 (.773) all-time against Big Sky teams, including 15-3 (.833) at home.
K-State is attempting to start 4-0 for 10th time in the last 15 seasons, including the third consecutive season. The Wildcats have started 3-0 or better 13 times in the last 15 seasons with the exception being the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons when the squad started 2-1. K-State has started 4-0 at home eight times in last nine years, including three straight years. Last season, the team started the season 5-0 (with an 11-2 non-conference mark) before suffering their first loss to No. 23 Maryland.
The Wildcats have won 19 consecutive games against non-conference opponents in home venues (18 at Bramlage Coliseum). Overall, the school has a 92-5 (.948) record at home venues in non-conference play since 2006-07, including 85-5 (.944) at Bramlage Coliseum, and has won 79 of their last 82 non-conference home games.
K-State moved to 3-0 on the season for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons with a 71-49 win over preseason Big West favorite UC Irvine, 71-49, on Friday night. The Wildcats were once again stellar on the defensive end, holding the Anteaters to just 29.6 percent shooting (16-of-54), including 20 percent (4-of-20) from 3-point range, while scoring 21 points off of 17 turnovers. Junior Kamau Stokes became the third different leading scorer, as he led three players in double figures with 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Sophomore Xavier Sneed scored in double figures for the second straight game with 12 points, while reserve guard Cartier Diarra added 10 points.
The Wildcats are allowing a Big 12-best 48.3 points per game through the first three games on 28.8 percent shooting (46-of-160), including 25.3 percent (20-of-79) from 3-point range. The 145 total points allowed through the first three games are the lowest since allowing 133 through the first three games of the 2012-13 season. The team is forcing an average of 17.3 turnovers per game and averaging 21.7 points per game off those turnovers.
NOTES ON NORTHERN ARIZONA
Northern Arizona enters Monday’s game with a 0-3 record after dropping a 97-62 decision at Arizona State on Friday night. The Lumberjacks connected on just 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the field, including 24.1 percent (7-of-29) from 3-point range, while allowing the Sun Devils to hit on 52.2 percent with a pair of 20-point scorers. Reserve Karl Harris scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting with three treys, while sophomore JoJo Anderson added 11 points.
NAU opened the season with a loss at Arizona (67-101) on Nov. 10 before dropping its home opener to Embry-Riddle (70-82) on Nov. 13. The squad was picked 11th (out of 12 teams) in the preseason Big Sky coaches poll with 23 points, while they were 10th in the media preseason poll with 59 points.
The Lumberjacks are averaging 66.3 points per game on 35.6 percent shooting, including 25.4 percent from 3-point range, with 33.7 rebounds, 12.3 assists, 5.3 steals and 2.7 blocks per game, while allowing opponents to average 93.3 points on 52.8 percent shooting, including 39.7 percent from long range. The team is averaging 17.3 turnovers per game.
Sophomore Chris Bowling is the only NAU player to average in double figures at 11.0 points per game on 35.3 percent shooting, including 36.4 percent from 3-point range. Harris is second in scoring at 9.3 points per game, while Anderson (7.7 ppg.), junior Torry Johnson (7.3 ppg.), junior Isaiah Thomas (6.7 ppg.) and senior Gino Littles (6.0 ppg.) are all averaging better than 6.0 points per game. Thomas leads the way in rebounding at 4.7 boards per game.
A former assistant with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets (2006-09) and Memphis (2009-12), Jack Murphy enters his sixth season at Northern Arizona with a 63-104 (.377) overall record. He led the Lumberjacks to a 23-win season in 2014-15, including a runner-up finish in the CIT.
This will be the first meeting between K-State and Northern Arizona on the hardwood.
K-State is 17-5 all-time against teams from the Big Sky Conference, including a 15-3 mark at home. The Wildcats have played Eastern Washington (3-0), Idaho State (1-0), Montana (1-1), Montana State (2-1), North Dakota (2-0), Northern Colorado (2-3), Portland State (1-0), Sacramento State (1-0) and Southern Utah (4-0). The team has won 12 of its last 13 meetings with Big Sky teams with two straight victories.