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Beasley powers Kansas State past Western Illinois

Nov 18, 2007 - 4:23 AM MANHATTAN, Kansas (Ticker) -- Michael Beasley finally looked like a freshman - for all of 20 minutes.

Beasley scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half and grabbed 22 rebounds to lift No. 24 Kansas State to a 77-64 victory over pesky Western Illinois on Saturday night.

"We stunk. Optimum word being we," Wildcats coach Frank Martin said. "We've got to get better. It's plain and simple. It's three games into this thing, there's 27 more to play. We've got a lot of time to continue to improve, continue to get better."

Few players in the country have been better than the 6-10 Beasley, who entered averaging 31 points and 19 rebounds in his first two games but was limited to just five first-half points.

Bill Walker, last season's freshman sensation whose first year was cut short by injury, filled the void with 13 points as the Wildcats took a 31-27 lead into the intermission.

"Obviously we are really young," K-State senior guard Clent Stewart said. "We are not playing together or getting the feel of the game together, it's just not there yet. You can tell the offense is stagnant.

"As we continue to play together and learn off of each other and feed off each other then I think our shots will start to fall."

Beasley took over after the break, hitting back-to-back jumpers to push Kansas State's lead to 39-30 just 2 1/2 minutes into the second half. He finished 10-of-16 from the floor, including 8-of-9 in the final 20 minutes.

David Nurse responded by hitting a pair of 3-pointers as the Leathernecks (1-2) whittled the deficit to 44-42, but Beasley hit four free throws to ignite an 11-0 spurt and give K-State a 55-42 advantage with 9:18 left.

Western Illinois twice cut the deficit to seven points, but Beasley answered with a tip-in and a jumper to get the lead back into double digits at 65-54 with 5:17 left.

The Wildcats finally broke it open on Blake Young's 3-pointer and the second of two jumpers by Jacob Pullen that made it 72-59 with 1:35 to go.

"I wouldn't say we weren't focused," Young said. "We didn't execute, but that's not all that goes into not being focused. We missed a lot of shots. We are young like Coach said. Sometimes it's like that, we just have to keep working hard at it and it will come eventually."

Walker finished with 14 points and Pullen 10 for Kansas State, which shot just 4-of-22 from the arc and 15-of-27 from the free-throw line.

David Jackson led four players in double figures with 12 points for the Leathernecks.

    --- --- -----
    WESTRN ILLINOIS 27 37 64
    KANSAS ST (24) 31 46 77 FINAL

    Nov 17 9:09 PM


    Nov 17 7:50 PM