for this game

Beasley, Kansas State too much for Mayo, USC

Mar 21, 2008 - 4:58 AM OMAHA, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Kansas State's freshmen class and dominant rebounding just overpowered Southern California.

Beasley had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Bill Walker added 22 points as the 11th-seeded Wildcats punished sixth-seeded USC inside for an 80-67 victory in the first round of the Midwest Regional on Thursday.

Kansas State (21-11) outrebounded the Trojans, 44-27, and had 21 on the offensive end.

"Look at the rebounding numbers," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "That's the difference in the game, 44 boards to 27. We had our struggles with rebounding all year long, but the last eight games we outrebounded our opponents. But it didn't happen tonight."

The Wildcats will face third-seeded Wisconsin, which defeated Cal-State Fullerton later in the day, in the second round of the tournament on Saturday.

"Just unbelievable for our guys to be able to beat a team like Southern Cal, a team that I'm telling you I must have watched 15 of their games over the past three days, a team that's just - they're good," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "There's no other way to explain it.

"I told our guys for three days, the outcome of this game wasn't going to change my opinion of our basketball team. We talked about staying the course. The game's played for 40 minutes. And all we wanted to do was continue to play."

In an highly-anticipated matchup between Beasley and USC's O.J. Mayo - two of the premier freshmen in the country - the Wildcats' big man did not play very much in the first half after picking up two quick fouls in the opening 4:15 of the contest.

But Walker picked up the slack for Kansas State, which used a 10-2 run with Beasley on the bench to take a 21-12 lead with 9:50 remaining in the half.

"We just had to keep the production up once Mike got in foul trouble," Walker said. "And that's probably been our problem all year. We haven't produced when Mike goes down. Keep it close and manage the game until he could come back and be a factor."

The redshirt freshman shot 6-of-8 from the floor in the first half, scoring 17 points as Kansas State held a 37-27 lead at the break.

Kansas State led by as many as nine in the second half but USC came back to take its first lead since the first minute of the game after Mayo's three-point play gave the Trojans a 48-47 lead with 13:05 remaining.

However, Beasley and the Wildcats responded, later using a 22-7 run to put the game away, 76-60, with 1:55 remaining. Beasley had the final seven points for Kansas State.

"It's nice to have one win, but it's better to have two or three," Beasley said. "We're happy about this one. We're excited that we brought the first win in 20 years."

Two other freshman scored in double figures for Kansas State as Jacob Pullen had 11 points and five assists and Ron Anderson had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Mayo led the Trojans (21-12) with 20 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the floor and handed out five assists.

Fellow freshman Davon Jefferson added 15 points and Taj Gibson chipped in 10 and nine rebounds, but both players fouled out, while guarding Beasley and the Kansas State front line.

"They're a team that has a chance to go the regional final," Floyd said. "They've got great, great talent. When they rebound like that, they can play with anybody in the country."