January 27, 2008

Beasley proves his skill level again

Michael Beasley used to saunter down the tunnel, wagging his tongue one night, thumping his chest another for the video camera at Bramlage Coliseum as the freshman sensation and his teammates headed toward the court prior to tip-off. On Saturday, he cast an emotionless gaze into the camera's lens, then issued a workmanlike 33-point, 15-rebound performance in 22 minutes during a 82-57 pasting by the Wildcats against Iowa State.

Iowa State second-year coach Greg McDermott and sophomore guard Wesley Johnson shook their heads.

"He's a talent. That's stating the obvious," McDermott said. "We had a defense designed for him. There's no stopping him. We were trying to keep it out of his hands. Twenty-one shots in 22 minutes isn't a great job (by Iowa State)."

Beasley, who on Wednesday had 26 of his game-high 29 points during the second half of a 16-point win at Colorado, continues to tote a sizeable lunch pail these days as K-State, 14-4 overall and 4-0 in the Big 12, is off to its best conference start since 1987-88. In two games this week, he averaged 31.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and shot 55.2 percent (21-for-38) from the floor in 25.0 minutes � numbers that likely could earn him his third Big 12 Player of the Week honor this season.

"He's the truth," said Johnson, who led the Cyclones with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. "He's 6-foot-10. Physical. What Kevin (Durant) did last year, he's doing this year."

Just 18 games into his college career, Beasley's record-watch list spans nearly a page of game notes. Against Iowa State, he recorded his 16th double-double, second on the school's all-time list. His seven 30-point games is tied with Bob Boozer (1958-59) and Norris Coleman (1985-86) for the most by a Wildcat in a single-season.

Hounded by early foul trouble against the Buffaloes, Beasley mustered just three points in the first half. He didn't have that problem against the Cyclones, scoring 17 points during 14 minutes in the first half and 16 in just eight minutes in the second. When he converted a three-point play to cap seven-straight points, which gave the Wildcats a 70-41 lead with 10 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, the K-State student section chanted, "Michael-Beasley!"

Truth is, Beasley, who missed five of his first six shot attempts but finished 12-for-21 from the floor, could've scored 40. But he went to the bench after making his final statement and didn't return to the court again.

Amazingly, Beasley wasn't satisfied with his game.

"I was all right," he said. "I was just playing with my team. I couldn't get my shot early on but it came to me. I don't think I put two halves together. I could've done better."

A quiet 33 points and 15 boards? Johnson believed so.

"(Beasley) doesn't show a lot of emotion," he said. "He just goes out there and gets it done. I guess if you made him mad, he'll make it seem like he's putting up those kinds of numbers. When he's out there playing, he's just so smooth."

K-State freshman point guard Jacob Pullen agreed.

"It was quiet," said Pullen, who had 13 points. "We were talking on the bench in the first half and then he scored six points in a row and then he had like 22 points (actually 17) to start the second half. It was real quiet."

Asked about his propensity to score �- and only continue to score, score, score -� against Iowa State despite McDermott's best measures defensively to keep him away from the ball, Beasley shrugged, "It's not me, It's Coach."

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