KSU, 95-59 – FINAL
Finally saw something tangible from Gilbert, who is clearly athletic. Pullen with a steal and a lay-in; before free throws, he has 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Blake Young has 10 points and five rebounds. I never realized it before, but Jake does the Gilbert “Agent Zero” Arenas free throw ritual – he rolls the ball around his mid-section before shooting. He also wears Arenas’ number, 0. And by the way, Franklin finally got his two points on the last bucket of the night.
KSU, 87-57 – 2:01 left
They’re trying to get the walk-on, James Franklin, into the scoring column. Before it happens, though, Frank Martin rips into Franklin and Pullen, who comprise K-State’s current backcourt. Ron Anderson with the garbage points. I’d be shocked if we see Beasley (35 points, 14 rebounds and four assists — all team-highs, not to mention a few blocks and steals) and Walker again, and that makes sense after they’ve combined for 52 points and 19 rebounds. If Hoskins can provide what he averaged last year – 14.5 points and about six rebounds – can you imagine getting at least 60 points and 25 rebounds a night from those three guys? That’s a nice place to start. Let’s just say that Clent Stewart is going to be wide open a lot this season. Jake is going to be a star. He’s a classic point guard, man.
KSU, 77-38 – 7:23 left
“Go! Go! Go!” That’s the biggest difference between this year and the last, besides the addition of No. 30. Frank Martin is imploring the Wildcats to get out and run at all times. With the personnel on the roster, it makes perfect sense. Great sequence – he was kicked in the back of the head and kind of staggered up the court, behind the pack. But when K-State stole the ball, Beasley was, in the vernacular, “cherry-picking,” and he cashed in the easy bucket. Walker just urged the crowd to get into the game – as the Wildcats are up by 36 points. That’s the passion he plays with. Pullen blew by his defender, but he missed the finish. Two more for Beasley, who is currently at 29 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. He’s doing unbelievably ridiculous things right now. Again, no one should be that big and that coordinated. It’s almost not fair. Almost.
KSU, 61-27 – 11:47 left
I really like Ron Anderson’s game. A year with Scott Greenawalt is going to do wonders for him. Nice moves, not much execution just yet. Beasley has 23 and 12 with 14:30 left in regulation. Yeah, he’s good. I think Pullen is going to be great. Not good – GREAT. He just sank a pull-up 3. The crowd is going to love him. I like Gilbert’s athleticism, but I need to see more. Chris Merriewether is a scrapper. I think Luis Colon travels every time he has the ball. I think Blake Young is going to be fun to watch this year. On Anderson, I think the coaches realize they’re going to need his inside presence. He attacked the basket and drew a foul, and Martin and the rest of the staff rushed to greet him as he walked off the floor after a timeout.
KSU, 53-22 – 15:42 left
Walker going to work, nice spin and floater. Beasley with total body control. “Beast-ley,” they’re calling him in the student section. You have to appreciate what Jake Pullen is trying to do, which is attack. He’s aggressive, which is half the battle as a freshman. Walker just misses a circus shot, which frustrates him. He legitimately thought he’d make it, which probably helps explain why he’s as good as he is. Beasley snatches a rebound off Walker’s missed second free throw and is fouled. Anyone who questions if Beasley and Walker can co-exist is missing the point. These two respect each other’s games, and they know they need each other – and Hoskins – in order for this team to be special. They simply want to win. You can tell by how they huddle after a play, discussing motion on a cut or what to expect from a particular defender. Truth be told, the game might be too easy for Beasley, who shouldn’t be that graceful and athletic at 6-foot-9, and it’s starting to look that way for Walker, who explodes into a breakaway dunk. This game is starting to get a little chippy, by the way.
KSU, 38-19 – HALFTIME
FHSU’s Emerick blocked Beasley’s lay-up and he talks a little smack. Now he can say he blocked a (future) NBA player’s shot. OK, I take it back about Walker not being all the way back. Man, oh man. He took off from about two feet outside of the low block and attempted to bang a dunk on Emerick’s head. He missed, but the lift and elevation were there. Hoskins grinned from the bench, shaking in head in delight. In other news, Beasley is rather good. I can’t oversell this. He’s ridiculously good. This time, it’s a turnaround, dumble-pump jumper from just inside the foul line. He’s fouled in the act, and he makes the free throw. Young skies for a follow of a Pullen miss, tipping it home. Beasley learns his lesson, shooting the lame again for an easy steal, and this time he lays the ball in easily. No style points, but it’s still two points.
KSU, 30-19 – 3:37 left in 1st half
Beasley blows a showtime dunk at 5:45, but there is no reaction from Martin. These things happen. Next K-State possession, Beasley has triple-teamed. I’m not kidding. Walker swoops in to the hoop for two. I’m still not certain he’s the Bill Walker of old, but he’s better than the Bill Walker we saw last year for a limited run. Beasley’s D causes his man to travel. Giilbert delivers an entry to Beasley. Martin shouts, “Noooo,” but Beasley spins and goes glass from 12 feet for another bucket. He almost has a double-double already – 10 points and eight rebounds.
KSU, 26-19 – 6:02 left in 1st half
“The Administration” has apparently returned from Ames. The trio of athletic director Tim Weiser (with a spiffy new haircut), president Jon Wefald and Bob Krause – with all due respect, I’m not certain of what he does – is gathered at their usual spots at midcourt. Weiser looks exhausted, and I’m guessing that’s what losing to the Cyclones can do to an AD. Walker gets into it with LaTravis Turner for a loose ball, and the two have to be separated. Walker slaps hands with Turner at the other end, causing the student section to start chanting Walker’s name. Turner gives an incredulous look. Again, I like Anderson’s moves. He’s so fundamentally sound. He just needs more explosion. He knows how to play the game, but his shots keep getting rejected. No such luck with Beasley, who scores again. Young leaks out on a change of possession and throws down a flat-footed dunk, which shows you his hops are back.
KSU, 22-18 – 7:11 left in 1st half
Beasley 3. Charles Robinson answers for FHSU with a driving layup. Frank isn’t happy. He takes a timeout with 10:35 left and lashes into the Wildcats. His face goes from pink to crimson in about five seconds. K-State gets a defensive stop out of the TO. Gilbert at line, hits 1 of 2. Shawn Emerick drives baseline and scores on Colon. Walker checks in for Gilbert with 9:50 left. Beasley helps out on D and gets the block. Beasley swarmed, kicks it out to Walker, who knocks down a 3 for the lead. Nice stroke. Walker ties up Sims, alternate possession goes to Wildcats. He lets out a roar, getting the crowd pumped up. Walker steal. Anderson shows a nice move in the post, but no lift on his shot. Blake Young, after a save and assist from Beasley, connects on a 3. Beasley is going to fill up a stat sheet, folks. He already six points, six rebounds, two assists and at least three blocks. Walker has six points, too.
FHSU, 14-12 – 11:40 left in 1st half
Walker gets hacked on a bull rush to the basket. He makes 1 of 2. Turner is on fire. He hits a 12-footer. Pullen plays the passing lane, pilfers the ball and finds Walker on break for a dunk. Timeout on the floor.
There goes the shutout. Sims knocks down a pair of free throws. Andre Gilbert and Ron Anderson enter the game, but neither will be available for interviews after the game – but I digree. Beasley is off the floor, and rebounding appears to be a concern, especially without Hoskins. Nice sight – Blake Young slashed to the basket and drew a foul. Beasley isn’t on the bench for long. Tyrone Evans connects on a 3, and FHSU is only down 2. Gilbert receives a nice dish from Pullen, but he travels in his haste. LaTravis Turner ties it up, Gilbert misses badly on a 3, and Tim Pentner sinks a 3 of his own. The Tigers are up, 12-9. A guy on the front row says, “This is like last year,” a reference to K-State’s exhibition triple-OT struggle against Washburn.
KSU, 8-0 – 15:46 left
Pullen knocks down a 3, and the crowd is appreciative. Timeout on the court called at 15:46. Guys look tired. Beasley just watched as Jake Sims shot, grabbed his rebound and went back up. Walker came around the key to contest the Sims’ shot, called for the foul in the process. A kid in the student section says, “Play with more intensity,” and I think he’s only half-kidding.
KSU, 5-0 – 5:10 p.m.
As Frank Martin promised, they’re going to play fast. Four shots – all misses – up in the first minute. In halfcourt set, Beasley is on the low block, screaming for the ball. Beasley jumps passing lane, steals the ball, glides length of court for a up-and-under finish, plus the foul. He makes the free throw. Next, he grabs a rebound and dribbles the ball to half-court, getting the Wildcats into their offense. So much for Frank being more mellow as the head coach – he’s up at the 17:30 mark, yelling at Pullen to get the ball into the high post.
I’ll address the football game – which Levi was at – tomorrow morning. I’m at the exhibition against Fort Hays State.
Some quick nuggets:
- Jacob Pullen has shaved off his cornrows. Incidentally, these are the things that fascinate me.
- David Hoskins, Clent Stewart and Darren Kent are not playing tonight. They were dressed impeccably in stylish suits, causing assistant coach Brad Underwood to wonder why the players look better in street clothes than the coaches do. On a serious note, though, Frank Martin said Hoskins (knee) would play tonight if it was an official game. Stewart has a hamstring issue and Kent sprained his ankle against Marquette.
- Also, Fred Brown was suspended for the game due to a violation of team rules. Martin will determine when Brown returns to active status at a later time.
- Associate head coach Dalonte Hill was not at the game. He came down with the flu, which bit Martin earlier in the week.
- The starting five was Pullen, Blake Young, Bill Walker, Mike Beasley and Lou Colon.
- Beasley stroked three-pointers effortlessly in the pre-game warmups, grooving along to the tunes played
by the band. He has plenty of college spirit.
- Apparently, T-Pain is going to be in Manhattan in a couple of weeks for the Missouri football game. Trust me, I’ll explain later with more details.
- Underwood confirmed that the Wildcats will participate in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 28-29, 2008 at Orleans Arena. The rest of the field is Kentucky, Iowa, Delaware State, Southeast Missouri, Longwood, Oakland and, oh yeah, West Virginia. Seems Bob Huggins loves the tournament organizers and committed while he still at K-State, and when he went to Morgantown, he pulled a few strings. “Classic Huggs,” Underwood said Saturday, with a smile.
I’m going to be giving live updates through the game. Check back for more information.