Feb. 23, 2008
WACO, Texas (AP) - Michael Beasley and Bill Walker are going to need some help if Kansas State is going to win its first Big 12 championship.
The sensational high-scoring freshmen can't beat teams on their own.
Beasley set a Big 12 record with 44 points and Walker scored 31 on Saturday night, and yet the Wildcats lost their fourth straight road game, 92-86 to Baylor.
And the Bears didn't even mind watching what their coach Scott Drew called the best "two-man performance" he's ever seen.
"It's not difficult," said Kevin Rogers, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor. "The final score shows that two people can't be a team. We came out and played as a team."
Curtis Jerrells scored 24 points, including some clutch baskets in the go-ahead spurt, to lead five players with double-figure scoring as Baylor (18-8, 6-6 Big 12) ended a four-game losing streak.
Beasley and Walker, the first Kansas State duo with 30 points in same game, didn't get that kind of help. Only four other Wildcats scored, none with more than five points and two with only a free throw.
"We felt like we had the game. We had some breakdowns on defense," Walker said. "Those guys shoot the ball pretty good and made some tough shots, and it's game over. We just made it a point to go out there and assert ourselves."
Despite consecutive losses that will almost certainly drop them out of the national rankings Monday, the Wildcats (18-8, 8-4) still have a shot at winning the Big 12 title.
"That doesn't change who we are or how we've got to play, or what our mindset has to be to win," Beasley said. "We've got the top two teams on our schedule so we control our own destiny."
K-State plays Monday night at home against league-leading Texas (23-4, 10-2) and next weekend at fourth-ranked Kansas (24-3, 9-3). The Jayhawks are coming off a loss Saturday at Oklahoma State, and in January lost to Kansas State for the first time in 20 games.
"We're not going to forget all the good things we've done to this point," coach Frank Martin said. "We're a good team."
Beasley's two free throws with 1:56 left gave him 44 points, one more than the conference record, and made it 87-85. But he didn't score again and Kansas State couldn't get closer.
It was the third 40-point game of the season for Beasley, the Big 12 leader in scoring and rebounding who made 14-of-25 shots. He also had 13 rebounds, his 23rd double-double to break Carmelo Anthony's NCAA freshman record.
Kansas State had a 66-65 lead left when Beasley made two free throws after being fouled inside. The Wildcats were even at 69 when Blake Young hit a 3-pointer with 10 minutes left, but never regained the lead.
Baylor responded with a 16-7 run, including two 3-pointers by Jerrells with the shot clock running down.
On both 3s, Jerrells listened to the students counting down the expiring shot clock before taking his shot, the second one making it 85-76 with 3:41 left. In between the 3s, Jerrells missed a running jumper with the shot clock at 1 second, but grabbed his own rebound and went right back in uncontested for a score.
After Beasley's last points, Jerrells drove again with the shot clock running down. He missed, but was fouled and made both free throws.
Walker missed a couple of 3-pointers after that, and Beasley took only one more shot - a desperate 3 in the last frantic seconds.
Beasley had 28 points by halftime, matching his own Big 12 record for points in a half. He had 28 points in the second half of a lopsided victory over Winston-Salem State in December.
Kevin Durant had the previous scoring record for a half with 26 against Baylor in January 2007. The previous game record of 43 points was shared by Missouri's Clarence Gilbert against Iowa State in January 2001 and Texas' Reggie Freeman against Fresno State in December 1996.
Walker had 12 by halftime, when the Wildcats led 44-38.
"Going into halftime, those two guys were beating us by themselves," Jerrells said. "It takes a team. ... We outplayed them as a team."
About the only thing Jerrells struggled with was trying to guard Beasley, an assignment he asked for after halftime.
"They started just throwing the ball up as high as they could and he would just go get it at the peak," said Jerrells, the 6-foot-1 guard who is nine inches shorter than Beasley. "As you could see, we kind of went away from that."
Nobody else could stop Beasley either, but obviously that didn't matter.