February 15, 2008

Beasley motivated to play Tigers again

Led by freshman sensation Michael Beasley, Kansas State will receive the opportunity to avenge one of its two conference losses Saturday when it hosts 14-11 Missouri at Bramlage Coliseum. And at least for Beasley, this time around things are personal. The nation's leading rebounder claims to have been rubbed the wrong way verbally following the Wildcats' Feb. 2 road loss to the Tigers, and he hasn't forgotten some of what was shouted at him by opposing players as the teams walked off the court.



"We lost, but they were talking this and talking that," Beasley said of Missouri. "I don't like that at all. You beat me, OK. But don't tell me. Right after the game, they just talked and talked. I don't like that. That got me a little upset. I think they'll see something on Saturday."



Uh oh.



If recent history holds true, Saturday could be a long day for the Tigers' big men, as trash talk has proven itself to be the spark that ignites Beasley's fuse. Fans will remember an incident during an early-season game with Winston-Salem State in which the phrase "Beasley who" shot out of the mouth of Rams junior Jamal Durham, and motivated the K-State freshman to explode for 28 points in the contest's final 20 minutes.



Talk about famous last words.



But even after dismissing senior guard Stefhon Hannah, its most effective weapon, Missouri is not Winston-Salem State, which is 8-14 on the season. It will certainly take a more concentrated effort to cut a slice of humble pie for the Tigers. After all, they did hold Beasley to just 17 points in the teams' first meeting this year, eight less than the freshman's current season average.



This time the game is in Manhattan, though, and K-State has lost just once inside the loud confines of Bramlage Coliseum this season. So the Wildcats have every reason to believe the outcome of Saturday's contest should be very different than that of the first.



"In this league you have no chance to compete for a championship if you cannot win at home," said K-State coach Frank Martin. "Winning on the road is so difficult. Look at Texas. It goes to Missouri and gets beat. Kansas goes there and (Texas) beats them. Kansas comes here and we beat them. That's life on the road. It's hard. It's not easy and the reason is because the venues are so incredibly difficult to play in."





Missouri (14-11, 4-6 Big 12)

5 p.m.


Kansas State (17-6, 7-2 Big 12)

ESPN Plus













Pregame Notes
Tip: 5:06 p.m. CST
Where: Bramlage Coliseum 12,528
Head Coaches: Frank Martin 1st yr (17-6 overall) … Mike Anderson 2nd yr (32-23) 6th year overall (121-64)
Radio: K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson, Play-by-Play; Stan Weber, analyst

The network distributes its digital-quality audio stream via satellite to over 31 affiliates across the Sunflower State, including local Manhattan affiliates KMAN (1350 AM) and KMKF (101.5 FM). K-State sports can also be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio. The pregame show takes to the airwaves one hour prior to each tipoff.
TV: ESPN Plus
Series: Tied 113-113





























PROJECTED STARTERS



Kansas State 17-6


Pos

#

Name

Yr

Pts/reb

G

5

Clent Stewart (6-4, 190)

Sr

7.7/3.3

G

2

Blake Young (6-2, 195)

Sr

6.4/3.3

G

31

Chris Merriewether(6-4, 195)

So

0.6/1.2

F

12

Bill Walker (6-6, 220)

Fr

16.3/6.6

F

30

Michael Beasley (6-10, 235)

Fr

25.1/12.4



Missouri 14-11


Pos

#

Name

Yr

Pts/reb

G

2

Keon Lawrence (6-2, 175)

So

10.9/3.8

G

4

J.T. Tiller (6-3, 187)

So

7.1/2.0

G

33

Matt Lawrence (6-7, 203)

Jr

8.4/3.0

F

1

DeMarre Carroll (6-8, 225)

Jr

13.2/7.2

F

32

Vaidotas Volkus (6-8, 210)

Fr

2.6/1.8







Since Martin's arrival in Manhattan prior to last season as an assistant coach, the Wildcats have been nothing if not resilient. K-State has lost back-to-back games just three times since the beginning of the 2006-2007 season, and has been even better following losses to Big 12 opponents. Avenging defeat has become a K-State specialty as of late, and the Wildcats are hoping to serve up more of the same dish this weekend.



"If you go back, in the two years we've been here, we've beaten everybody that's beaten us the first time around with the exception of Kansas last year," Martin said. "Our guys care. When somebody taps us, we remember that and circle that day. We try to give them a better shot the next time around."



In order to continue the trend, which Martin is so very proud of, the Wildcats will need to find a way to slow Missouri guard J.T. Tiller, who dropped 20 points on 7 for 13 shooting against K-State just a few weeks ago. Tiller isn't the only problem the Tigers present, however.


Four members of the Missouri backcourt combined to score 41 of Missouri's 77 points during the game in Columbia earlier this month, helping MU shoot better than 43 percent from 3-point rage. Tiger guards Keon Lawrence and (no relation) average a combined 19 points per game this season, but while K-State's perimeter defense will definitely be key in this matchup, strategy and execution are far from the most crucial elements of this contest.



After dropping what many fans expected to be a gimme game at Texas Tech on Wednesday, the frame of mind of a young Wildcat team will be more important than any stat or on-court element. So as cliché as it may sound, Coach Martin's team is doing everything in its power to leave the past in the past, a mission Beasley says he has already completed.



"I was over it as soon as the buzzer sounded," he said of the loss to the Red Raiders. "I don't like to lose at all, but a game like that … they were playing their game and had everything going their way. They had the right calls. It was all going that way. Michael Beasley didn't have any control over it."



One thing the Wildcats' confident big man can do something about is Missouri, however, and judging by his piercing words, Beasley is planning on doing just that come Saturday.



"I'm hungry because they've got a bunch of trash-talkers. A lot of this and that has been said," Beasley said of Missouri Thursday. "I'm going to be up for this game."



There is no change in the status of suspended K-State forward [db]Andre Gilbert for Saturday's game, while injured freshman Dominique Sutton is still listed as day-to-day and will be a game-time decision.


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