Kansas capitalizes on Beasley's early foul trouble to rout Wildcats

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas finally discovered an effective strategy against Michael Beasley.

Get the super freshman in early foul trouble, frantically build a big lead while all he can do is watch, and then hold on for dear life.

Once Beasley got rolling Saturday night, he scorched the Jayhawks for 39 points and 11 rebounds, tying for the fourth-most points any opponent ever scored in 53-year-old Allen Fieldhouse. But Brandon Rush had 21 points and Sherron Collins added 18 and the Jayhawks (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) cruised past Kansas State 88-74 Saturday night, avenging an earlier loss and forging a first-place tie with Texas in the Big 12.

"It was a quiet 39 if you ask me," said Kansas guard Russell Robinson, who contributed 14 points, five assists and stellar defense. "He's a real great player. He finds his way to make baskets. We got them into quick foul trouble early and kind of got them out of sync. We didn't give them anything easy."

The victory avenged a Jan. 30 loss at Kansas State which snapped Kansas' 24-year winning streak in the Wildcats' home town and touched off a wild scene as K-State fans stormed the court.

Egged on by a sellout crowd, the Jayhawks got their revenge.

"The crowd was great," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "That makes such a big difference."

The Jayhawks (26-3, 11-3 Big 12), are tied with No. 5 Texas, which lost earlier Saturday at Texas Tech.

"Everything was good today," said Self, whose Jayhawks will be going for their fourth straight conference title. "Texas getting beat didn't hurt our feelings much."

Beasley, a top contender for national player of the year, had two points and two fouls in the opening minutes as the Wildcats (18-10, 8-6) lost their fourth in a row.

But after sitting on the bench for several minutes and watching Kansas construct a big lead, Beasley almost singlehandedly led his team back. Hitting from both inside and outside, the 6-foot-10 freshman had 11 points in a 17-6 run that turned a 32-11 Kansas bulge into a 38-28 lead with 1:11 to go in a slam-bang first half.

But after taking a 41-29 halftime lead, the Jayhawks opened the second half with an 11-0 run. Darnell Jackson got four points and Rush brought the big, loud crowd to its feet by rattling home a 3-pointer in a quick run that Kansas State never recovered from. The Wildcats missed their first six shots after intermission.

"That's what broke our backs," said Kansas State coach Frank Martin. "We had cut it to nine at one point in the first half, and then they pop it back up to 12 and we were still fine with that. But the second half starts and we give up six offensive rebounds in the first minute-and-a-half. If that's the way you start a second half when you're down, it's hard to get back in the game."

Beasley extended his NCAA freshman record with his 25th double-double and tied the Big 12 record held by former Jayhawk Drew Gooden.

"They came out and played with a purpose," he said. "We didn't play up to our potential. We laid down. As a whole we just weren't there, energy-wise, intensity-wise. We got out-rebounded the whole game. We just didn't have no will to win. No fight."

Bill Walker, Kansas State's other freshman standout, also was saddled with foul problems and had only nine points.

The Wildcats, who hit a season-high 12 3-pointers while beating Kansas 84-75 on Jan. 30, were only 6 of 21 from beyond the arc. Kansas was 11 of 23 while beating its state rivals for the 36th time in 39 meetings.

"All their 3s were wide-open," said a disgusted Kansas State guard Clent Stewart. "My nephew could sit out there and make wide-open 3s, and he's three years old. You can't do that. You have to contest every shot."

The Jayhawks, in their typically well balanced fashion, also got 10 points apiece from Jackson and Darrell Arthur.

Blake Young had nine for Kansas State while freshman guard Jacob Pullen, who had 20 points against Kansas on Jan. 30, was held to three points and two assists.

As the crowd roared louder and louder in the second half, Beasley put up an air ball and later missed a one-handed slam attempt off an offensive rebound. After Rush connected on a 3-pointer, Collins seemed to remove all doubt when he stole the ball, drove in and scored over Beasley for a 69-49 lead with 8:44 left.

"They played with a chip on their shoulders," said Beasley. "They played with a vengeance. They just came out and played relentlessly."