Beasley Stars as Wildcats Take 4th

The goal was not accomplished - "We're leaving without the trophy," said Kansas State coach Frank Martin - but there was certainly more positives than negatives for the Wildcat basketball team at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.

The Wildcats finished play Sunday with an 82-69 victory over Rider, after opening the tourney with a Thanksgiving night loss to George Mason, 87-77, followed by an overtime victory over Central Florida on Friday, 73-71.

The 2-1 record gave the now 5-1 Wildcats a fourth-place finish.

"We had good moments," Martin said, "but we also played like the freshmen we are at times. We're still definitely a work in progress."

Encouraging was the fact that tournament MVP Michael Beasley had help.

Beasley led the tournament in scoring with 73 points - 30 versus George Mason, 30 versus Central Florida, and 13 against Rider - plus topped the tourney in rebounding with 33.

"He's a tremendous talent," said Kirk Speraw, coach of Central Florida, who saw Beasley drop in 30 with 13 rebounds in a 73-71 Wildcat win in OT. "His instincts to be in the right spot are amazing. He has some of the best hands I've seen."

While Beasley did lead with 30 against the Knights, freshman teammate Jacob Pullen netted four 3-pointers and scored 19 points while yet another freshman in Ron Anderson had 11 points and eight boards.

Sunday, it was Andre Gilbert, a 2.6-point per game scorer and 0-of-6 shooter from long range, who lit the scoreboard for 22, which included four treys.

"He's capable of doing that. It's just a matter of one of our guys making a shot and then the tension of missing goes away," said Martin, who said the makes came within the flow of the KSU offense and were not necessarily designed for Gilbert. "You relax and are able to make some shots."

Pullen scored another 19 in the win, while Bill Walker (14 and 10) and Beasley (13 and 10) both had double-doubles.

K-State played without Walker in the middle game after he hyper extended his right knee on Thursday, and played the entire tournament without David Hoskins, who is still in rehabilitation after an early-November knee surgery.

Add the fact that Clent Stewart missed the majority of the preseason work due to a hamstring injury, and Martin has a better understanding the progress has been slower than hoped.

"When you don't have the complete preseason, it's harder to develop as a basketball team because people are trying to figure out what they're supposed to do," Martin said. "It's one thing when you're doing it on the practice floor, and another when you're on the court with fans. It's hard."

It's going to be really hard for the Wildcats on Thursday, as they will host No. 12-ranked and 5-1 Oregon in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.

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