The Wildcats' talented freshman duo scored 23 and 18 points, respectively, in Saturday's NCAA tournament second round game, but it wasn't enough for KSU. Wisconsin turned away Kansas State with relative ease, 72-55 to advance to the Midwest regional semifinal in Detroit next Friday.
The key to the Badgers' victory was that outside of Beasley and Walker, the Wildcats' offense was virtually non-existent. Five other Kansas State players combined to score just 14 points.
"Their offense is based on [Walker and Beasley], getting the ball in their hands every possession, so we tried to make other players beat us," Wisconsin guard Michael Flowers said.
Kansas State simply couldn't find the answers to the Wisconsin defense. The Badgers held the Wildcats, the 17th most efficient offense in the country at 1.17 points per possession, to just .90.
"They get you in that slow-down tempo, grind it game and … when you get down four, five, six, seven to them and then they … get an offensive rebound put back, it kind of deflates you," Kansas State head coach Frank Martin said.
Krabbenhoft, who began the game guarding the 6-foot-6 Walker, ended the half guarding the 6-foot-10 Beasley, possibly the toughest pair of defensive assignments any one player can take in one game. The Big Ten first-team all defensive team honoree was up to the task, however.
"No doubt about it, no question," Krabbenhoft said. "Those are the two best guys I've guarded since I've been here … and I'd like to think I've guarded a lot of players in the Big Ten the last few years."
When Beasley did beat the Wisconsin defender tending to him, he rarely found an open path to the basket.
"We sent a message, that there were going to be guys over there to help," Krabbenhoft said. "Michael Beasley might get around one of us, because he's the best player in the country … but there's going to be three or four guys waiting for him."
Beasley started fast, scoring 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting while also grabbing five rebounds.
"(Beasley) hit a couple of tough shots, one happened to fall in his hands, and the other two… but a guy like that, I think he's almost impossible to stop. I think you can just try to hope to contain him.
The Badgers did that in the second half. The freshman's productivity declined, as Beasley scored just six points and turned the ball over twice as Wisconsin's swarming defense seemed to get to him.
"Second half, they was clamping down a little more," Beasley said. "They was double-teaming, triple-teaming ever time I touched the ball, so really couldn't get the shot I wanted."
Said Landry, who spent much of his 24 minutes working to get defensive position in front of Beasley to deny entry passes to the post: "I think in the second half we did great. A guy like him, he's a great player. Just to play against someone like that, it's a great opportunity for everyone."