Walker’s breakout game leads Kansas State past California 82-75
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)—Kansas State has been looking for someone to take the load off freshman Michael Beasley.
Bill Walker could be that player.
Walker had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Beasley hit some big shots after a quiet first half, helping Kansas State hold off California 82-75 on Sunday.
Kansas State (6-3) matched a season low, shooting 39 percent, was 4-for-19 from 3-point range, and had 15 turnovers, yet still somehow found a way to win— thanks to Walker and Beasley.
Beasley took just six shots in the first half, but scored 12 of his 19 points in the second, including a three-point play with a minute left that put Kansas State up 76-71. He also had 11 rebounds, his ninth straight double-double.
Walker kept the Wildcats in it early and sealed it late, hitting four foul shots in the final minute and finishing 14-of-16 from the free-throw line.
Cal (6-1) scored the third-most points in school history in beating Jackson State 117-74 its last game, but had a much tougher time against Kansas State’s physical defense. The Bears shot 50 percent, but turned it over 21 times to end their best start in 13 years.
Ryan Anderson led Cal with 24 points and 11 rebounds, though he wasn’t much of a factor most of the second half and missed a couple of shots down the stretch.
After graduating early from high school, Walker joined the Wildcats last December, only to tear his ACL after six games. He had shown signs of getting his explosiveness back this season, scoring 14 points three times, and seemed to have an extra bounce in his step against Cal, blowing past defenders with a quick first dribble, charging to the basket, stepping back for 3-pointers.
Walker wasn’t bad defensively, either, helping to hold Anderson to 3-of-8 shooting in the second half.
The Wildcats needed it after Beasley struggled early.
His first shot, a turnaround jumper just outside the lane, was swatted into the stands by DeVon Hardin. And he didn’t get many touches early. Hardin spent most of the first half on the bench, picking up his second foul five minutes into the game, but Beasley couldn’t take advantage, scoring just seven points in the first half.
The second half started just like the first—Hardin sent his first shot into the stands—but Beasley is as relentless as he is talented and kept fighting for inside position, powering through double and triple teams. The freshman scored on a power move inside early, on a jump-hook right after that, then forced a steal and finished the break on the same play, bringing the crowd to its feet as Kansas State went up 54-46.
Kansas State extended the lead to 60-51, but Cal followed with a 9-0 run capped by Hardin’s jumphook in the lane, setting up a back-and-forth finish.