Wildcats Blast Florida A&M in Sprint Center Debut

By: By JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer
By: By JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer

Kansas State 87, Florida A&M 60

December 17, 2007
AP - Dec 17, 9:55 pm EST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas State coach Frank Martin has been concerned about his team's free throw shooting.

The Wildcats got plenty of practice against Florida A&M.

Michael Beasley had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Kansas State made 21 free throws in the first half to overpower Florida A&M for an easy 87-60 victory Monday night.

Kansas State (7-3) had eight days off after beating California 82-75, and though there was a little rust early -- 11 first-half turnovers -- the Wildcats didn't have much trouble against the undersized Rattlers, opening up a 19-point halftime lead and pushing it to 32 midway through the second half.

Kansas State had a 48-20 advantage in rebounds, held Florida A&M to 37 percent shooting and, somewhat surprisingly for a team that shoots 64 percent from the line, hit 27-of-37 free throws.

Clent Stewart added 13 points and Jacob Pullen 11 in Kansas State's first game at the new Sprint Center, site of the 2008 Big 12 Championship.

Florida A&M (3-7) reached the NCAA Tournament last season, but lost three of its top four scorers, making for a tough start to the season, particularly with a nonconference schedule that includes Connecticut, Florida, Kansas State and Texas A&M.

Size has been the biggest problem.

Florida A&M looked like a high school team against the much-bigger Wildcats, with just one player over 6-foot-6 and a starting lineup that included three 6-foot guards. That presented some tough matchups, so what the Rattlers did was foul -- a lot -- slowing the game to a crawl in the first half.

Akini Akini, Florida A&M's tallest player at 6-foot-10, nearly fouled out in the first half, getting his fourth with 3 minutes left, and the Rattlers had five players with at least two fouls by halftime.

That meant Kansas State spent most of the first half at the line, attempting more free throws than field goals -- 26 to 25 -- scoring 21 of its 47 first-half points one at a time.

Beasley took the brunt of it, going to the line 10 times in the first half and getting 10 of his points from the line.

The 6-foot-10 freshman found a little more freedom in the second half, opening with a jumper, scoring on a three-point play, then adding a chip shot from the lane four minutes in to put Kansas State up 61-35.

Leslie Robinson was the only player in double figures for Florida A&M, finishing with 19 points


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