That was not good. Kansas State got down early, never got it closer than three and let a solid defensive effort go to waste because they once again couldn't beat a zone defense. As much momentum as last Saturday's game gave the Wildcats, this game took away
Saturday's line-up changes worked so well against the Sooners that Bruce Weber elected to stick with Justin Edwards and Dean Wade coming off the bench. Whether or not that backfired can be debated, but Wade picked up two fouls in his first 5 minutes of game time and went back to the bench with 13:50 left in the first half. Wade's absence hurt K-State's offense as the Cats struggled to break down Baylor's zone. With those struggles, K-State took over 10 minutes to break into double figures and trailed by 14 at the 8:40 mark of the first half. From there K-State began attacking the weak side and eventually pulled within three at 29-26. That's as close as they would get in the first half as Taurean Prince drained a three followed by Al Freeman hitting one (Freeman hitting threes was a theme throughout this game). Those two three balls sparked Baylor and they pushed their lead to 11 at half 43-32.
The second half wasn't any better with the Cats continuing their ice-cold shooting from deep. They never punished Baylor for their lackadaisical defense. However, Baylor got red-hot from the free throw line, eventually making 29 of 30 from the charity stripe -- good for 96.7%. This allowed the Bears to keep K-State at arm's length the entire second half, and smothered any opportunity for the Wildcats to mount a comeback.
Remember in the game preview when I said the Cats had to shoot the ball with confidence? Well, it doesn't appear they had much as the Wildcats made only TWO of the 14 three point shots they attempted, good for 14.3%. I don't have any solutions as to how to improve the shooting percentage for this team, and I've resigned myself to the fact that this team simply cannot shoot the outside shot. Until that fact changes, this inability will severely limit the Wildcats' ability to win basketball games.
Player Of The Game: DJ Johnson
DJ Johnson worked his tail off all game long. He was easily the best player on the floor for K-State, finishing with 19 points, grabbing five offensive rebounds, while shooting just under 50% from the floor. Johnson has probably been the most consistent player for the Wildcats this season and he may even be the team MVP.
Tigger Of The Game: Carlbe Ervin II
Note: Since HC Bruce Weber noted there are "a lot of Tiggers on this team," we're going to find that player that had an high-flying offensive play, stonewall defensive play, or a notable performance, and call them out here.
Ervin is doing his best at the point but he is more suited to a back-up role. However, tonight he beasted on the glass, doing his best Russell Westbrook impersonation in grabbing seven rebounds. His performance helped contribute to Kansas State beating Baylor on the glass 35-25.
One Big Thought:
It's a Roller Coaster Ride
This season has been one big roller coaster, and given the youth of this team that's not surprising. I believe the best thing we can do as fans is to enjoy the good wins, and remember the team is young and learning during the losses. Times will get better, Wildcat fans.
K-State travels to Stillwater to take on the Pokes at noon Saturday on ESPNews.