In a game that saw both teams make prolonged runs, No. 16/15 Kansas State defeated Baylor, 66-60, in Manhattan Saturday night. With the win, the Wildcats (22-7, 12-4 Big 12) remain tied with Texas Tech atop the Big 12 conference standings, one game ahead of the University of Kansas. The loss drops Baylor (19-10, 10-6) to fourth place, a game behind the Jayhawks and two behind K-State and Texas Tech, with two league games remaining on the season schedule.
The game featured big runs by both teams. After trading early jabs with the Bears and trailing 7-4 at the first media timeout, Kansas State turned up the defensive pressure and rode a 17-0 run to a 21-7 lead. Baylor was scoreless for 6:57 of game time and committed seven turnovers during the K-State run.
Once they broke the run and gathered themselves, however, the Bears made a string of open three-pointers and basket attacks to mount a 9-0 run of their own and get back into the game at 24-18. Missed shots and assorted K-State sloppiness allowed the Bears to pull even closer, at 27-23 with two minutes to play in the first half, and a three-pointer by Jared Butler pulled Baylor within two at the half, 32-30. The game, once so neatly under control, appeared in doubt.
In the half, K-State started on a 24-9 run, and Baylor closed on a 21-8 run.
The Bears’ scoring surge did not end at the midway break. They outscored the Wildcats 7-4 in the opening minutes of the second half to jump in front, 37-36 on a bank shot by King McClure with 15:16 to play.
Though the game was briefly tied, at 39-all, Baylor would never lead again. K-State used a 13-0 run from the 13:12 to the 8:48 mark to open up a 53-41 lead. Though the ‘Cats missed enough free throws and Baylor made enough plays to cut K-State’s advantage to three, 63-60, with only 24 seconds to play, two free throws by Kamau Stokes and another from Barry Brown Jr. sealed the game.
Shooting was fairly even, with K-State hitting 21 of 47 attempts for 41.7 percent, including 5 of 17 from three-point range (29.4%), while Baylor made 21 of 44 (44.7%) and 6 of 16 from three (37.5%). The difference in the game came at the free throw line, where the Wildcats made 19 of 30 attempts, while the Bears made only 12 of 20.
Baylor turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 21 K-State points. The Wildcats lost the ball only 10 times, resulting in five Baylor points.
Four Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Dean Wade, who had 20. He also looked healthy and had a solid all-around game (more on that later). Stokes scored 16, Xavier Sneed added 14, and that final free throw pushed Barry’s total up to 10.
Baylor got 13 from Mario Kegler, 11 from Makai Mason and 10 from Jared Butler, who was held scoreless in the second half.
What we Learned
- Dean Wade is good at basketball. Though he has been hampered by injuries each of the past two seasons, Wade has found ways to be productive, whether rebounding, distributing from the high post, or delivering rousing sideline speeches at halftime to reverse the course of pending blowout losses. Tonight, Dean did it all. In the first half, he caught a pass while sprinting down the middle of the lane, jumped up for a two-handed stuff, then appeared to trash-talk the basketball while it bounced around on the baseline. In the second half, he made an array of contested jumpers before turning the corner on a drive from the wing and throwing down an emphatic one-handed tomahawk jam. He had two steals, four rebounds and three blocks, while contesting numerous other Baylor shots. Yes, Dean Wade is good at basketball. Aggressive, active Dean is fantastic at it.
- Balance is nice, but... Though four Wildcats found their way into double figures, starter Makol Mawien and reserve Mike McGuirl scored the only other points for the team Saturday, with two and four, respectively. Depth is an ongoing concern for this squad. Austin Trice played again and seems to be emerging, but in eight minutes of playing time, the only stat he put on the charts was one rebound. Shaun Neal-Williams played six minutes, recording a rebound and two fouls. Cartier Diarra, please heal fast.
- One up, two to play. All three front-runners in the Big 12 race won today, though KU struggled mightily against the woefully short-handed Oklahoma State Cowboys. K-State has a quick turn-around with a Monday night feature on the road against Texas Christian. Though the Horned Frogs have struggled lately—and looked completely out of their element for a long stretch of the first half against the Red Raiders today—they have dangerous athletes on the squad, including crafty point guard Alex Robinson, solid wingman Desmond Bane and rangy forward JD Miller. K-State got by TCU, 65-55, in January. But Kouat Noi, who averages 15.1 points per game, did not play in that match-up. Also, it was in Bramlage. At 18-11 overall and only 6-10 in conference play, the Frogs must make something positive happen in their final two games, or plan on sitting out the NCAA tournament. Expect a focused, motivated opponent to await the Wildcats Monday night.