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Baylor Falls to Wichita State 69-62

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NCAA Basketball: Wichita State at Baylor Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State was much better shooting from the perimeter today, and Baylor (5-2) fell to Wichita State (6-1) 69-62. The Bears will play Sam Houston State at 7:00 on Monday at the Ferrell Center.

Down 62-59 with 3:10 remaining, Jake Lindsey drove the lane, made a basket and drew the foul. He nailed the free throw, and Baylor tied the game 62-62.

Unfortunately, Wichita State went down the court on the next possession, and Baylor’s zone failed to rotate onto Conner Frankamp. He made a wide open 3-point shot. Wichita State took the lead, and Baylor didn’t come back.

Baylor started the game well. Tristan Clark collected offensive rebounds and moved well. He finished with six points and nine rebounds. Baylor pushed out to a 17-12 lead. The Shockers would answer.

Wichita State’s 3-point shooting torched the Bears all day. Conner Frankamp hit his first two 3-point shots and finished with 17 points. Landry Shamet didn’t hunt for his shot early, but he also made his first two 3-point looks. The Shockers finished the first half 7-of-11 from deep. They hit their next two 3-point shots too. Wichita State din’t have a ton of space, but they took any opening and had a fantastic shooting day. That ended it 10-of-16 from beyond the arc.

The Bears had some decent looks, but they either failed to make them, or as has often been the problem, they failed to take them. Baylor went over six minutes without a field goal from the end of the first half into the second half.

The Bears are going to have to fire open 3-point shots once the schedule ramps up again at the end of the month. King McClure’s driving is a needed boost, but open 3-point shots are better than trying to beat two Shockers. Jake Lindsey has been excellent defensively, but he has to fire open 3-point looks. He took one near the game, but expect him to start taking more. He hasn’t even attempted 10 3-point shots this season. Baylor missed a lot of open 3-point attempts (they finished 5-of-21 from deep), but they shouldn’t be deterred by missing shots early. They have plenty of good perimeter shooters that can flip that statistic.

Manu Lecomte had a fantastic first half after struggling against Creighton and Xavier. He started 5-of-7 from the field and finished with 15 points. Wichita State tried to corral him, but Lecomte was ready. Lecomte and Clark were the only Bears that hit shots. He didn’t score for the first fifteen minutes of the second half; he made a 3-point shot to bring it to 62-59 with 4:00 left. He couldn’t get open after that.

Tyson Jolly played his first game for Baylor. He’d been out with blood clots.

Mark Vital and Jo-Lual Acuil both played well in the second half. Vital collected offensive rebounds, and finished with five of them. Lual-Acuil had 13 second half points. He helped keep Baylor in the game.

The Bears just couldn’t get enough stops in the second half. Wichita State entered with the No. 6 KenPom offense, and whenever Baylor made a run, the Shockers answered. Baylor rotated between man-to-man and zone. It didn’t make much difference. Shaq Morris was a monster inside, and the Shockers shooters drained shots. They were just too good today.

This loss isn’t shocking or a huge deal for Baylor’s season. A legitimate national title contender came into Waco and beat the Bears. The Shockers could go anywhere in the country and win. But without Terry Maston, the Bears are going to have to stop waiting for the perfect opportunity and seize good ones. That will be essential if the Bears want to return to the Sweet 16.