Despite getting 30 points from Nuni Omot on just 11 shots, Baylor (18-13, 8-10) fell to Kansas State (20-10, 10-8) 77-67. The Bears will play Texas Tech or West Virginia at 8:00 on Thursday in the Big 12 Quarterfinal. Baylor may need to win that game to go dancing.
Once again, Dean Wade destroyed Baylor. He finished with 17 points on 11 shots. He jumped Baylor’s passes and threw down two big dunks in the first half. Before halftime, Kansas State grabbed two offensive rebounds, and once again, Wade wrecked Baylor by hitting a shot as time expired. His basket gave the Wildcats a 35-25 lead. Part of a 13-2 Kansas State run to end the half that ruined Baylor’s day.
Baylor’s offense wasn’t good enough in the first half. Baylor scored just .83 points per possession (PPP). America’s worst offense averages .87. The Bears hit just 2-of-8 triples. They had 10 turnovers, including four from Omot (though any criticism of that man today would be insanely stupid) and three from Manu Lecomte. Terry Maston attempted just four shots, as Kansas State focused their attention on him.
Jo Lual-Acuil had a scare in the first half. During the first media timeout, he fell off his stool and had to leave the game. Baylor’s starting center returned and made a couple of nice baskets. David Kaye, Baylor’s Assistant Athletic Director for Communications, reported to ESPN that there was a concern about hydration.
Omot started the second half on fire. He hit two big threes, which pulled Baylor within seven.
But things didn’t go well from there. Cartier Diarra drilled a three as time expired. Barry Brown drew a three shot foul with the clock expiring, and the Bears—at 1.44 PPP through the first seven minutes of the half—faced a growing deficit as KSU scored 1.55 PPP. It seemed like Kansas State would shoot worse this time. They didn’t. The Wildcats made threes and hit long 2-point jumpers against the zone.
Omot helped Baylor make one final run. The Bears pulled within eight with eight minutes left. Omot hit two big 3-point shots. That put him 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He finished 6-of-9.
When Baylor got close, Kansas State answered. Barry Brown made big shots and Wade hit a shot just on the right side of a shotclock violation. Kansas State just made too many shots, and outside of Omot, Baylor couldn’t get anything going. The Wildcats made their free throws down the stretch and closed it out.
The Bears did themselves no favors today. They might make the tournament without a win in Kansas City, but that’s dicey. Texas, Oklahoma and Providence have already won. A few more bubble teams will too. Time to grab another win.