With too many turnovers and missed free throws, Baylor (19-10, 10-6) lost to Kansas State (22-7, 12-4) 66-60. Baylor takes on Oklahoma State at 8:00 on Wednesday in the Ferrell Center. That one airs on ESPN2.
Baylor finished 12-of-20 at the line. They missed three front end of 1-and-1 opportunities. They also had 19 turnovers. Baylor has the most efficient offense during Big 12 play, but the Bears made too many costly mistakes in Manhattan.
The middle of both halves proved deadly for Baylor. The Bears fell behind 24-9 in the first half. Kansas State went on a 14-2 run in the middle of the second half. Those two large runs secured a victory for Kansas State.
Kansas State crushed Baylor for a large stretch in the first half. The Bears had seven turnovers in the first eight minutes. They started 2-of-8 from two and attempted just two 3-point shots. KSU went on an 18-0 run. The Bears went seven minutes without a point.
Baylor answered with a 9-0 run. Even after Kansas State showed some signs of life, Baylor went into halftime down 32-30. Jared Butler drilled a 3-point shot with five seconds left in the half. He worked in isolation, reminiscent of some of his best work against Texas. Barry Brown, a soon to be First Team All Big 12 selection, started 0-of-6 for the Wildcats.
Foul trouble hampered the Bears too. Freddie Gillespie, Mark Vital and Mario Kegler struggled to defend Dean Wade, the league’s preseason player of the year. He rained turnaround shots. When they got in foul trouble, the Bears went with Flo Thamba at the five, and he couldn’t handle Wade on the perimeter.
Down 46-40, Baylor returned to their small ball lineup with Mark Vital at the five. They allowed an offensive rebound, and Brown made the Bears pay with a tough 2-point jumper. On their next defensive possession, Kegler and Butler messed up a switch, which left Kamau Stokes open from three. He made it. The Wildcats completed a 14-2 run to give themselves a 53-41 lead with 8:08 left.
After Kansas State held a pretty consistent seven point lead, King McClure made a three to bring it to 59-55 with just under three minutes left. But Xavier Sneed drew made three free throws to give the Wildcats a seven point lead. The Bears had a couple costly turnovers in the final 90 seconds. They cut it three late, but Kansas State drilled two free throws to put the game out of reach.
The Bears did plenty of things to win—including limiting Kansas State on the offensive glass. But the Bears missed way too many free throws and had costly turnovers. Kansas State has one of the country’s best defenses, and with two games to play, they’re co-favorites to end Kansas’ streak of 14 straight league titles. There’s no shame in losing in Manhattan, but this was one Baylor really could have won.