The Baylor Bears blew the doors of Bramlage Coliseum and the Kansas State Wildcats 100-69. MaCio Teague dropped 23 points with 10 rebounds to lead all scorers, while Jared Butler earned his first career double-double with 14 points and 13 assists. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Davion Mitchell also scored double figures with 13 and 20 points, respectively. Defensively, Baylor forced Kansas State into 14 turnovers, negating their decent 47% FG. In typical fashion, the Bears relied on their stout defense to carry them through the occasional scoring drought until the offense could surge ahead.
Baylor entered the game as a 17-point favorite. They met and never fell below that margin just 10 minutes into the game.
Beyond that, there’s not much to say. Baylor travelled to Manhattan without Adam Flagler, the team’s leading scorer and absolutely housed a conference opponent. The combination of high level outside shooting - 45% 3PT for the game - and hyper-active defense overwhelmed Kansas State from the start.
Antonio Gordon was the lone bright spot for Bruce Webber’s team, scoring 23 points on stellar shooting of 9-9. When K-State could get inside, they scored efficiently. They struggled from the outside all game, though, shooting just 36% from three. With McGuirl the only senior on the team, the Wildcats are experiencing a number of growing pains.
Baylor showed no rust from their 10 day layoff. On the opening possession, Butler stole the ball for the games first basket. Baylor forced 12 turnovers in total in the first half. That’s as many forced turnovers as Kansas State had made field goals. Unfortunately for Kansas State, they are a turnover prone team this year, which spelled doom for them when facing a Baylor backcourt that absolutely harasses its opponents. The Wildcats rank in the bottom third in both turnovers and stolen possessions in the country; Baylor before today was in the top 40 in both those defensive categories. About 9 minutes into the game, K-State was shooting 63% FG and losing 23-11.
After scoring the opening basket, Butler spent much of the first half setting up his teammates. He assisted on more than half of Baylor’s makes while he was on the floor, totaling 8 assists for the half. Baylor’s roster is stacked with players who can make use of the space he creates, whether it’s Teague from the wing, Mitchell from the corner, or Tchamwa Tchatchoua soaring up for the lob. Incidentally, Tchamwa Tchatchoua had three lob dunks in the first half, two of which came from Butler.
Teague shook off his cold streak from three from the very start, scoring 12 of Baylor’s first 15 points. He entered the game shooting an uncharacteristic 28% from three, but hit 3-5 before halftime. The game from the start was a further example of how deadly Baylor’s backcourt is. Even down the team’s leading scorer Adam Flagler, Baylor’s guards combined for 31 points and 10 assists in the opening frame to get Baylor to 56 points. No other team in the country is better positioned to have its leading scorer out.
Despite its shift over the last two years to using three guard lineups for much of the game, Baylor remains a top offensive rebounding program. The Bears are a top five offensive rebounding team, rebounding a massive 41.8% of their own misses thanks to the activity and brutality of Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Mark Vital. Combine that physical front court with a sweet shooting backcourt, and a team like Kansas State never stood a chance. The long ball has been so absurd for the Bears that they shot 45% today and were nearly 2% under their season average.
Baylor’s next two games come against Arkansas Pine Bluff on Monday and Central Arkansas the Tuesday after Christmas. They will resume conference play when they meet Iowa State in Ames on January 2nd, 2021.