Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baylor owns crunch time in 75-73 win over K-State

Baylor's Perry Jones III (1) puts up a shot under pressure from Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels (32) during the first half Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan.

Baylor's Perry Jones III (1) puts up a shot under pressure from Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels (32) during the first half Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, in Manhattan, Kan.


ESPN video

Highlights: KSU vs. Baylor

— Baylor coach Scott Drew isn't oblivious to criticism — no matter how spotless the record or high the ranking.

After some had questioned his team's toughness, Drew was thrilled with the way the fourth-ranked Bears responded against no. 18 Kansas State on Tuesday night.

Perry Jones scored 17 points and Baylor held the Wildcats to one basket over the final 5 minutes for a 75-73 win.

"That's the biggest thing, that sometimes people question our team's toughness," Drew said. "Tonight, I think we showed, mentally, how tough we've been."

Quincy Acy and Brady Heslip added 13 points apiece for the Bears (16-0, 3-0 Big 12). Jones and Acy combined to go 14 of 18 from the floor. Pierre Jackson chipped in with 10 points for Baylor, which surged ahead with a 20-4 run over a 5 1/2-minute stretch midway through the second half.

Rodney McGruder scored 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead Kansas State (12-3, 1-2). Jordan Henriquez added 10 points for the Wildcats.

"Their frontline kicked our tails," Wildcats coach Frank Martin said. "When your frontline has more turnovers than defensive rebounds, it's hard to believe."

Kansas State got off to a good start in trying to hand an undefeated team its first loss for the second time in four days.

The Wildcats, who beat No. 9 Missouri 75-59 on Saturday, went on an early 13-2 run to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 15-7 lead. Through the game's first 9 minutes, Baylor had eight turnovers and the Wildcats none.

But Jones hit two baskets at the rim to kick off a 9-0 Bears run that cut the deficit to 21-20. Quincy Miller and Jackson each had a dunk as part of another 9-0 run to put Baylor up 29-25 with 2:02 remaining in the half.

Jones said he took that stretch as a good sign.

"It showed we're able to stay together as a team when times are tough," he said. "Guys don't get mad at each other and guys still play basketball the way we play, so just staying poised."

K-State finished the half by scoring eight of the final 10 points, including a runner by McGruder as the clock expired for a 33-31 halftime lead.

The Wildcats came out hot at the start of the second half and needed just over 3 minutes to push their lead to 44-37.

Baylor answered with a 20-4 run over the next 5 1/2 minutes. At one point, the Bears scored eight points in 84 seconds, forcing two K-State timeouts. A.J. Walton keyed the run with six straight points, and Jackson sank a 3-pointer for a 58-50 Baylor lead with 10:36 remaining.

"The guys wearing our uniforms threw it to the guys wearing their uniforms so they could run down for dunks," said Martin.

But McGruder kept K-State in it with nine points during an 11-4 run, including a driving layup that pulled the Wildcats to 62-60 with 7:36 remaining.

"We knew coming in how good he was," Acy said, "but he was spectacular tonight."

Henriquez hit two free throws to give K-State a 71-69 lead with 4:13 to play, but Acy scored five straight points to put Baylor up 74-71 with 2:22 remaining.

"I knew I had to come in and give us a spark then," Acy said.

McGruder converted a baseline drive 17 seconds later, cutting Baylor's lead to 74-73.

Heslip missed from 3-point range with 25 seconds remaining, but Jones got the offensive rebound and was fouled. He made one free throw with 20.9 seconds to go.

K-State appeared ready to tie it when Angel Rodriguez was open in the lane in the final 5 seconds, but he had the ball stripped with 3 seconds on the clock. The Wildcats' ensuing inbound pass was tipped away as time expired.

"To not close this game out because of a comedy of errors," Martin said, "it's embarrassing."

Baylor had just 10 turnovers in the final 31 minutes and shot 53.7 percent for the game.

"Our depth is our biggest strength," Drew said. "Our leadership and depth allow you to overcome a night when you do have foul trouble."


JHawk74 8 years, 5 months ago

I think the Big 12 is a better league this year than most people expected. Baylor wins in the Octogon of Doom. It still hard to believe Baylor is ranked in the top 10 (Top 5 actually).

Ron Franklin 8 years, 5 months ago

I've been watching closely....KU should dominate Baylor at home and beat them in Waco too.

Phoghorn 8 years, 5 months ago

I sure hope so, but there is no denying that Baylor is for real.

Ron Franklin 8 years, 5 months ago

They can definiely play, but I think they will crack after a few losses. There are too many egos on that team, in my opinion.

hawk316 8 years, 5 months ago

Blown, let's hope you're right. This team is very talented, and victory will not come easily, especially in Waco.

Ron Franklin 8 years, 5 months ago

Watching Tyshawn man-up against Pierre Jackson is going to be a very, very exciting duel to watch. They are both lightning quick, and I think Pierre might even have a step on Ty.

KPOP 8 years, 5 months ago

Baylor looks legitimate. They are long and scrappy. They really shut KSU down last night the last 5 minutes and in a hostile environment. I'd say they are competition.

Mike Kendall 8 years, 5 months ago

For those that say Baylor will crack under pressure, I think not. Baylor is a legitimate threat to KU. Baylor comes to the Phog for Big Monday, next Monday. If it comes down to a last second shot and KU has the ball, it could be tough to score against them. Just sayin'. K-State has really taken several steps backward after taking it to Mizzou. It makes for an interesting Big 12 Conference race.

kesmithstl1 8 years, 5 months ago

+1. Their length is only comparable to Kentucky (the 1 team KU could not compete with). Only concern I have with Baylor is Scott Drew. Players reflect coaches character.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 5 months ago

Blownjay: I think Baylor has just gotten better and they unintentionally meant to. I watched that entire game last night and it's been 2.5 years since I've seen Baylor play man to man defense.

Of course, if everybody can remember way back when, Kansas was one of the first teams that Scott Drew tried out his new match up zone defense when they upset Kansas in the first round of the Big 12 tournament in 2009. Since then, it's primarily been a lesser version of Syracuse's zone for the Baylor Bears.

Last night, Scott Drew found out that his team wants to defend man to man and that can be a scary thought. They are just as long as Kentucky and Scott Drew found that out last night. Twice, once in the first half down 10 points and once at the beginning of the second half down by 9 points Drew went from the match up zone and finished both halves playing man to man. If Drew would have played the entire game man to man this game may not have been as close as it was.

Mikedal: I think K-State will be fine. As Coach Martin said, if they don't make those two turnovers up by 4 points with 2 minutes to go..............they probably come away with a high profile "W" against a very good Baylor squad. K-State is young at the guard spots and I think they will be fine. If anything, they learned a lot about themselves from last nights game. I like K-State's squad.

kesmithstl1 8 years, 5 months ago

Excellent post. Agree with everything you posted. Drew seems to be Baylors biggest flaw, but the man to man defense last night was outstanding. That length scares the poo out of me. As did Kentucky's.

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