No. 16 Kansas State, Baylor tussle in tight Big 12
- Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova rolls
- NCAA: Memphis' Wiseman to return Jan. 12
- Vasiljevic leads Miami by Missouri State
- UNC's Anthony has near triple-double
- No. 2 Louisville rallies by USC Upstate
No. 16 Kansas State, coming off a road loss that muddied the Big 12 Conference race, hosts Baylor on Saturday trying to at least keep a share of the conference lead.
A Baylor win in Manhattan, Kan., could create up to a four-way tie atop the conference.
Kansas State (21-7, 11-4 Big 12) enters the weekend tied for the conference lead with Texas Tech. Baylor (19-9, 10-5 Big 12) is tied for third with Kansas, a game ahead of fifth-place Iowa State.
Kansas State fell 64-49 at Kansas on Monday night in a game in which the Wildcats were manhandled in nearly every category. The Jayhawks owned a 41-31 advantage on the glass, caused more turnovers and committed only eight fouls compared to 17 for K-State. Kansas also shot much better (39.6 percent to 31.6 percent) in a defensive battle.
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber knows his squad has to get its swagger back Saturday against a tough Baylor team.
"I said it eight, 10 days ago that Baylor was going to be a big game," Weber said Thursday. "I knew it would be. They found a way to win last night (84-83 in overtime against Texas, after overcoming a 19-point second-half deficit). They're right in the race, too."
The Bears are in the national top 20 in rebounding margin and blocked shots. Kansas State's struggles on the front line will be tested.
Kansas State has won five straight games against Baylor, including a 70-63 victory in Waco on Feb. 9. The Wildcats won the rebounding battle by one in that game.
"We've competed with them toughness-wise," Weber said. "It's about toughness. These guys are probably tougher than (coach Scott Drew's) other teams, too."
Kansas State's senior trio of Barry Brown, Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes are ready to rebound from Monday's loss. In that game, Brown and Wade combined for just 12 points.
"We have got a good team coming in Saturday against Baylor at home," Brown said. "We have just got to be locked in. It's going to be a challenge, but we have to bounce back and get a win under our belt."
"We talked about it in the locker room," Stokes added. "At the end of the day, we're still in first place. In order to stay there we have got to worry about Saturday. Only difference is we're sharing it now. I feel like our confidence is to the point where we don't want to share with anybody."
Baylor, meanwhile, is riding high after the victory over Texas.
"Most teams this time of year when you're in these situations you aren't going to have the energy to come back and win," Drew said after the game.
"It takes a team, and that's why we've been good all year. Different people have stepped up. The team likes each other, they encourage each other and I think that makes it a lot easier to be great teammates and cheer for each other."
Baylor is led by Makai Mason (and injured Tristan Clark) with 14.6 points per game. Mason recently missed two of three games, including the first game with Kansas State, with a toe injury. Mario Kegler is chipping in 10.7 points per game.
King McClure missed five straight games -- also including the first game against K-State -- with a knee injury. His first game back was against Texas, when he played just seven minutes and didn't score. Drew is glad to have him back, though.
"With King coming back, trying to get a rotation was tough," Drew said. "He did a great job leading the guys verbally, but I think going forward we'll get some more practice days with everybody being healthy."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 1, 2019