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Big First Half Leads No. 2 Baylor to Win Over K-State

KSU Athletics ReleaseFebruary 25, 2020

WACO, Texas – Second-ranked Baylor jumped out to a double-digit lead midway through the first half en route to 50 points by halftime as the Bears took down Kansas State, 85-66, Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.

The 85 points scored by the Bears were the most against the Wildcats since Arizona State netted 92 points in November 2017, while the 50 first-half points were the most given up since Iowa State scored 50 on December 29, 2017.

The Bears had 5 double-digit scorers in the game, led by Matthew Mayer’s 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting – including a pair of triples – while Jared Butler came away with 16 points. Davion Mitchell and Freddie Gillespie each had double-doubles. Mitchell came away with 14 points and 10 assists, while Gillespie scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Baylor (25-2, 14-1 Big 12) shot 49.1 percent (28-of-57) for the game, which included 13 3-pointers, the fifth time the Wildcats surrendered 10 or more shots from beyond the arc this season. The Bears went 16-for-18 from the free throw line as they made their first 13 shots from the charity stripe.

K-State (9-19, 2-13 Big 12) was paced in the game by Cartier Diarra, who scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a trio of 3 pointers. DaJuan Gordon and Mike McGuirl joined Diarra in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. McGuirl was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, while Gordon went 5-for-8 from the field.

For the game, K-State shot 44.9 percent (22-of-49), including a 41.2-percent mark (7-for-17) from 3-point range. The Wildcats out-rebounded Baylor, 31-30, in the game and limited their turnovers in the second half with just 5 after 13 in the first 20 minutes. K-State kept showing fight throughout the entire game as it outscored the Bears, 16-1, over the final 4:06.

Many of K-State’s first-half turnovers came early, which fueled Baylor’s first-half blitz as the Bears went into the break with a 50-24 lead. Baylor had 3 double-digit scorers in the first 20 minutes and shot 53.3 percent in the stanza, including 8 3-pointers and a perfect 10-for-10 mark from the free throw line.

The 26-point halftime deficit was the fourth-largest in school history and the largest since trailing by 27 points against Kansas in the 2000 Big 12 Championship.

Baylor pushed its lead out to 34 points midway through the second half before the Wildcats went on their run to close out the game.

The game against the second-ranked Bears was the first half of the Wildcats playing the top two teams in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. It is only the fifth time overall since 1996-97 (24 seasons) that a team will play the AP No. 1 and No. 2 teams in consecutive games, but just the third time in the regular season.

The loss was K-State’s eighth straight, which is the longest such streak in the Bruce Weber era and the longest by a Wildcat team since also dropping 11 in a row from January 12 to February 19, 2000. With the win, the Bears swept the season series from the Wildcats for the first time since 2016.

HOW IT HAPPENED
Baylor jumped out to an 11-2 lead as it held the Wildcats without a field goal for the first 6-plus minutes. A layup by Jared Butler capped a 9-0 run and forced the Wildcats to call their first timeout at the 14:52 mark. After the timeout, Cartier Diarra broke up the run with a bucket and a chance at an and-1 with 13:31 remaining. Although he missed the free throw, the Wildcats got the rebound and a put back by Makol Mawien to pull within five at 11-6.

Baylor responded with an 8-0 run to push the lead back to 13 before Diarra responded with a 3-pointer with just over 10 minutes left in the frame. From then on, the Bears outscored K-State 31-15 over the final 10 minutes to take their 26-point lead into the locker room.

The Wildcats were forced to play without one of their leaders for a majority of the first half as Xavier Sneed picked up two quick fouls less than 5 minutes into the game, and he was saddled with his third foul at the 9:41 mark to put the Bears into the bonus for the rest of the half. Sneed only played 8:49 in the first 20 minutes. He wasn’t the only one to pick up three fouls in the half as Mike McGuirl also went to the bench with 3 fouls at the 5:39 mark.

Baylor picked up where it left off in the second half as it pushed the lead to as many as 34 points with 12:45 left in the game on its way to the 19-point win. The Wildcats were able to take care of the basketball better in the second half as they didn’t commit their first turnover until the 8:42 mark, while they outscored Baylor, 16-1, over the final four minutes of the game.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Junior Cartier Diarra scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a trio of 3-pointers. He also had 6 rebounds and was 2-of-3 from the free throw line. His 7 made field goals were the most since also tallying 7 at Iowa State on February 8.

STAT OF THE GAME
50 – Baylor scored 50 first-half points, the most allowed by the Wildcats in over two years. The 26-point deficit at halftime was the fourth-largest in school history and largest since the 2000 Big 12 Championship.

IN THEIR WORDS
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the game…
“We talked about a good start. We didn’t want to spot them 10-0 or something, I think it was 8-2. They were definitely in control of the game. I thought that was key, but then they got going. I’m shocked that they were 13-for-28 (from three), because I honestly didn’t think they missed. They hit some tough ones. You get into a heat check and you’re loose and free, and shots go in. They’re a very good team. They have great guard play. They’re older. They help each other.

“We made it a little respectable at the end. They just kept going. If we’re going to have any chance, we have to do two things. We’re going to have to have character. Two, they have to be embarrassed in how they played. Then they have to come back Thursday and Friday with great focus to get ready for Kansas, a team that just came here and won. It’s not going to be easy, but crazier things have happened. We’re going to have to be special on Saturday in that we play at a high level and are locked in and play hard. We’ll have to guard. Baylor just kind of toyed with us today.”

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State’s 8-game losing streak is the longest of the Bruce Weber era and the longest for the Wildcats since dropping 11 in a row from January 12 to February 19, 2000.
  • K-State still leads the all-time series with Baylor, 23-20, but fell to 8-10 in Waco… With the win, Baylor sweeps the season series for the first time since 2016 and evens the series at 18-18 in the Big 12 era.
  • The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of junior Mike McGuirl, junior Cartier Diarra, senior Xavier Sneed, freshman Antonio Gordon and senior Makol Mawien… It was the eighth time this year the Wildcats used this lineup, which has resulted in a 2-6 record.
  • Sneed has now played in 133 career games, including 100 starts (61 consecutive)… He is now tied with Jamar Samuels (133/2008-12) for fifth place on the all-time games played list… He is also 2 starts shy of cracking the career starts list.
  • Mawien has played and started in every game in his career, which now stretches to 99… He is 3 starts shy of cracking the career starts list.
  • Diarra has now appeared in 91 career games with 54 starts, including 23 of 28 games this season… Antonio Gordon earned his ninth start and has now played in 23 career games… It was the first time he started consecutive games since December 14 against Mississippi State and December 21 against Saint Louis.
  • At least 1 of the 3 true freshmen (A. Gordon, DaJuan Gordon and Montavious Murphy) have started each of the last 9 games.
  • Junior Levi Stockard III was the first player off the bench at 3:30 into the game.
  • Murphy missed the game due to injury (knee) and has now missed 9 games this season, including 3 straight.

Team Notes

  • Baylor is the No. 2 team in this week’s Associated Press Top 25, while K-State will play No. 1 Kansas on Saturday… Since the 1996-97 season (24 years), this is only the fifth time a team will play the AP No. 1 and No. 2 teams in consecutive games, but just the third time it will occur in the regular season… The last team to do so was West Virginia in January 2016 when the Mountaineers topped No. 1 Kansas before falling to No. 2 Oklahoma.
  • The Bears scored 50 first-half points, the most given up by the Wildcats since Iowa State scored 50 on December 29, 2017.
  • K-State’s 26-point deficit at halftime was the fourth-largest in school history and the largest since Kansas led by 27 at the break since the 2000 Big 12 Championship.
  • Baylor connected on 13 3-pointers, the fifth time this season an opponent had double-digit makes from deep… The Bears also made their first 13 free throws before the streak was snapped with over 7 minutes to play in the game.

WHAT’S NEXT
K-State returns home on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to No. 1/1 Kansas (25-3, 14-1 Big 12) before a national audience on CBS in the 293rd edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown. The Jayhawks won the first meeting, 81-60, at home on Jan. 21 and will be looking to sweep the regular-season series for the first time since 2018.

Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2020. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.

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