MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State fought back from a 16-point first-half deficit to close to within one possession of No. 1/1 Baylor, but the top-ranked Bears showed why they have won a school-record 19 consecutive games with a 73-67 victory over the Wildcats on Monday night before 8,888 fans at Bramlage Coliseum.
With the win, Baylor (20-1, 9-0 Big 12) snapped a 6-game losing streak to K-State (9-13, 2-7 Big 12) and earned its first win at Bramlage Coliseum since the Bears were also the top-ranked team on January 14, 2017. The Wildcats fell to 5-15 all-time against the No. 1 team in the country, including 4-5 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Baylor jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half, as the Big 12’s top defense held K-State without a field goal for more than 7 minutes. However, a 3-pointer from senior Xavier Sneed, the last of three consecutive triples, pulled the Wildcats to within one possession at 29-26 with 2:18 to play.
Leading just 33-28 at the half, Baylor grabbed the momentum early in the second half, scoring 9 of the first 13 points to push the lead back into double figures at 42-32 with 14:05 remaining. After K-State responded with 5 straight points to close to within 42-37, the Bears took control with a 14-4 that extended the lead to 56-41 and forced head coach Bruce Weber to call his third timeout with 8:46 remaining.
The resilient Wildcats continued to battle, closing to within 70-62 on Sneed’s fourth 3-pointer of the night and the 200th of his career, but the Bears made the free throws to close out the game, 73-67.
The loss spoiled an impressive night for Sneed, who led all scorers with game-high 23 points on 7-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, to go with a game-tying 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 36 minutes. It marked the eighth 20-point game of Sneed’s career, including his fourth this season. Sneed, who moved past Mitch Richmond (1,327/1986-88) into 12th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,333 points, became just the fifth Wildcat to eclipse 200 career 3-point field goals and the first since former teammate Kamau Stokes last season.
Sneed was joined in double figures by junior Cartier Diarra (11), senior Makol Mawien (10) and freshman Montavious Murphy (10), which marked the first time four Wildcats had scored in double figures in a Big 12 game this season. Diarra’s 11 points led a Wildcat bench, which outscored the Bears, 22-11.
K-State’s 67 points were the second-most Baylor has given up in Big 12 play, as the Wildcats connected 45.8 percent (22-of-48) of its field goals on the night, including 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from 3-point range, and made 15 of 19 attempts (78.9 percent) from the free throw line.
Baylor connected on 50 percent (24-of-48) of its field goals on the night, including in each half, while the Bears knocked down 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from 3-point range. They posted an opponent-high 20 fast-break points, while they held advantages in both points in the paint (28-26) and points off turnovers (16-13).
Sophomore Jared Butler led three players in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, while junior MaCio Teague and sophomore Davion Mitchell added 15 and 13 points, respectively. The trio were responsible for 7 of the Bears’ nine 3-point field goals on the night.
K-State has now lost 9 games (of 13 total losses) by single digits or by 46 total points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The poor start that has hurt K-State in previous losses continued in the opening minutes of the game, as Baylor jumped out to an 8-0 lead forcing head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout at the 17:12 mark. During the opening stretch, the Wildcats turned it over 4 times and missed 2 shots, including a dunk, while the Bears went 3-of-4 from the field, including 1-of-2 from 3-point range.
Freshman Montavious Murphy gave K-State its first points on a pair of free throws at the 16:41 mark, but Baylor answered back with consecutive baskets to take a 12-2 lead into the first media timeout with 13:52 remaining.
After 2 free throws by senior Xavier Sneed to close the deficit to 12-4, the Bears rattled off 8 more points, which was started by a 3-pointer by junior MaCio Teague and ended by a triple by sophomore Jared Butler, to expand the lead to 20-4 at the 13:01 mark.
Freshman Antonio Gordon, making his return to the lineup after his 3-game suspension, gave the Wildcats their first field goal on a layup with an assist from Sneed with 12:43 to play before halftime.
Down 22-6 at the second media timeout at the 11:37 mark, K-State finally got a run of its own, scoring 7 in a row, including 6 straight from senior Makol Mawien, to close the gap to 22-13 and force Baylor head coach Scott Drew to call his first timeout with 9:10 to play.
The Wildcats got to within 22-17 on 2 free throws by Mawien at the 7:30 mark, but the Bears got a scramble 3-pointer from senior Devonte Bandoo and a layup by junior Davion Mitchell to push the lead back out to double figures at 27-17 and force another timeout from Weber with 5:17 to play.
After Baylor pushed out to 29-17 right before the final media timeout of the half, K-State took advantage of some rattled off a 9-0 run, all on 3-pointers from junior Cartier Diarra, freshman Montavious Murphy and Sneed, to come within one possession at 29-26 with 2:18 remaining.
A layup by Butler ended the run with 44 seconds, but Sneed got the Wildcats within one possession again on an emphatic dunk with 13 seconds. However, the Bears got the final basket of the half, as Mitchell’s layup over Mawien’s out-stretched arms pushed the lead to 33-28 at the break.
Baylor connected on 50 percent (13-of-26) from the field in the first half, including 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from 3-point range, while K-State hit on 40.9 percent (9-of-22), including 50 percent (3-of-6) from long range. Butler led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, while Sneed had 10 for the Wildcats.
Butler continued his torrid scoring to start the second half with a 3-pointer on the Bears’ first possession, as Baylor scored 9 of the first 13 points to extend the lead back into double figures at 42-32 with 14:05 to play.
A 3-pointer by Sneed got the Wildcats back to within 5 points at 42-37, but the Bears put the game away with a 14-4 run that pushed the lead to 56-41 and forced another Weber timeout with 8:46 remaining.
K-State continued to battle, closing the deficit to 60-51 on consecutive 3-pointers by Diarra and Sneed with 5:16 to play, but Baylor kept the lead in hand, pushing it back out to 66-55 with just under 2 minutes to play.
The Wildcats made one last push, as Sneed’s 200th 3-pointer cut the lead to 70-62 with 40 seconds to play. However, the Bears were able to close it out from the free throw line for a 73-67 victory.
Both teams hit 50 percent from the field in the second half, while Baylor was able to convert 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from 3-point range. Sneed scored 13 of his 23 points after halftime, while Butler and Teague led the Bears with 8 points each.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Xavier Sneed scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, and a 5-of-8 effort from the free throw line. It marked his eighth career 20-point game, including his fourth this season.
Senior Makol Mawien nearly posted a double-double with 10 points on 4-of-6 field goals and game-tying 8 rebounds in 26 minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME
20 – Baylor posted an opponent-high 20 fast-break points, which were the most since allowing 24 to Oklahoma on January 9, 2016.