Facing tough teams every night across the Big 12, Baylor always stresses the need for a short term memory to begin focusing on the next game.
But the Bears would like to forget Monday night’s game against Kansas State ever happened. It was a home loss they couldn’t afford.
With Barry Brown busting loose for 34 points and Dean Wade hitting for 24, the Wildcats shot 57 percent to knock off the Bears, 90-83, before 4,787 fans at the Ferrell Center.
The Bears (12-8, 2-6) looked like they were still reeling from a last-second 70-67 loss to No. 5 Kansas on Saturday in Lawrence as they missed their first five shots and never led against the Wildcats.
While the Bears fell into a last-place tie with Iowa State, Kansas State (15-5, 5-3) won its third straight game after beating TCU and No. 12 Oklahoma last week.
"I think we were all embarrassed we didn’t have more fight to us tonight, the way we started the first and second half," said Baylor coach Scott Drew. "I don’t know if we were tired, the turnaround, whatever. The bottom line is it was unacceptable. You don’t get opportunities to go back and redo things. We just need to make sure that doesn’t happen again."
Baylor placed six players in double figures as Manu Lecomte scored 18 points, Jo Lual-Acuil 15, Tristan Clark 14, King McClure 11, and Terry Maston and Nuni Omot 10 apiece. But they couldn’t produce enough offense to compensate for a defense that gave up its most points this season.
Though the Bears switched from a zone to man-to-man defense, the Wildcats were hot from start to finish.
"We didn’t have any energy, and normally in zone if you don’t have energy that can get ugly," Drew said. "We thought playing man might give us more energy. They did a great job of making key plays and key shots where we could never really get over that hump either. They did a great job of punching us early and punching us in the second half."
The Bears dug a big hole to start the game as they trailed 29-13 with 8:08 left in the first half. Baylor finally found an offensive groove to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 45-40 at halftime.
The Wildcats opened up a 5-0 lead in the early minutes. Cartier Diarra hit a basket followed by a free throw before Wade stole the ball and scored.
It kept getting worse for Baylor as Brown nailed a 3-pointer and Wade drew a foul on a 3-point attempt. He hit three straight free throws to extend Kansas State’s lead to 13-4.
Next it was Makol Mawien’s turn to score as he drove for a basket and then stepped outside and buried a trey. With Wade’s short jumper, the Wildcats opened up a 20-8 lead with 13:42 left in the first half.
Kansas State stayed hot as Brown drained a 3-pointer and Mawien drove inside twice for baskets to stretch the lead to 29-13. The Wildcats hit 11 of their first 16 shots while Baylor hit six of their first 20.
"I thought the beginning was really impressive for us on both ends of the court," said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber. "I thought we were really good defensively and disrupted them, took away their stuff. We only had a one-day prep, but we really talked about having to take away their quick-hitters and their sets, and we got some transition, great passing, great ball movement, made shots."
In the final eight minutes of the first half, the Bears finally found their offense as they hit seven of 10 shots. They started their comeback by dishing the ball inside as Clark hit a basket and then nailed a pair of free throws.
Lecomte buried a 3-pointer and then drew a foul on a 3-point attempt. He hit all three free throws to cut Kansas State’s lead to 35-25 with 4:49 left in the first half.
The Bears kept slicing into Kansas State’s lead as Lual-Acuil got inside for a followup dunk and Clark nailed a jumper. Omot gave the Bears a lift off the bench by burying a 3-pointer and then taking a Jake Lindsey alley-oop pass for a dunk.
Lual-Acuil’s 3-pointer at the top of the arc with four seconds left in the first half cut Kansas State’s lead to 45-40.
Like the first half, the Bears came out slow to start the second half as the Wildcats quickly extended their lead to 53-43. Brown did most of the damage as he hit a pair of free throws, drove for a basket and banked in a shot between two Baylor defenders.
After Lecomte cut the lead to 55-49, the Wildcats scored nine unanswered points as the Bears made a flurry of turnovers. Diarra drove for a basket before Amaad Wainright, the younger brother of former Baylor basketball player Ish Wainright, converted a three-point play with a basket and a free throw.
Following a turnover by Mark Vital, Wade got loose for a slam. Brown followed with a pair of free throws to push Kansas State’s lead to 64-49.
Though McClure drained a 3-pointer for the Bears, the Wildcats stayed hot as Xavier Sneed fired in a 3-pointer and Wade nailed an outside shot. Sneed then stole the ball and passed to Brown for a layup to push the lead to 71-52 midway through the second half.
The Bears finally got some offense going as Maston got inside twice for baskets, drew fouls and hit free throws. With McClure’s drive for a basket and Omot’s 3-pointer, the Bears cut the lead to 73-66 with 6:15 remaining.
But the Bears could never get closer than five points the rest of the way.
"I thought in spurts, we played hard enough and competed hard enough, but not long enough to win a game like this," Drew said. "Barry Brown and Dean Wade, you look at the numbers, they’re first-team all-conference guys right now if the balloting was today and they’re really good players. But again, I was disappointed in our effort and apologize to our fans that we didn’t give any more than that."