The good, bad and awfully ugly were all on display Saturday between K-State and No. 22 Baylor.
For starters, K-State had more turnovers (6) than points (4) nearly 10 minutes into the game. Baylor jumped out to quick a 14-point lead, and held a 12-point advantage with 11:27 to play in the second half and K-State’s star guard on the bench.
Yet, somehow, someway, Bruce Weber’s squad finished the contest with a positive turnover-to-assist ratio and another momentous win, as the Wildcats (11-7, 4-1) knocked off the ranked Bears (13-4, 2-3) 63-61.
It’s the fourth-consecutive win for K-State in a wild two-week-180 that could see the Wildcats atop the Big 12 conference come Sunday.
“Coach just said to stick with it,” Nino Williams said after the game. “They were going to give us a chance. We knew we were going to get stops, we are a pretty good defensive team. We really cracked down and got stops. Offensively, we got going, we just needed to get a couple stops. We cracked down, got some stops and some easy baskets.”
K-State turned its fortune around midway through the second half down 12. Williams hit two jumpers from midrange and added four free throws. Jevon Thomas scored a trey in the face of a Baylor defender with the shot clock winding down. Suddenly, the Wildcats found themselves down only one point, 51-50.
Justin Edwards gave K-State its first lead with 6:24 to play in the ballgame. Bramlage Coliseum erupted, but the Wildcats knew they still had work to do.
Baylor’s Kenny Chery averaged 24.5 points in two games against K-State last season. He had 16 points at halftime Saturday. He and the Bears weren’t going away.
Trailing by two points with 5.4 seconds to play, Chery drove the lane and found daylight for a left-handed attempt. The shot went up, off the backboard and back down.
“We made him make a tough shot,” Weber said. “It’s a tough play because you don’t want to foul, you want him to make a play. We also talked about no three’s, which is important. I’m not sure we guarded very well, but at least we made him go left and at least contested him and didn’t foul.”
Chery finished with 21 points. Taurean Wainright added another 20 points and four steals for the Bears, but it wasn’t enough.
Williams finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for K-State. Marcus Foster added 11 points, three rebounds and two assists.
In another stat-stuffing performance, Wesley Iwundu shot three of five from the field for eight points. However, Iwundu’s six assists, two steals and strong defense aided in the 12th-largest comeback in K-State history.
“I thought it was a good win for our guys,” Weber said. “Now all we can do is worry about this next one against Iowa State. We are going to watch them tonight and head up to Ames (Iowa) on Monday and see if we can keep improving.”
K-State and the Cyclones tip-off from Hilton Coliseum Tuesday at 6 p.m.