No. 25 K-State unable to keep up with No. 1 Baylor

Senior forward Wesley Iwundu confronts the Baylor defense during the K-State game against No. 1 Baylor in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 14, 2017. (Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

An upset was going to happen no matter the outcome on Saturday afternoon in Bramlage Coliseum. Baylor came in the favorite as the top-ranked team in the nation, but it was Kansas State that was a one-point favorite, according to odds-makers. The final outcome was not the upset K-State fans were hoping for as Baylor held on to beat K-State 77-68.

The Wildcats stayed within reach for much of the game, but were not able to keep up with Baylor’s scoring in the final minutes of the game.

“They out-toughed us those last 10 minutes and were able to finish off the game,” senior forward DJ Johnson said.

The first half started out with both teams making runs. Baylor went on a 6-0 run, then K-State went on a 7-0 run, then Baylor went on a 7-0 run. After that, the final eight minutes of the half were back and forth with both teams unable to pull ahead.

K-State was aided in that half by six early Baylor turnovers but hindered its chances of pulling away by shooting just 36 percent in the half and getting out-rebounded 22-15. Baylor went into the break with a 31-30 lead.

After the break it was much of the same with both teams trading baskets early on. It looked like K-State might pull ahead after gaining momentum after a big three-pointer from freshman guard Xavier Sneed with 10 minutes left in the game.

Head coach Bruce Weber instead called a timeout after the big shot to try and get some rest, but it ended up killing the Wildcats’ momentum; Baylor outscored K-State 32-21 down the stretch after that timeout to go on and win the game.

“It was just to get us some rest,” Weber said. “…we’ve had trouble defending in second halves and I wanted to make sure we had legs. It was a change in momentum for them so you can put that on me I guess.”

Johnson and Sneed led the way for the Wildcats Saturday. Johnson finished with 20 points and Sneed with 12, including some big-time shots. But the duo’s effort was not enough in the loss.

It was the third loss in four games for the Wildcats, and their schedule doesn’t get any easier with three out of the next four games coming on the road. Johnson said they just need to keep pushing on.

“Just keep pushing,” Johnson said. “That’s what we talked about in the locker room…we’ve got to figure out a way to win.”

K-State will next head to Stillwater, Oklahoma where they will take on Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

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