K-State men’s basketball look to end losing skid against Baylor Saturday

Senior forward Wesley Iwundu confronts a Baylor defender during the K-State game against Baylor in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 14, 2017. (File Photo by Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

The Kansas State men’s basketball season has seemed to have hit a crossroads. Just two weeks ago it seemed like the Wildcats were right on track to getting back to the NCAA tournament. But since then, the Wildcats have lost three games in a row and are in danger of going on a big losing streak with three top-10 opponents in their next three games.

K-State will look to end the losing streak Saturday in Waco, Texas, against the No. 2 Baylor Bears.

“Now, we lost three in a row and let us see what we can do,” head coach Bruce Weber said after the TCU game. “We are going to Baylor, with Kansas following that. All we can worry about is getting ready for Baylor and ourselves.”

The Wildcats struggled to start games during their three-game losing streak. They have been down by at least 14 points in all three of those games. They mounted comebacks in all of them, but were unable to put plays together down the stretch to pull out wins. Weber said he told players before the TCU game that energy was key, but the team came out with yet another sluggish start.

“I just wrote on the board ‘no quotes, play hard, play with energy,'” Weber said. “We did not have that and let (TCU) dictate the tempo offensively.”

While they did end up losing the first matchup against Baylor, the Wildcats will look to replicate their first half they played against the Bears that day. The Wildcats stayed within a few baskets of the Bears all half and actually went into the break with a lead.

Baylor has played well since that 77-68 victory over K-State. The Bears have won four out of five since that game, the only loss coming in a nail-biter to Kansas on Wednesday night.

The Bears will again look to use their size against the Wildcats; Baylor out-rebounded the Wildcats 37-24 in the first matchup. They will want more out of their big men offensively. The Bears got just 13 points out of their starting forwards, and leading scorer junior forward Johnathon Motley fouled out with almost five minutes left in the game.

The Wildcats will need to be aggressive if they want to handle Baylor’s big men and pull off the upset on the road.

“We have to believe and be the aggressor,” Weber said. “There is no sense in playing passive. I kept telling ‘play to win’ and do not ‘play not to lose’ and there is a difference.”

The Bears and Wildcats will tip off at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Ferrell Center. The game can be seen on ESPNews.

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