Some places just aren't kind to certain people. There are people who just can't stand hospitals, or always get a ticket in a certain city. Bad luck hovers over that place like a cloud and when that cloud is aimed at you, it is sometimes best to avoid that particular destination. The Baylor Bears have no such luck when it comes to avoiding Ames, IA. They have to go there every single year, as long as the Big 12 stays with a round-robin schedule. Their most recent trip produced another nightmare scenario, falling to the Cyclones 87-72.
The Bears fought valiantly, keeping the score close for the first 23 minutes of action. After a Brady Heslip 3-pointer trimmed made the game 46-45, Iowa State would need to build up their lead one last time. A 17-6 run would give the Cyclones plenty of cushion but another and another 16-4 run would spell the end for the Bears chances in Ames.
Baylor was mainly undone by turnovers and poor transition defense. With 19 turnovers, Baylor gave the ball back to the Cyclones one time for every 3.47 shots they took. The Cyclones would also outscore the Bears 17-10 in transition points.
Stats to Ponder
-DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim scored 48 of the Cyclones 87 points. In the first half though, this was a 2-man game. They had 29 of the 40 points and all other Cyclones were shooting just 4-13 from the field.
-All but one player for the Bears had a turnover in the game. So Thank You Royce O'Neale for being the only one not running laps today.
-Baylor had 14 offensive rebounds, but only 12 second chance points, compared to 6 offensive rebounds for the Cyclones to go along with 8 second chance points. That is a .857 points per offensive rebound versus 1.33 points per offensive rebound.
-Baylor came into the ISU game turning the ball over on 19.90% of possessions. They turned it over on 25.68% of their possessions last night
-Baylor shot better from behind the arc (11-25 for 44%) than they did inside of it (17-41 for 41.5%)
Key Storylines of the Game
1. DeAndre Kane destroying Kenny Chery – Kenny Chery keeping up with Kane statistically was one of the key things Baylor needed to happen to win this game. What the Bears got was Chery's worst game as a Bear and Kane doing almost all of the heavy lifting for the Cyclones. Chery started off hot making his two first shots, both from behind the arc. But after that, Chery would make just 1 of his next 12 shots. Kane on the other hand started out nearly perfect. He was 7-8 from the field in the first half, with 17 points and 4 assists. This was a statement game for the senior transfer from Marshall, and one that had the basketball world buzzing.
2. Bears lack of interior scoring – Baylor was outscored by ISU 47-26 in the paint. Simply put, the interior presence of the Bears was pushed around and out of the paint area. But even worse, when they did catch the ball in remotely decent position, they would turn the ball over, either by bringing the ball down and allowing the smaller and quicker Cyclones to make a play or by trying to do too much in their limited chances and making a mistake. Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin committed 8 turnovers combined, and almost all of those were in post-up situations.
The Cyclones made a conscious effort to drop their wings and guards down anytime the Baylor post players got good position. They hedged hard down onto the Baylor posts and swiped at the ball whenever they could see it. This did allow the Baylor guards some open look from 3-point range, as Brady Heslip and Gary Franklin went a combined 8-14, but it pretty much took Jefferson out of the game from the post. Austin got some looks on his own with the dribble drive from the top of the key, but his post-up game was pretty much non-existent.
3. Turnovers, man. Turnovers – What else is there to say? 19 turnovers will get almost any team beat. Add to that some truly awful transition defense and you will get beat by a team that loves to run and press the tempo. The Cyclones thrive in transition, especially when in front of their raucous home crowd.
This was a big loss for the Bears, but not a bad one. A lot of teams are going to go into Hilton Coliseum and get beat up pretty bad. Baylor has to simply remember that the Cyclones held serve. As long as the Bears take care of their own home court and steal a few games on the road, they will be fine and make the NCAA tournament. Baylor comes home for a Saturday afternoon game with TCU to start getting their mojo back and get back in the winning column.