Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Baylor Bears used a big game by Jonathan Motley and some excellent adjustments by Head Coach Scott Drew to defeat the 13th ranked Iowa State Cyclones 94-89. The Bears have struggled to get off to good starts in road games in 2015, trailling Oregon by 7, Texas A&M by 13, and Kansas by 20 within the first 12 minutes of action. Against the Cyclones, it was more of the same, as Iowa State raced out to a 12-2 lead in the first 5 minutes. This time though, the Bears would settle down and stay close with the Cyclones throughout the 1st half, mainly due to the outstanding performance of sophomore 6th man Jonathan Motley. The Bears primary reserve post player, Motley had 15 of his game high 27 points before halftime.
With a 38-34 point game going into halftime, turnovers and 3-point shooting were the early stories of the game. Baylor had 9 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, and were outshot from behind the 3-point line 5-1. The Cyclones would lead for the first 32 minutes of action, mainly driven by the all-around dominance of player of the year candidate Georges Niang. The talented senior had 22 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and flumoxed the Bears zone defense. With under 17 minutes to go, the Bears would trail by 10 points, 50-40. From that moment on, the Bears would go on a 28-10 run to flip the game on its head. Several factors go into the big run for the Bears.
- Rico Gathers struggled for the entire game, finishing with just 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 turnovers. He played just 14 very ineffective minutes. In his place? Sophomore TJ Maston who gave the Bears another weapon in the mid-range. Drew would use Maston to screen for point guard Lester Medford, and with the Cylcones playing Medford not to penetrate, it would leave the free throw line jumper wide open for Maston. He would score 6 crucial points in the Bears run.
- Taurean Prince played the most minutes of the season at the small forward position, with Motley and Maston down low. This allowed the Bears more height against the very athletic small forward for Iowa State, Abdel Nader. Prince had one of his better all-around games of the season, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists.
- The biggest change was the defensive adjustment the Bears made against Georges Niang. Baylor went to a Triangle-2 defense, face guarding Niang with Jake Lindsey or Al Freeman and a triangle zone around him. This took the ball away from the Cyclones best player, and forced other players to make decisions. The Bears did this adjustment coming out of the 8-minute timeout, trailing 68-67. The Bears would go on a game-clinching 13-5 run over the next 5-minutes of action. Niang would not attempt a single shot, record an assist or get a rebound during those 5-minutes.
- Baylor also started to post up Jonathan Motley much more in the second half, using him to make Iowa State double him. The Cyclones doubled hard every time the Bears got the ball in the paint to a post player. To counter that move, the Bears had their other post flash to the free throw line for open jumpers off of the double team.
It was a clinic of tremendous basketball coaching by Scott Drew and his staff, using every weapon at his disposal to scratch out a huge road win. The Bears would get their first lead of the game at 67-66 off of a Lester Medford 3-pointer, one of three 3-pointers that the senior point guard hit in the 2nd half. After a single 3-pointer in the first half, Baylor would hit 5 in the second half. With the win, Baylor improves to 12-3 on the season, and 2-1 in Big 12 play. They come home to host TCU on Wednesday looking for their third Big 12 win in a row.
Stats of the Game
- Baylor is the only team to defeat Iowa State in Ames in the last 32 games. They have now done it twice.
- Three Baylor players had double-doubles. Lester Medford (16 points, 11 assists), Taurean Prince (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Jonathan Motley (27 points, 13 rebounds)
- The Baylor Bench scored 44 of the Bears 94 points. The Bears backups outscored Iowa State's bench 44-5
- 22 of Jonathan Motley's 27 points came in the paint https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/685949895346368513
- Motley shot 7-9 in the first half from the field, all other Bears shot 8-25 (32%)
Tweets of the Game
Player of the Game
Jonathan Motley, 27 points, 13 rebounds
The bears 6th man was the best player on the court at times, dominating down low and having the best game of his young career. 13-15 from the floor, and missing just 1 shot inside the 3-point arc, Motley showed off his height, strength, and athleticism time and time again against a talented Iowa State frontcourt. His 15 points kept the Bears in it during the first half, and then drew enough attention in the second to give other Bears a chance to shine. The light might not be fully on for Motley, as his potential is enormous. However, the flashes are getting brighter and longer.