It wasn't pretty. It wasn't clean, and it certainly wasn't quick. However, it was a win. Baylor survived a very poor first half and some unlucky bounces to to survive a double overtime scare against Kansas State, 79-72. It is Baylor's 15th straight victory in Waco, and improves them to 5-1 in conference play. With Oklahoma falling to Iowa State and Kansas being blown out by Oklahoma State earlier in the week, the Bears needed a win to claim 1st place 1/3rd of the way through conference play.
With a combined 41 turnovers, 43 fouls and 19 missed free throws, there were plenty of stoppages and whistles to go around. The Wildcats made an effort to slow the game down, and ugly it up and they were successful. With choppy action and physical play all around the court, the Bears struggled to get into a rhythm.
Taurean Prince led the Bears with 19 points and 13 rebounds, but had 6 turnovers and some key mistakes in overtime to keep the game close. With Kansas State coming out with much more intensity and focus in the first half, the Wildcats built a 10-point lead late in the opening 20-minutes. Baylor would cut the lead to 6, despite a littany of issues on both sides of the court. They were out-rebounded, out-shot, and had too many turnovers, but were still alive.
The second half started off more of the same, with the Bears falling behind by 7 a few minutes into the half. An 11-0 run put the Bears ahead by 5 after a Terry Matson three-point play. Kansas State would not go away though. A team that struggled all season to make outside shots hit 5-7 in regulation, and fought back to take a 48-47 lead.
With the lead changing hands several times in the last few minutes, Baylor had a 2 point lead with 6-seconds to go. A Lester Medford foul on the inbounds gave Kansas State 2-free throws, which tied the game. Medford would miss an 18-footer as the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.
Al Freeman led the Bears with 7 points in the first overtime, scoring all of the points for the Bears. Again, the Bears had a 2-point lead with under 10 second to go, but a Wesley Iwundu offensive rebound and layup tied the game with 3 seconds left. Al Freeman would miss a jumper, and Jonathan Motley's putback attempt would be off the mark and late to send it to a second overtime.
Baylor would finally seperate in the final 5-minutes, outscoring Kansas State 13-6. Baylor would finally start to hit their free throws, going 5-7 from the charity stripe and Rico Gathers would have two massive offensive rebounds to keep the Bears in control. The Wildcats would make just 2-6 shots in the 2nd overtime plus 3 turnovers. Kamau Stokes led the Wildcats with 20 points, with DJ Johnson chipping in 11.
The Bears stay home this weekend, hosting #1 Oklahoma Saturday morning at 11am.