The Kansas State Wildcats have a great record when playing the nation’s top ranked teams at Bramlage Coliseum. Saturday in Manhattan was not one of those games. They lost to Baylor 77-68.
In February of 2015 Kansas State knocked off number one ranked Oklahoma. A Sooner team that reached the NCAA final 4.
On Saturday, Bruce Weber’s team looked sharp in their gray uniforms and their tough defense forced an early Baylor shot clock violation.
I thought that was a good sign. This is a good Kansas State basketball team. This is a team that came into the game with only 3 losses by a total of 4 points.
On Saturday, I was too optimistic.
The Wildcats suffered a clock violation on the next possession. They struggled scoring early.
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With 7:25 to play in the first half Baylor was in the midst of a 10 -0 run and Dean Wade hit a big shot and it was followed by a big 3 in the corner from Barry Brown. I thought the ‘Cats had a chance.
Freshman Isaiah Maurice came in and made a nice first half contribution off the bench
The ‘Cats hit 5 of 13 on triples in first half and 4 of their last 6 after the cold start.
They had just 3 turnovers in the first half. Baylor had 8 giveaways.
Kansas State trailed Baylor by just one at the break.
I thought the ‘Cats would come out and attack the zone and put some fear in the Bears.
It took until the 14 minute mark of the 2nd half before the ‘Cats finally executed well against the tough Baylor zone. The resulting score put DJ Johnson in double figures for the game and the 11th time this season. He finished with 20 points.
After the Wildcats took a 47-45 lead, the game turned when the Bears picked up another big offensive rebound and got a long distance 3 in the midst of an 8-nothing run at the under 8-minute timeout.
The ‘Cats were not in the game after that.
Dean Wade needed to be more aggressive.
Other than a pair of free throws with 5 minutes to play, Wesley Iwundu did not have his best game. The senior committed inopportune turnovers and fouls.
With 4 minutes to play the Bears were shooting 57 percent in the 2nd half and were playing stress free.
The Wildcats will travel to Stillwater on Wednesday. They will play a Cowboy team looking for their first conference win.