Kansas State men's basketball took down No. 9 Baylor in overtime 68-64 Tuesday night. The Wildcats went on a 9-0 run to end the game, overcoming a five-point deficit late. Even though their offense showed up in the last minutes of regulation and overtime, it was their defense that kept them in the game.
The Wildcats held Baylor to 32.9% shooting going only 5-28 from beyond the arc. The Bears have the highest three-point percentage (.404) in the conference. Baylor struggled from the line and lost easy points going 9-19 from the line. If they make even half of the shots they missed, they win the game by one point.
The Wildcats struggled on offense early. K-State turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, the team's leader Cam Carter had five of those turnovers. The Bears held their biggest lead on eight in the seven minutes into the first half. However, the Wildcats found a rhythm and went on a 9-0 run. After going down, the defense stepped up and didn't allow to Bears to score a basket for seven minutes.
Coming out of the halftime, the Wildcats were down five. Jerome Tang and his team went back to their bread and butter, a lockdown defense. The Bears only had seven turnovers in the first half, but ended up with 11 at the end of the game, however, their second-half turnovers were costly, with K-State scoring off of most of them.
The Wildcats were down six with just under two minutes left in regulation. and went on an 8-2 run, including a three-point play from Carter. Tylor Perry could have won the game for the Cats in regulation if he had made both of his free throws but missed one from the line.
In overtime, Baylor came out and made back-to-back threes, something they had struggled to do all night long. Carter fouled out just two minutes into overtime, forcing Tang to go to the bench for this game. With 1:12 left on the clock, the Cats were down 59-64. The game flipped when Arthur Kaluma made a three-point shot while being fouled and completed the four-point play. This game K-State a 65-64 lead and they would not relinquish that lead for the rest of the game.
In Big 12 play, Kansas State has not allowed their opponents to score over 70 points. The most they have allowed in conference play is 67 points to West Virginia where the Cats scored 81 for the easy win. Before the Baylor game, the Wildcats had allowed just 59.4 points on 37.5 percent shooting in the last seven games. Perry had four steals against Baylor. Carter and Perry are both ranked in the top 20 in the Big 12 in steals.
If the K-State can continue to play defense like this, they will have a real shot at winning the Big 12. If their defense can hold up, the shots will begin to fall as they did against Baylor. Plus, if the Wildcats are comfortable playing in overtime as they are 5-0 this season in overtime games. We all know the old saying, defense wins championships, and that is how K-State can win the Big 12.