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Thursday, March 8, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Baylor 82, Kansas State 74

By Jason King


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Perry Jones scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Brady Heslip added 15 to spark Baylor to an 82-74 victory over Kansas State Thursday at the Sprint Center. The victory catapults the Bears into a Friday semifinal game against Kansas.
Baylor, which got 13 points and eight assists from Pierre Jackson, shot 57 percent from the field and outrebounded Kansas State 31-24.

Jordan Henriquez scored 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots for Kansas State.

Turning point: The score was tied at 27 with 6:43 remaining in the first half when Baylor went on 14-5 scoring run that ended with the Bears leading 41-32. Jones and Heslip each had six points during the march. Kansas State pulled within five points, 45-40, early in the second half. But that's as close as the Wildcats would get.

Key player: Often criticized for being passive and "soft," Jones couldn't have been more aggressive Thursday. Dunks on putbacks, 3-pointers, baseline jumpers, reverse layups in traffic ... Jones scored in just about every way imaginable in what may have been the best performance of his career.

Key stat: That Thursday's game was decided by eight points was somewhat surprising, considering the scores of the previous two games between Baylor and Kansas State. The Bears beat the Wildcats by two points in Manhattan but then lost to Kansas State by one-point in Waco last month. The game was actually more lopsided than the final score indicated. Baylor was up by 12 points before K-State hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final seconds.

Jones' 31 points came on 11-of-14 shooting.

Miscellaneous: Reserve guard A.J. Walton played one of his best games of the season for Baylor, finishing with 11 points, four assists and three steals. ... Jones' mother, Terri, who has a heart condition that often keeps her from traveling, was in the stands Thursday to see her son's standout performance. ... The Bears won despite getting just two points from high-profile freshman Quincy Miller. ... Baylor likely locked up a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament with Thursday's win. ... Kansas State has been projected as a No. 8 or a No. 9 seed.

What's next: Baylor, the No. 4 seed, takes on Kansas Friday. The Bears lost to Kansas two times -- both in convincing fashion. The Jayhawks whipped the Bears by 18 points in Lawrence and by 14 points in Waco.