Rapid Reaction: Baylor 75, Kansas State 73
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Here are some quick thoughts from Baylor's 75-73 victory over Kansas State on Tuesday at Bramlage Coliseum.
Overview: Perry Jones III scored 17 points and Pierre Jackson dished out 11 assists to lead the No. 4 Bears over the 18th-ranked Wildcats. At 16-0, Baylor is one of the country's three remaining undefeated teams. Rodney McGruder scored 30 points for a Kansas State squad that entered the game flying high following Saturday's blowout of previously unbeaten Missouri. The Wildcats had a chance to win or force a tie with 3 seconds remaining, but Baylor's Quincy Acy deflected their inbounds pass down the court and time expired during the chase for the loose ball.
Star of the game: For Baylor, it had to be Jackson, whose 10 points weren't nearly as big as his 11 assists. Jackson has completely changed the tone of the Bears' program with his toughness.
McGruder came up huge for the Wildcats against a big-name opponent again, having scored 20 points in Saturday's victory over Mizzou. McGruder is becoming more aggressive with each game, which has been a problem for him at times in the past.
Turning point: The game wasn't decided until Acy swatted away Kansas State's inbounds pass under the Wildcats' basket in the waning seconds. Moments earlier, he had scored five consecutive points to help Baylor turn a 71-69 deficit into a 74-71 lead. A basket by McGruder shaved the Wildcats' deficit to 74-73 before Jones was fouled while rebounding a teammate's miss on the other end. He made one of two free throws to make it 75-73.
What the win means for Baylor: The Bears survived what will be one of their two toughest Big 12 road tests. The other will come Monday at Kansas. This team is mentally tougher than Bears squads of the past, and its depth has been a huge factor in its success. Anyone who doubted Baylor before Tuesday would be foolish to question the Bears now.
What the loss means for Kansas State: Frank Martin's squad has no reason to hang its head after this one. The Wildcats are a legitimate threat to end Kansas' streak of seven consecutive Big 12 titles. They might not lose again at Bramlage Coliseum, and they are gritty and tough enough to win on the road. This could be Martin's finest coaching job yet, and Kansas State is only going to get better.
Up next: Baylor hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday in Waco, Texas. Kansas State hits the road for a tilt with Oklahoma that same day.
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