WACO, Texas (AP) — Three days earlier, Kansas State was about as low as a team can get after blowing a lead late in regulation and dropping a home game to TCU in overtime.
The Wildcats are back on top of the emotional roller-coaster that often results from playing in the Big 12.
Kamau Stokes scored 15 points and Kansas State held off a late rally to snap a three-game losing streak and hand No. 2 Baylor its first home loss of the season, 56-54 on Saturday.
Stokes made both of the Wildcats’ field goals in the final 6:29, including a baseline jumper with 1:40 to go off an inbounds pass with 1 second left on the shot clock that made it 55-51.
“Great screen by D.J. (Johnson). He gave me the opportunity,” Stokes said. “He gave me the opportunity against TCU, and it fell short. This one, I knew I was going to make this one.”
That made it a two-score game at 55-51, but Baylor still had chances. Manu Lecomte missed a jumper with 20 seconds left that would have given the Bears the lead, and Johnathan Motley missed two shots in the final seconds with a chance to tie the score. The first was a point-blank look that fell off the rim, and Johnson blocked the latter for Kansas State (16-7, 5-5 Big 12) as time ran out and the Bears lost their second straight game.
“(Motley), front of the rim, we’re all taking that,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “That one play didn’t cost us the game. We trust him, we trust Manu. People are going to miss shots, and we have to control what we can control. That’s the offensive rebounding, it’s our turnovers, which again was a problem. We’re going to focus on those things.”
Motley led Baylor (20-3, 7-3), which lost 73-68 at No. 3 Kansas on Wednesday, with 17 points and 14 rebounds, but he was 6 for 17 from the field.
Kansas State was in control most of the game. The Wildcats shot 50 percent in the first half, and their 15-0 run over a 4-minute span pushed its lead to 37-18 with 4:05 to go before halftime.
“I thought the first 16 minutes were about as good a basketball as we’ve played since maybe early in the year,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “When you’re talking about playing one of the top two, three teams in the country on their court, and you’re up 16, 18 points, you’ve got to be pretty impressed. But I told them, defense is the only way we’re going to win. I was very disappointed in our defense the last three games.”
Dean Wade added 12 points for the Wildcats and Wesley Iwundu had 10.
Kansas State: This was a defining win for the Wildcats, who survived despite scoring seven points and going 1 for 7 in the game’s final 9:06. The Wildcats turned the ball over only once in the first 17:37.
Baylor: The Bears have made a habit of comeback victories this season, but they were too flat for too long this time. Missed shots and lazy passes were the norm early in the game and helped Kansas State build its lead. The Bears were outscored in the paint 26-22 despite a clear height advantage.