Iowa State got back into the win column after a three-game absence, and Texas handed 24th-ranked Baylor its second straight home loss and fourth loss in as many games in another wild and wacky weekend of Big 12 basketball action that has become the rule rather than the exception this season.
As hard as they tried to take over the game and put away visiting Kansas State, the Cyclones couldn’t close the deal. Everytime it appeared Iowa State was creating separation from the pesky and never-quit team in purple, the Wildcats came storming back. Senior forward
Melvin Ejim scored 18 of his team-high 20 points in the second half, but his most important contribution in the game may have been his block of a three-point attempt by Kansas State’s Shane Southwell with the Cyclones up by three and just 31 seconds remaining in the game. The 16th-ranked Cyclones (15-3, 3-3) held on from there for an 81-75 victory that snapped a three-game losing streak.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, though, was in Waco, Texas, where the red-hot Texas Longhorns (16-4, 5-2) put down Baylor by 14, 74-60. It was the Longhorns’ fifth straight conference win and third consecutive victory over a ranked team. Texas was led by a career-best 27-point performance from freshman guard Isaiah Taylor.
Baylor (13-6, 1-5), which had another poor-shooting game, hitting just 25 percent of its shots in the opening half and not a whole lot better in the scond 20 minutes, finishing with just 32 percent efficiency for the game, dropped their fifth straight Big 12 game after beginning Big 12 play with a 12-1 record against nonconference foes. The Bears have been ranked in the top 25 all season, but undoubtedly will fall out of the rankings after Saturday’s home loss.
Oklahoma State got a career-best 29 points from Le’Bryan Nash and held off an upset bid from West Virginia (11-9, 3-4) for an 81-75 victory to remain within an arm’s distance of front-running Kansas. The Cowboys win gives them a 16-3 overall record, the best in the Big 12.
At Texas Tech, Oklahoma jumped on the Red Raiders early and led wire to wire, picking up its third road win in the conference with a 74-65 victory. The Red Raiders got back into the game after trailing by nine at the half and cut the Sooner advantage to four, at 56-52, but OU widened its lead back out to nine and then hit all six of its free throws in the closing two minutes to secure the win.
In the only other conference game this past weekend, Kansas got out of Ft. Worth in much better shape than the Jayhawks did a year ago when TCU pulled off the biggest upset of the year in the Big 12 and the biggest basketball win in TCU’s history. The Jayhawks (15-4, 6-0) rolled out to a 21-point halftime lead and cruised from there to a 91-69 victory. The country’s top freshman prospect, Andrew Wiggins scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in Kansas’offensive explosion in the opening 20 minutes.
Facts and stats from Saturday’s Big 12 games you might may not have picked up on:
- Kansas’ game at TCU on Saturday was the first time in over a month that the Jayhawks were not playing a ranked team.
- The Jayhawks’ 90 points against TCU markeed the first time Kansas has scored 90 or more points in a Big 12 road game since Bill Self became head coach of the Jayhawks in 2003.
- Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart made only one of seven shot and scored a season-low four points before fouling out with 12 seconds to go in the game in the Cowboys’ 71-65 win over West Virginia.
- Oklahoma sophomore forward Ryan Spangler, who leads the Big 12 in rebounding, pulled down 10 boards on Saturday at Texas Tech, his 11th game this season with double-digit rebounds. The Sooners’ entire roster a year ago only produced seven games in which a player had double-digit rebounds in a game.
- Oklahoma’s seven turnovers in its win over Texas Tech was a season low.
- Texas Tech got only three points off of OU’s seven turnovers Saturday. The Sooners, however, got 14 points off of 11 Texas Tech turnovers.
- Through its first 20 games a year ago, Texas had a 9-11 record. The Longhorns are 16-4 through 20 games this season.
- The 60 points scored by Baylor in its 74-60 loss to Texas was the Bear’s fewest of the season. Baylor’s previous low was 67 points in its win over Kentucky earlier in the season.
- Saturday’s game between Kansas State and Iowa State was the 216th meeting between the two schools all-time. It was the first time, however, that both teams were nationally ranked when they played each other.
- Oklahoma State has won all 10 of its home games this season, the only Big 12 team that has not lost at home in 2013-14. The Cowboys’ average margin of victory in the nine home wins before Saturday was 32 points. They won by six points at home over West Virginia this weekend.