Down early in the game by an 8-3 score, No. 8 Kansas went on a 25-2 run to effectively put the game away in the opening half. The Jayhawks led by 28 points at the break 46-18, and were never really challenged after that. Jayhawk freshman Andrew Wiggins led all scorers with 21 points. Jonathan Holmes led the Longhorns with 17 points.
The Kansas defense was outstanding, holding Texas to 21-for-61 shooting from the floor and 34-percent shooting for the game. The Jayhawks, on the other hand, were as hot from the field as Texas was cold. Kansas ended the game with 61-percent shooting, one of its best shooting performances of the season.
TCU, winless in the Big 12 this season, put a scare into visiting Iowa State for the first 30 minutes on Saturday before the Cyclones got super serious and did what they needed to in order to get out of Ft. Worth with a must win. Meanwhile, at Oklahoma, the Sooners evened their season series with Kansas State with a dominating 86-73 victory to move into a second-place tie, at least for one day, with Iowa State and Texas. All three of those teams now stand at 9-5 in league play.
Getting back to Oklahoma State and Baylor, the big headline of the weekend had to be the return to action of OSU’s Marcus Smart. Coach Travis Ford’s biggest concern before Saturday’s game against surging Texas Tech was that his best player and 2013 Big 12 Player of the Year would try to do too much in his return, after the missing the last three games with a suspension, and hurt his performance in the process. “He’s our stat stugger,” Ford said in an on-court TV interview before the game. We count on him to score, distribute the ball and rebound, Ford said. If he’s lax in any of those aspects, he knows he will hear it from me, the Oklahoma State head coach said.
Oklahoma State got exactly what Ford wanted and needed from his star. Smart cored 16 points and had 10 assists, three rebounds, two blocked shots and six steals in leading the Cowboys to an 82-64 victory over Texas Tech. The win also snapped the Cowboys’ inexplicable seven-game losing streak and avenged their loss at Tech earlier this month, which came in game four of the losing streak.
Baylor (18-9, 6-8) overcame a sixpoint halftime deficit at West Virginia (15-12, 7-7), scoring 52 points in the second half to run away from the Mountaineers with a 13-point road victory. The Bears shot 54 percent for the game and overcame a 32-point performance by the Mountaineers’ Eron Harris. All five Baylor starters scored in double figures in the game, led by a 22-point performance by 6-8 junior forward Royce O’Neale.
Those are the headlines. Here are some more highlights and lowlights to add more perspective on Saturday’s Big 12 action in men’s basketball:
- Despite losing to Oklahoma on Saturday, Kansas State remained in third place in the Big 12 standings, the same place they started heading into the game with the Sooners. The difference being that Oklahoma and Iowa State, the two teams the Wildcats were tied with in third place before Saturday’s action both moved up into a tie for second with weekend wins.
- Kansas went on a 32-5 run beginning at the 15:28 mark in the first half, holding Texas scoreless for over eight minutes in the opening 20 minutes. The Jayhawks led 46-18 at the half.
- The Kanssas-Texas game was almost a mirrored image in reverse of the first encounter this year between these two teams, won by Texas at Texas 81-69.
- Kansas’ 31-point victory over the Longhorns was the widest KU victory margin in the history of the series.
- Kansas State has only won one game in seven contests away from home this season in the Big 12. On the other hand, the Wildcats have not lost at home in conference play, sporting a 7-0 record at Bramlage Coliseum.
- K-State outscored Oklahoma 51-45 in the second half. Unfortunately, it proved to be too little, too late as the Soooners had built a 41-22 lead at the intermission.
- Oklahoma shot better (60 percent) in the second half of its game with Kansas State, but the Wildcats put on a furious rally to climb back within 11 points after being down by as many as 27 points (68-41) in the second half.
- Oklahoma’s 19-point halftime lead over Kansas State was the Sooners’ largest halftime advantage this season. Likewise, it was the worst halftime deficit all season for the Wildcats.
- Oklahoma State scored 21 points off of turnovers in its victory Saturday over Texas Tech. That is the most by the Cowboys since their last win, in late January, against West Virginia.
- Texas Tech, which leads the Big 12 in free-throw shooting percentage and ranks 28th in the nation in that category, missed five of 14 free throws (64 percent) on Saturday at Oklahoma State. It was the 10th time in the Red Raiders’ 27 games that they have not shot 70 percent or better from the free-throw stripe in a game.
- Iowa State is 16-0 this season when the Cyclones lead at halftime. Iowa State led by two, 32-30, at TCU on Saturday.
- Iowa State is the only team in NCAA Division I to score 70 or more points in every game this season. The Cyclones scored 71 on Saturday, defeating TCU 71-60.
- TCU held Iowa State, which puts up more three-point shots than any team in the conference, to 1-for-11 shooting from three-point range on Saturday.
- Baylor and West Virginia had met only four times before Saturday. The Baylor win gives the Bears a 4-1 lead in the series.
- Baylor lost five games in a row against Big 12 teams this season and seven of eight. Since then, the Bears have won four consecutive league games, moving their record to 6-8 in conference play.
- Scoring point in the paint has been difficult for West Virgina this season. Baylor outscored West Virginia 38-12 in points in the paint on Saturday.