WACO (AP) – Even when Iowa State started making shots, the Cyclones never really had a chance for an upset at No. 9 Baylor.
Mainly because they were unable to have a repeat performance on defense.
Perry Jones III rediscovered his shooting touch with 18 points for the Bears, who rebounded from two big losses last week with a 79-64 victory Monday night.
“They’re the longest team we’ll play against and probably the longest team in the country, and that poses problems for any team that plays against them,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I just thought our overall effort on the defensive end was pathetic. We couldn’t find a way to get stops.”
Baylor (22-4, 9-4 Big 12), which is undefeated against everybody its played except No. 3 Missouri and No. 4 Kansas, shot 60 percent with 24 assists on its 33 baskets and had only eight turnovers. They were plenty of dunks and layups.
All that came two days after Iowa State (18-8, 8-5) beat Texas A&M 69-46 while allowing the Aggies to shoot only 36 percent.
“We were great, had probably our best effort against A&M on Saturday, and that’s got to be the constant,” Hoiberg said. “You have to defend every night to give yourself a chance to win. I don’t get how we defended as well as we did on Saturday and turn and come back tonight and have the type of effort that we did.”
Jones already had 10 points by halftime, one more than he had combined last week when Baylor lost to Kansas and Missouri in consecutive games for the second time in a month.
Melvin Ejim had 17 points to lead the Cyclones, who had won four its last five games to match Baylor for third place in the Big 12 behind Missouri and Kansas.
“We definitely needed to bounce back,” Baylor freshman Quincy Miller said. “Our confidence was still up, but those were very hard blows.”
Miller, who matched Jones with 8-of-13 shooting, added 16 points for the Bears. Anthony Jones had 12 points and Quincy Acy 11.
Jones, the preseason Big 12 player of the year, was a combined 3 for 20 in the two games last week.
“The coaching staff and my teammates kept me confident even though my shot didn’t fall the past week or so,” Jones said. “They still kept me shooting the ball.”
In Baylor’s previous home game last Wednesday, Jones dunked an alley-oop pass to start the game but missed his next seven shots while scoring only five points in the 68-54 loss. Jones was only 2-of-12 shooting Saturday in a 72-57 loss at Missouri.
Royce White added 14 points with seven turnovers for Iowa State after scoring a career-high 25 points against A&M.
Even when the Cyclones shot 55 percent (16 of 29) in the second half, Baylor made 72 percent (21 of 29) in that same span — many on dunks while scoring 32 points in the paint
Baylor never trailed. Brady Heslip opened the game with a 3-pointer before Jones had two free throws and then made a 13-foot jumper for a 7-0 lead.
“This is a much better press conference than the last two,” coach Scott Drew said after the game. “Everyone’s going to face adversity, it’s really how you get up from it. We’ve had outstanding leadership this entire year and I thought they did a great job getting us ready to play today. … The guys really responded and played well.”
The Cyclones were within 48-42 when Tyrus McGee hit a 3-pointer from the left side with 12:42 left.
After a timeout, Jones scored on thunderous dunk off an alley-oop pass from Miller, who then responded with a one-handed slam after White had gone around him on the other end for a dunk.
Baylor stretched the lead to 58-46 when Jones drove hard for a layup. Another dunk off an alley-oop by Jones, this one from Acy, made it 72-57 with just under 3 minutes left.
The Cyclones have lost six consecutive games in Waco, where they last won in 2000. The teams play again in the regular season finale March 3 at Iowa State.
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