AMES, Iowa (AP) – Twenty turnovers against Syracuse, 19 more against Iowa State.
It’s strikingly clear to Baylor coach Scott Drew why his team lost those games.
No. 9 Iowa State got 30 points from DeAndre Kane and No. 7 Baylor panicked too often against the Cyclones’ aggressive defense in losing for the second time this season, 87-72 on Tuesday night.
It was reminiscent of the Bears’ sloppy play in a 74-67 loss to No. 2 Syracuse in the championship game of the Maui Invitational in late November.
So what if the Bears could do just a little bit better job with the ball?
“That solves a lot of issues,” Drew said. “They led to a lot of transition baskets. Again, credit Iowa State for causing them. We’ll be better handling those kind of defensive philosophies the next time.”
Iowa State (14-0, 2-0 Big 12), which set a school record with its 14th straight victory, negated Baylor’s size advantage inside by double-teaming the Bears’ post players and forcing bad passes. Big men Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and Taurean Prince combined for 12 of their team’s turnovers, which offset their strong play on the boards.
“They have a packed in defense, so it’s hard to get the ball inside,” Drew said. “It’s kind of like in football when you put eight and nine in the box. It’s hard to run it.
“Second thing is, they did a great job doubling. I thought they were very aggressive tonight. On film we thought we could exploit it more. I was wrong. So we’ll have to work on that and be a lot more efficient, a lot better playing out of the double team.”
Even if the Bears (12-2, 0-1) had taken better care of the ball, they still had no answer for Kane, who shot 11 for 18, had nine assists, eight rebounds and five steals.
“He’s a mismatch nightmare out there, when you have a guy who is 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, strong as an ox and he’s experienced,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said of Kane, who transferred from Marshall in the offseason. “He’s a smart player.”
Melvin Ejim added 18 points for the Cyclones, who outscored Baylor 47-34 in the second half and rolled to a surprisingly decisive win over a fellow Big 12 title contender.
Kane had 17 points in the first half, helping his struggling teammates take a two-point lead. The rest of the Cyclones got untracked early in the second half and blew past the Bears with a 28-12 run.
Gary Franklin and Brady Heslip both had 15 points for Baylor, which saw its win streak snapped at six games.
“We’ve been very good defensively,” Drew said. “We couldn’t do anything with them tonight.”
Baylor couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw to open Big 12. The Cyclones had already beaten ranked teams Michigan and Iowa at home this season and entered play 39-3 in Ames since 2011-12.
The Bears hung around until early in the second half, when Iowa State slowly but surely overwhelmed yet another visitor. The big run came after Baylor had taken a 42-40 lead and quieted the crowd — at least momentarily.
“They just made some great plays,” Heslip said. “We turned the ball over a little bit and at that point, I think we got to taking some quicker shots than we wanted to. We should have worked the shot clock down. But credit to them for turning those mistakes into offense for them and getting the crowd back into the game.”
The Cyclones pushed their lead to 63-51 as Kane, a senior transfer from Marshall, and Monte Morris answered what seemed like a momentum-killing 3 from Heslip with layups.
Prince was called for a flagrant foul on Kane with just under 10 minutes left. Kane hit both free throws, and Naz Long’s 3 put Iowa State ahead 68-54.
This was the first matchup of top 10 teams in Ames in 13 years and could end up having a huge say in the Big 12 title race.
Though Baylor and Iowa State were picked to finish behind Kansas and Oklahoma State, the prospect of the Bears and Cyclones competing for the league title suddenly looks a lot more realistic than it did in November.
The Jayhawks have already lost four times. The Cowboys dropped their Big 12 opener at Kansas State in their first game without center Michael Cobbins, who’s out for the season with an Achilles injury.
Meanwhile, the Bears rolled into league play with just the loss to Syracuse and Iowa State’s start remains the best in school history.
Baylor looked the part early, opening with three straight 3s to put the Cyclones in an early hole. But Kane kept Iowa State afloat with 15 of its first 19 points, and the Cyclones got around Baylor’s size advantage by burying seven 3s for a 40-38 halftime lead.
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