MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Al Freeman and Taurean Prince couldn’t have been much more efficient for Baylor on Wednesday night.
Neither could the rest of the Bears when they strolled to the foul line.
Freeman scored 21 points on 6-of-7 shooting, Prince added 18 on 6-of-8 from the floor, and the No. 21 Bears made all but one of their 30 foul shots in beating cold-shooting Kansas State, 82-72.
“Who missed the one?” Baylor coach Scott Drew said with a grin.
That would be King McClure, but it was hardly a reason to quibble.
Baylor (18-6, 7-4) opened on an 8-2 run, led by as many as 14 in the first half and never trailed despite playing without leading scorer Rico Gathers, whose school-record streak of 132 games played ended when the rebounding stud skipped the trip due to an illness.
Lester Medford added 13 points and nine assists for Baylor, which edged Kansas State in overtime in Waco last month and has won five of the last six in the series.
“People were locked in, focused, and it took all that to beat Kansas State. They’re tremendous,” Drew said. “We didn’t have to motivate our guys at all coming off two losses.”
The Wildcats (14-10, 3-8) were 2 of 14 from beyond the arc, getting their only 3-pointers from Justin Edwards in the final minute. His first made it 72-65 with 58.3 seconds left, and his second after two free throws by Baylor’s Ishmail Wainwright made it 74-68 with 47.4 seconds to go.
They weren’t enough to bail out the Wildcats, though.
“I guess we didn’t deal with success very well,” said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, whose team beat then-No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday. “My whole theme was to come angry, come mad, show people that we are a good team, that it’s not a one-time wonder.”
Edwards finished with 19 points, and D.J. Johnson had a career-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds for the Wildcats, whose 10 losses have all been to teams ranked in the Top 25.
Leading scorer Wesley Iwundu, who had 22 points in the win over the Sooners, was held to 11 while struggling with his shot. Freshman standout Dean Wade managed five while dealing with foul trouble most of the night, and big man Stephen Hurt was held to four points and three rebounds.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game. It was a tough game at our place,” Freeman said. “I thought we played great, unselfish. I was really proud of my teammates.”
Kansas State was never able to take advantage of Gathers’ absence inside, instead opening the game in sloppy fashion. During one first-half stretch, Iwundu dribbled the ball off his knee and Edwards and Barry Brown threw passes to nobody — three of Kansas State’s 12 first-half turnovers.
The Wildcats made a brief run midway to trim their deficit to 27-24, but Prince and Freeman knocked down back-to-back 3s, and Prince added six more points down the stretch for a 43-32 halftime lead.
Prince remained hot early in the second half, hitting another 3-pointer and doing a good job of getting to the foul line. His two free throws made it 53-42 with 15:07 left.
Kansas State made a final run in the closing minutes, but the Bears were stoic from the free-throw line. They finished the game 29 of 30, never giving the Wildcats a chance to catch up.
“They were very focused,” Weber said. “All the words coaches use, they were.”
Without Gathers in the paint, the Bears were outrebounded 35-25 and beaten in 15-6 in second-chance points. Baylor only had six offensive rebounds while Kansas State had 19. “We battled as much as we could inside,” Drew said. “Offensively, we were very good.”
Baylor: Wainwright had seven points and six boards. … Baylor was coming off losses to Texas and West Virginia. … Medford was 11 for 11 from the foul line.
Kansas State: Wade and Brown were involved in a minor car accident Tuesday. Nobody was injured and both played as usual. … Kansas State has not gone without a 3-pointer since March 22, 2008, in the NCAA Tournament against Wisconsin.
Baylor: plays Texas Tech on Saturday.
Kansas State: visits Oklahoma State on Saturday.
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