Two straight years the trip to Waco ends with a blowout loss for the Wildcats.
Ish Massoud knocked down the Wildcats first attempt, dropping from long range to put the Cats up 3-0 less than a minute into the game. But it was all Baylor from there as the Kansas State Wildcats fall 74-49 to the No. 4/4 Baylor Bears on Tuesday night in Waco in a game eerily reminiscent of the blowout in Waco last season.
Massoud got his first start in several games, and repaid that start with a quick early basket. But then the Wildcats went cold quickly, as the Bears built a 9-3 lead over the next four minutes before Nijel Pack hit a floater in the lane to try and stem the tide. Except that it didn’t really do much, and the Bears piled on to a 16-6 lead at the second media timeout, with the lone point from K-State off of a trip to the free throw line for Kaosi Ezeagu (missed the first, made the second).
The run would eventually balloon to 18-3 in favor of the Bears before the Wildcats could finally get the lid back off the basket with under eight minutes to play thanks to a Mike McGuirl cut to the basket. But again, it didn’t help much and the Cats couldn’t build with a second shot before Baylor made another 8-3 run before the Wildcats got a break at the under-8 media timeout.
The only real break in the Baylor run was a pair of nonsensical technicals – one issued to Selton Miguel after a dunk, followed by one on Baylor’s Matthew Mayer after a dunk on the other end. It was a bizarre series of events that had the announcers, sportswriters across the country, and fans of both teams completely baffled.
Regardless, by the end of the first half the Bears had handed the WIldcats their biggest deficit of the season 39-21. The story of the half was again rebounding and turnovers, with the Bears out-rebounding the Cats 21-12, with the Cats collecting just four offensive rebounds despite missing 19 shots, shooting a frigid 26.4% from the field and 15.4% from behind the arc. The turnovers were on-paper pretty equal, 8-7 Cats, but five of those were credited as steals to Baylor but were passes just thrown away by the Cats.
The second half didn’t start great either, as Selton Miguel went down early with an apparent ankle injury and needed to be carried off by Bruce Weber and Kaosi Ezeagu (and would later get assisted to the locker room). But then Markquis Nowell, who had been non-existent for the Cats in the first half, scored a quick seven points before the first media timeout to give K-State some hope. But again it was short lived, as the Bears came out of the break with ramped up defensive effort and 7-0 run to push the lead to 21 before Nowell could make another basket. A couple of back-and-forth possessions with no baskets ended when Mike McGuirl stepped in front of a pass for a breakaway dunk just before the under-12 media timeout to bring the deficit back to 17.
It was the closest the Cats would get to the Bears again.
The Bears went on a 10-5 run that felt like more to push the lead back out to 22 headed to the next media timeout. And then a 10-6 run over the next period to push the lead out to 26. The starters came out with 1:31 left and the Bears up 74-45, and four Wildcats points against the walk-ons was even tough to come by.
Nijel Pack scored 13 to lead the Cats, and was joined by Markquis Nowell in double figures with 11. Mark Smith led the team with six rebounds, though a couple of those came in the closing seconds of the game. Baylor’s LJ Cryer led all scorers with 14, while both Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (13pts-12reb) and Kendall Brown (10pts-11reb) had double-doubles for the Bears.
K-State shot better in the second half, but still finished at 31.7% from the field for the game, and just 21.7% from behind the arc. And on top of the abysmal scoring effort, the Wildcats were out-rebounded 39-28, with the gap closing somewhat in the waning minutes of the game.
What We Learned
- If we didn’t already know it, K-State’s big men are a serious problem. Carlton Linguard gets too few minutes to find out if he’s even a replacement-level player, but Davion Bradford and Kaosi Ezeagu are not capable of playing at this level right now. And when Ish Massoud isn’t hitting outside shots, he’s a liability on the court.
- The guards are really good, but can’t do it all by themselves. Nijel Pack and Markquis Nowell again combined to pace the team scoring. Selton Miguel and Mark Smith led the team in rebounding, despite Miguel missing most of the second half. But Baylor’s length was a serious problem for K-State’s guards all night long.
- Any goodwill this program bought after two straight wins is already gone, with the collapse against KU and this total blowout at the hand of Baylor. A win this weekend is needed to avoid a complete collapse.
Next up for the Wildcats is the Big 12/SEC Challenge game against Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday afternoon.