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Baylor blasts Kansas State 69-42

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Updated 12 months ago on
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WACO, Texas — It took Baylor a while to find the right combination, but the 20th-ranked Bears finally knocked out wobbly Kansas State.

Baylor forward Taurean Prince tallied 14 points and five assists and led the way during the Bears’ key second-half run to put away the Wildcats 69-42 on Saturday at Ferrell Center.

Baylor used a 12-2 run midway through the second half as Prince contributed six points and forward Rico Gathers added a pair of layups to help give the Bears an 18-point cushion with 8:33 left.

The Bears kept Kansas State back by forcing nine turnovers and holding the Wildcats to 30 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes. On the other end, Baylor clicked well enough to post 24 assists and shoot 49 percent.

“We came out to a slow start in the second half. Luckily they weren’t hitting many shots and they were kind of turning the ball over just as much as us,” Baylor forward Rico Gathers said. “We made sure we buckled down on defense and just shared the ball and moved the ball around. When you’re moving the ball around that well, that’s great basketball.”

Kansas State couldn’t get back within double digits and lost for the seventh time in its last eight games. The Wildcats (13-15, 6-9 Big 12) have to make a quick turnaround and host eighth-ranked Kansas on Monday.

“You got your butts kicked,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “It happens. They’re good and we needed to make a couple plays there. We needed somebody to be special tonight, and we just didn’t get anybody to play at that magic level.”

The Bears (20-7, 8-6) salvaged a regular-season split with Kansas State after losing to the Wildcats (13-15, 6-9) in Manhattan, Kan., earlier in Big 12 play.

On Saturday, Gathers notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Lester Medford scored 12 points, guard Al Freeman added 11 and forward Royce O’Neale had 10.

“You love that as a coach and you love it when guys are looking for each other,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “It helps when you’ve made shots too. When they’re making those shots and everybody’s pointing and congratulating one another, it just feeds.”

Forward Thomas Gipson led the Wildcats with 11 points and six rebounds.

Baylor came out scoring in triplicate to open up a double-digit lead in the first half.

Gathers completed a 3-point play and Baylor hit five of its first eight 3-pointers to take a 20-8 lead with 11:57 remaining. Medford led the charge, hitting a pair of treys, and Prince and Freeman and guard Kenny Chery each hit from long range during the run.

“We got our crowd into it,” Gathers said. “I feel like (the Baylor 3-point shooters) feel themselves when we play here to get off to a good shooting start. That’s really what helps us sustain a lead.”

But Kansas State used a 6-0 mini-run to keep Baylor from running away. Forwards Nino Williams and Gipson and guard Marcus Foreman each contributed baskets as the Wildcats fought back.

Baylor cooled off briefly but finished the first half shooting 46 percent. The Bears led 39-25 by attacking Kansas State with balanced scoring. No Baylor player scored in double figures, but six Bears scored five or more in the first 20 minutes.

Baylor didn’t post a field goal for almost eight minutes to start the second half.

The Wildcats scored the first eight points to cut Baylor’s lead to 39-33, but the Wildcats didn’t get closer than six points.

Gathers made a layup with 12:04 left to end the drought and put the Bears ahead 44-34.

“You’ve got to make some plays then and really put some pressure on them,” Weber said. “I thought they got really stagnant. But we didn’t and we let them get back in transition, and that was it.”

NOTES: Kansas State defeated Baylor 63-61 in Manhattan, Kan., in the teams’ first meeting this season as F Nino Williams led the Wildcats with 18 points. … Baylor reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth straight season and the seventh time in the last eight. … Kansas State and Baylor, which were playing for the 32nd time, first met in

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