Nothing will completely erase the memories of Collin Klein and the Wildcats football team falling in Waco on November 17th. It cost them a shot at the national title, but in retrospect that may have been a good thing given how easily Alabama steamrolled Notre Dame, and the K-State lost by 18 to Oregon in the Fiesta. While there may not have been as much at stake on the hardwood yesterday, the fact that the Wildcats rolled the Baylor Bears by 20 points (81-61) does make me feel better. Revenge is a dish best served cold after all.
The win pushed Kansas State’s record in conference to 9-3 and kept them tied at the top of the Big 12 standings with both Oklahoma State and Kansas. Also of note, their ninth conference victory ensures that they will finish 0.500 or better in the league for the 7th straight year.
On the night Baylor was simply no match for the Wildcats. The Bears managed to hold a lead for a meager total of 4 minutes and 12 seconds. Their last advantage evaporated when Shane Southwell hit one of his six three pointers with 8:19 left in the first half. From that point forward it was all Kansas State. They surged to a nine point lead at the break and put the hammer down in the second half outscoring the Bears 43-32.
Southwell had a big game racking up 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes of play. He was 6-12 from the floor and only three of his attempts came from inside the three point line. Jordan Henriquez also showed up with a 10 point, 10 rebound, 5 block line in 29 minutes. It was the first time this season that he scored in double digits and was obviously his first double-double of the year. Rodney McGruder chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds but it was Angel Rodriguez that stole the show and was the star for the ‘Cats. He wound up with a 22 point, 10 assist double-double that was augmented by 5 rebounds, 3 steals and just 2 turnovers. The blowout victory also afforded sophomore Shawn Meyer the opportunity to score his first two points of the season with 14 seconds left.
Baylor’s stud freshman center Isaiah Austin was held under his scoring and rebounding averages with 13 and 6 respectively. Brady Heslip hit 4 three pointers and had an even dozen points but the rest of his stat line was filled with goose eggs. Senior guard A.J. Walton scored 14 points to lead the team while the team’s leading scorer, Pierre Jackson struggled with his shot. He was just 2-8 from the floor and finished with seven points – an output less than half his 18.4 ppg season average. Jackson did kick out 9 assists but also turned the ball over 5 times.
With the loss, the Bears (16-9, 7-5) are locked in a three way tie for fourth with Oklahoma and Iowa State. All three teams are a full 2 games back of the trio tied for the league lead at 9-3. Speaking of the Cyclones (17-8, 7-5), they will be Baylor’s next opponent on Wednesday in Waco.
#10 K-State (20-5, 9-3) won’t have long to revel in their convincing win. They will host West Virginia (13-12, 6-6) and welcome back Bob Huggins tomorrow at 8 pm and are the featured game in the second half of ESPN’s Big Monday coverage. The Wildcats will be going for the season sweep after winning by one point on the road in Morgantown just over a month ago.