Kansas St.-Baylor Preview
Outstanding bench play continues to play an integral part in Baylor's success.
The reserves could again see ample time Wednesday night when the No. 13 Bears try to match a Ferrell Center record with their 15th consecutive victory and hand Kansas State a 10th straight Big 12 road defeat.
Starting guard Lester Medford's 3-pointer at the buzzer sent Baylor (14-3, 4-1) to its fourth consecutive win, 63-60 at Texas Tech on Saturday. However, coach Scott Drew was more impressed the Bears' 26 bench points, 12 of which came from sophomore forward Terry Maston.
“It's nice to know that any given night you can get a good lift off the bench,” said Drew, who whose team missed seven free throws but shot 50 percent from the field.
“You've got to have that depth, because we had a couple guys get in foul trouble (Saturday) … just pleased with that.”
Providing reinforcement to the likes of starters Taurean Prince (14.8 points per game), Rico Gathers (12.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg) and Al Freeman (12.7 ppg), Baylor's reserves average 25.9 points and a league-leading 53.4 percent shooting.
Backup forward Johnathan Motley is fourth on the team with 10.7 points and Maston (7.5) has averaged 14.0 in the last three. The duo had all but four of the Bears' 44 bench points in a 94-89 road win over then-No. 13 Iowa State on Jan. 9.
“That's the great thing about the bench is you look at it and some of our best basketball is played when they're in the game,” Drew said.
Baylor got 27 points from its reserves in a 69-42 home rout of Kansas State (11-6, 1-4) on Feb. 21 that began its current run at home. The Bears won an arena-record 15 in a row spanning the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
They've averaged 82.7 points and 49.4 percent shooting while winning their 11 home games this season. Maston scored a career-high 17 and pulled down six rebounds as Baylor shot 63.3 percent and held a 36-19 rebounding advantage in last Wednesday's 82-54 home rout of TCU.
“Try to keep getting wins and protect our home court,” Freeman said. “We get excited about our next game.”
Baylor's eagerness might not bode well for Kansas State, which has dropped 17 of 19 league games away from home and ranks last in the Big 12 with a field-goal percentage defense of 49.3 in its four road contests.
The Wildcats, second-to-last in the conference at 42.7 percent on their own shots, hit 37.7 percent and went 4 for 21 from 3-point range in Saturday's 76-63 home loss to Iowa State. The Cyclones shot 50.9 percent.
“We cannot panic,” said senior guard Justin Edwards, who matched a season high with 19 points. “I know we are going to bounce back and get our wins. We need to be composed and get in the gym and work, get in practice and work. We are going to keep getting better.”
Kansas State freshman Barry Brown averaged 17.3 points and 47.1 percent shooting in the first four Big 12 games but missed nine of 10 shots and scored four Saturday.
The Wildcats have yielded averages of 82.3 points and 50.2 percent from the floor while going 0-4 against ranked teams this season.
Prince totaled 34 points and nine steals off the bench as Baylor split last season's two-game series with Kansas State.