By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
The late season woes continued for No. 9 Baylor on Saturday as it fell for the fifth time in eight games with a score of 72-69 to Iowa State.
Senior guard Deonte Burton scored 22 points, including 15 in the first half to lead Iowa State. The Cyclones hit seven of 10 free throws in the final minute to hold off Baylor as junior guard Al Freeman’s three-pointer at the buzzer fell off the mark.
Not only did Burton lead Iowa State in scoring, but he also came up with two of the biggest plays in the game for the Cyclones.
After junior forward Johnathan Motley cut the lead 62-61 with a dunk with just under two minutes left. Burton answered the call by banking in his second three-point field goal of the game and pushed the Cyclones’ lead back to four points with 1:16 left on the clock.
Even Baylor head coach Scott Drew said that Burton’s three-pointer was huge.
“I don’t know if he called glass on that one,” Drew said. “But it was definitely the biggest play of the game.”
Motley said he couldn’t believe it went in either.
Following two free throws by Iowa State, freshman forward Solomon Young came up with a steal that resulted in pushing the lead back to eight.
Iowa State placed three others in double figures in the scoring column. Senior guard Monte Morris finished with 17 points and seven assists while not committing a turnover. Young finished with 11 points and senior guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long finished with 10 points and five assists.
One key for Iowa State was winning the turnover battle as they forced Baylor into 11 while only committing five. The Cyclones then converted those miscues into 15 points.
Baylor opened the second half strong taking a six point lead at 42-36 within the first four minutes. But the Cyclones would then use a 22-9 to run over the next eight minutes to gain control of the game before the Bears’ rally ultimately fell short.
Baylor completely controlled the glass against an undersized Iowa State team, out-rebounding the Cyclones 37-17 and 20-3 on the offensive end. The Bears turned those offensive rebounds into 26-second chance points.
Motley finished with yet another double-double. He finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Freeman finished with 17 points, including hitting all five of his three-point attempts and senior guard Ishmail Wainwright finished with 14 points.
Junior guard Manu Lecomte exited early in the second half for Baylor due to an injury. He was held scoreless for the first time this season in 15 minutes of action.
With the win, Iowa State improves to 19-9 overall, 11-5 in Big 12 play and into a tie for second in the conference with West Virginia.
Morris said that Iowa State’s recent success all comes down to team chemistry.
“This team is peaking,” Morris said. “We trust in each other and winning five games in a row in this league isn’t easy if you don’t trust each other.”
The win also snaps a five-game losing streak to Baylor. The Bears defeated the Cyclones in their earlier matchup 65-63 in Waco back on Jan. 5.
Baylor drops to 23-6 and 10-6 in the conference. The Bears sit alone in fourth place but have an opportunity to move back up in the standings when they host West Virginia at 6 p.m. Monday on Senior Night at the Ferrell Center.