No. 9 Bears can’t rebound, losing 57-56 to Wildcats

By Stephen Hawkins
Associated Press Basketball Writer

WACO — Angel Rodriguez had 15 points and six assists and Kansas State made up for the freshman’s potentially costly turnover in the final seconds as the Wildcats held on for a 57-56 victory at No. 9 Baylor on Saturday.

Rodriguez had an apparent breakaway layup with 13 seconds left after a turnover by Baylor guard Pierre Jackson. But Rodriguez was called for traveling instead, wiping out the basket and giving the Bears one more chance.

Jackson worked the ball up the court for Baylor (22-5, 9-5 Big 12) and got it inside to Quincy Miller, who was surrounded as he tried to get off a game-winning shot. Jordan Henriquez, whose dunk with 1:55 left had put K-State up, was credited with a blocked shot as time expired.

Rodney McGruder also had 15 points for the Wildcats (18-8, 7-7), who had lost their previous two games.

Quincy Acy led Baylor with 14 points.

The Wildcats held on to win after a wild closing sequence.

After Jamar Samuels missed a 3-pointer for Kansas State, Jackson was scrambling for the rebound and falling out of bounds when he threw the ball off Henriquez to keep possession for Baylor.

After the Wildcats called timeout, Jackson hit a 3-pointer to put Baylor up 56-55. The Wildcats regained the lead on the dunk by Henriquez.

On the next Baylor possession, Acy was driving for a layup when he was apparently hit from behind and knocked to the ground. Even though Acy and a defender were sprawled on the ground, no foul was called and K-State had the ball.

Acy blocked a shot with 24 seconds left and Jackson got the ball before his bad pass. McGruder stole the ball and passed ahead to a breaking Rodriguez, who took an extra step before going up for his layup.

Miller had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Baylor. Brady Heslip had 13 points, including three 3-pointers in the first 2:32 of the second half after the Bears had none before halftime.

Kansas State didn’t lead until Rodriguez had a layup and two assists in a 7-0 spurt in a 65-second span by the Wildcats late in the first half.

Will Spradling started it with a long jumper after getting a pass from Rodriguez. Spradling then grabbed the rebound on Quincy Miller’s missed 3-pointer, which led to a breakaway layup by Rodriguez. After Samuels had a steal, Rodriguez got the ball to McGruder for a 3-pointer from the left wing that put K-State up 25-24 with 1:58 left in the half.

Rodriguez, coming off a game with seven turnovers and no points against Kansas, then had a steal and penetrated for a hanging left-handed layup. After Jackson hit two free throws with 5 seconds left, Samuels almost lost control of the ball before gathering himself and hitting a 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 32-28 halftime lead.

Baylor’s only other losses this season were to Kansas and Missouri, the Big 12 co-leaders going into Saturday’s games.

The Bears opened the second half by working the ball around to Heslip in the right corner in front of their bench for a 3-pointer. After Jackson penetrated in the lane and passed to Heslip open in the left corner, he made another 3 for a 36-35 lead. He made another 3 to make it 39-35.

Kansas State regained the lead when Acy inadvertently knocked the ball in while he and Samuels were going for a rebound. That put the Wildcats up 41-40 with 14 minutes left.

There were 12 lead changes in the second half.