Bears stumble in Big 12 quarterfinals for third straight year

Baylor guard Mario Kegler (4) lands on the floor after being fouled by Iowa State forward Michael Jacobson, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, March 14, 2019. Associated Press

By Ben Everett | Sports Editor

No. 4-seeded Baylor men’s basketball fell to No. 5-seeded Iowa State 83-66 Thursday in Kansas City, Mo. in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.

After defeating the Cyclones twice during the regular season, the Bears couldn’t manage the three-game season sweep as they fell in the quarterfinals for the third straight year.

The Iowa State offense stole the show on Thursday at the Sprint Center. The Cyclones shot 13-for-25 from 3-point range and made a sizzling 52 percent of their field goals.

Iowa State forwards Marial Shayok and Talen Horton-Tucker led the way, combining for 39 points and draining a total of nine 3-pointers.

Baylor was led by senior guard Makai Mason and sophomore forward Mario Kegler, who notched 14 and 16 points, respectively.

The Bears (19-13) will now await their NCAA Tournament fate at home. Baylor currently projects as a No. 8 seed by ESPN and SB Nation and a No. 9 seed by CBS Sports.

A bid to the Big Dance would mark a return for the Bears after missing out last season. Baylor made the NCAA Tournament four straight times from 2014 to 2017 before competing in the NIT last year.

The Cyclones came out firing in the first half, starting 4-for-5 from the field to take a 10-6 lead into the first media timeout. Mason kept the Bears in the game early with two deep 3-pointers.

Baylor weathered the early storm and didn’t surrender the lead for almost six minutes, but Horton-Tucker caught fire to help the Cyclones to a 24-22 lead at the 7:32 mark of the first half.

A three-minute scoring drought late in the first half hampered the Bears as they trailed the Cyclones 38-29 at halftime. Horton-Tucker led the way for Iowa State at the break with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.

The Bears switched to a zone defense to open the second half, but immediately paid for it. Iowa State freshman guard Tyrese Halliburton knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 10-3 Cyclone run as the Bears trailed 48-34 early in the second period.

In a scramble for a loose ball, Mason took a knee to the thigh and came up hobbling. He stayed in the game, but the Cyclones kept rolling, holding 57-44 lead at the under-12 media timeout.

Iowa State continued its impressive shotmaking down the stretch and the Bears could not keep up, ultimately falling 83-66.

Baylor will learn where it stands in the NCAA Tournament during the Selection Show at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS.