By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter
The No. 2 Baylor men’s basketball was able to put Saturday’s loss behind them and knock off Kansas State at home Tuesday night by a score of 85-66. That score was actually closer than the game itself, as Baylor led by around thirty points for much of the night.
Baylor improved its record to 25-2 overall and 14-1 in the Big 12, keeping pace with Kansas atop the conference.
The Bears came out with a lot of energy, especially defensively, and took control of the game early. Five minutes into the game, Baylor was up 11-2. With 6:26 left in the first half, Baylor was up 32-14.
While the Bears did have some turnovers, including six in the first 10 minutes of the game, the team’s gritty defense more than made up for its mistakes on offense.
Redshirt sophomore guard Davion Mitchell said that defense is something the team emphasizes every game.
“I think every night we pride ourselves on our defensive side,” Mitchell said. “I think tonight we were really good keeping them on the side and putting pressure on their guards.”
Despite minor set backs, Baylor’s offense was still lethal Tuesday night, as the team put up 50 points in the first half alone. Five Bears scored in double-digits, with sophomore forward Matthew Mayer coming off the bench to lead the team with 19 points on just seven shot attempts from the field.
Senior forward Freddie Gillespie had 10 points and 11 rebounds, five offensive, giving him a double-double for the game. Mitchell also had a double-double, contributing 14 points and 10 assists.
Mitchell wasn’t the only one finding open teammates, as the Bears had 19 assists against Kansas State on 28 made shots.
Unlike Saturday, Baylor shot well from the free throw line and the three point line. Baylor made 13 of its 28 attempts from beyond the arc and shot nearly 90 percent from the charity stripe.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew said that the team showed its character in the way it bounced back tonight.
“I think that’s one of the strengths our team all year long,” Drew said. “We showed up, we played, we competed. There was no mental lapse or let-down after our last home game. . . definitely a lot of toughness, a lot of good leadership from the upperclassmen.”
Baylor is still dealing with a few injuries this season. Redshirt junior guard Macio Teague, who came back from a wrist injury in the last game, looked back in form Tuesday with 13 points, two assists, and two steals.
However, junior forward Tristan Clark did not fare as well in his recovery. Drew said that Clark was unavailable due to a nagging knee injury that caused him to miss multiple games earlier in the season, but he expects Clark to be available for their next game on Saturday.
Baylor plays at 1 p.m. Saturday on the road against TCU in Fort Worth.