No. 2 seed Iowa State ends No. 3 seed Baylor men’s basketball Big 12 tourney run in semifinals

Senior forward Caleb Lohner (33) tied a season-high in points (12) and minutes (21) on Friday after matching a season-high with seven rebounds in Thursday's win over Cincinnati. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Cannon Fritz | Sports Intern

No. 3 seed Baylor men’s basketball fell to No. 2 seed Iowa State 76-62 in the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships on Friday night in the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The Bears (23-10) entered the game as one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, but they shot just 21% from deep on Friday. The Cyclones (26-7) shot 50% from deep and scored 16 points off 13 Baylor turnovers.

Senior guard RayJ Dennis told reporters in the locker room that the team needed to find more ways to score than from beyond the arc.

“We shot a lot of threes tonight, and we have to find something else — get to the paint,” Dennis said. “In the second half, we did a good job drawing fouls, so I think we have to use that to our advantage.”

Outside of senior forward Jalen Bridges (20), freshman center Yves Missi (14) and senior forward Caleb Lohner (12), the Bears struggled to find offensive production. The three were the only Baylor players in double-figure scoring.

Bridges added 12 rebounds, racking up his second double-double of the year. Missi pulled down 11 boards, giving him his fifth double-double of the season.

Iowa State senior guard Curtis Jones finished with 13 points while sophomore guard Tamin Lipsey and senior forward Hason Ward both recorded 10 points for the Cyclones. They will move on to play No. 1 seed Houston in the Big 12 championship game at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the same venue.

Iowa State jumped on Baylor early, as it took a 9-1 lead and forced a timeout by Bears head coach Scott Drew just over two minutes into the game. Bridges’ 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep kept Baylor in the game, but the Cyclones led 35-27 at the halftime break.

The rest of the Bears’ roster was a combined 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Baylor found more scoring in the second half but still couldn’t hit the three ball. That, paired with Iowa State’s ability to shoot 5-for-10 from 3-point land in both halves, made it tough for the Bears to get within striking distance.

Baylor trailed by as much as 20 with two minutes to go, but an 8-2 run to close the game set up the 14-point loss.

“Obviously want to win this tournament, but hats off to Iowa State,” Drew said in a postgame press conference. “They really played well, really shot it well. Some of that is on our defense; some of that is credit deserved to them.

“Ninety-two percent from the free throw line, 50 from 3, 45 from the field, only six turnovers, so really efficient there. I was pleased with how we rebounded the basketball, but other than that, we didn’t play our best game. Hopefully we can make sure we do that for the [NCAA] tournament.”

Despite the semifinal exit from the Big 12 tournament, the Bears are projected to be a No. 3 seed for the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection Show will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday on CBS.