Kansas State on point against Baylor

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez played bigger than his Lilliputian counterpart as the No. 10 Wildcats held onto a share of first place in the Big 12 with an 81-61 victory over Baylor on Saturday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
Rodriguez had a double-double with 22 points, 10 assists and only two turnovers, compared with seven points, nine assists and five turnovers for Baylor's Pierre Jackson.
"Kansas State showed why they're the 10th-ranked team in the nation," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Angel was phenomenal. He looked like an All-American out there. Pierre is as good a guard as you'll find in college basketball, and Angel controlled the tempo. To finish with 22 points, 10 assists and two turnovers is amazing.
"You've got to give him credit for getting in the paint. He broke down the defense."
Slowing down Jackson was a goal coming in for Rodriguez.
"He doesn't only score, he makes plays for others," Rodriguez said. "I challenged myself. I take pride in my defense. He leads the league in scoring and assists. I wanted him to get stats below his average. I got that today, so I'm happy."
K-State had stellar efforts from a variety of players. Shane Southwell was 6 of 9 from 3-point range, part of an 11-of-25 barrage for the Wildcats (20-5, 9-3). And Jordan Henriquez had his own double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"We're not going to wear Baylor uniforms next time we play (Henriquez)," Drew said. "He looks like a million bucks every time he plays against us."
Kansas State coach Bruce Weber called the victory a "good team win."
"We talk a lot about playing for 40 minutes against them," he said. "They have a lot of weapons. We talked a lot about being accountable on defense, and we did that.
"We got some inside touches, and some 3s and even some second-chance points."
Besides Rodriguez, the Wildcats had three other players score in double figures: Southwell (18 points), Rodney McGruder (10) and Henriquez (10).
Baylor (16-9, 7-5) was led by A.J. Walton with 14 points, Isaiah Austin with 13 and Brady Heslip with 12.
K-State started the second half with a 5-0 run to open up its largest lead of the game to that point at 43-29, but Baylor answered with a 12-0 run to cut the margin to two. Heslip hit three 3-pointers in the run and Rico Gathers converted a traditional three-point play.
But K-State responded with a 16-4 run of its own. Rodriguez, Southwell (two) and Martavious Irving hit 3-pointers, answered only by Walton's fadeaway jumper and two free throws by Austin to help build a double-digit cushion. Henriquez slammed one in off an alley-oop from Irving, then Thomas Gipson made a layup and the Wildcats once again held a 14-point edge.
"Scoring is important, but you have to get shutouts," Weber said.
Drew echoed the sentiment. "Angel hit a big three," he said, "and we seemed to run out of gas. We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of turnovers."
Rodriguez said it was all attitude.
"When we got in the huddle (after a timeout), the first thing we said was, 'They punched us and we've got to punch them back," he said. "We responded as a team. When you punch somebody and they punch you back, it brings you down. We brought them down and they weren't able to make another run."
Kansas State used a 9-0 run late in the first half to open a 12-point cushion at 36-24 and finished the first half up 38-29. That was critical to withstand the big Baylor run early in the second half.
After a back-and-forth start, Baylor used a 10-2 run to grab a 16-12 lead midway through the half. But a quick 11-0 run, keyed by a 3-pointer by Rodriguez and two by Southwell, helped the Wildcats assume the lead. The Wildcats made 6 of 12 3-pointers in the half.
The outside shooting was critical for Kansas State as the Wildcats hit just 9 of 22 inside the arc.
NOTES: Baylor was seeking multiple road wins against ranked teams in the same season for the first time in program history. ... Baylor has held three Big 12 opponents below 50 points this season after compiling three such efforts in the first 16 years in the conference. ... Kansas State entered the game with the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Big 12 at 2.5. The Wildcats finished with 20 assists compared with six turnovers ... The Wildcats had averaged a conference-low 11.9 turnovers coming into the game.

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