Baylor ends skid, knocks off Kansas State at rowdy Ferrell Center

by dentonramsey

Baylor ends skid, knocks off Kansas State at rowdy Ferrell Center

By Denton Ramsey, NCAA Sportswriter/Big 12 Fans Baylor Correspondent

 

WACO, Texas – The Baylor Bears men’s basketball team is back on track.

And Head Coach Scott Drew couldn’t be happier about his young team’s terrific turnaround.

After dropping four straight conference contests, Baylor (18-8, 6-6) used a solid second half surge in a 92-86 come-from-behind victory over Kansas State (18-8, 8-4) on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Ferrell Center.

“After the last two press conferences, this one’s a lot more enjoyable for our coaching staff and players,” Drew said. “I’m very proud of the team effort. We did a great job in the second half holding them to 37 percent [shooting], and then us only missing two free throws and shooting a high percentage at 58 percent, where we really moved the ball and took high-percentage shots. Much needed win; it feels great.”

Saturday’s win comes at a good time for the Big 12’s Bears, pulling BU into a four-way tie for fourth place after both Kansas and Texas A&M fell on a college hardwood day filled with upsets.

“I really felt that down the stretch, everybody made big plays,” Drew said. “I was also very pleased because I know how tough the last couple of games have been, not only on our players, but also on our fans, and it was great to see them be rewarded after a couple of sleepless nights as well.”

Curtis Jerrells led the way for Baylor, netting 24 points and dishing out seven assists in the Bears six-point win over the No. 24 Wildcats.

“I can assure you, I stepped up to the free throw line for the first time, and I saw OU players and OU fans, and I kind of couldn’t put it past me,” Jerrells said. “Kool [LaceDarius Dunn] here, he kind of got into me when I was shooting those last ones. I told him he kind of ticked me off, but he did what he had to do to make me mad and to make me not miss, so that was a good job.

“My teammates did a good job of picking me up, [along with] my family, my friends and coach. I really wanted to blame myself for it, but those guys picked me up and put me over the hump.”

Four of Jerrells’ teammates also hit double figures in scoring, with Kevin Rogers (18 points and 10 rebounds), LaceDarius Dunn (16 points, seven rebounds and two steals), Tweety Carter (12 points and three assists) and Aaron Bruce (11 points) all chipping in as Baylor ended a four-game Big 12 skid.

“We still have a couple of games left, so I don’t want to talk too soon and say something out of line,” Rogers said. “We just came out and played as a team today and did some things that we weren’t doing in those last two games, and fortunately we came out with a victory.”

Baylor fell behind early before a hot shooting streak briefly put the Bears on top, but shortly thereafter BU lost some momentum as the Kansas State Wildcats took a 44-38 lead into halftime.

“That’s the reason that we did what we did in the offseason; for the last five minutes of games, to try to close those things out because we lost so many close ones last year,” Rogers said. “In a game like this, that offseason work really paid off.”

The second half was all Baylor, as the Bears battled back from a short-lived deficit and regained control of a must-win game against a very talented Wildcats basketball team – as Kansas State’s Michael Beasley set a new conference record with 44 points to go along with 13 rebounds.

“I don’t know if there’s a better two-man performance that I’ve seen personally than what Beasley and [Bill] Walker put on, but the big thing that I look at is our bench,” Drew said. “Our bench had 32 points and their bench had five, so again it was a great team effort.

“The other thing is that I thought we did a very good job on the boards considering that they’re so good on the boards. Kevin [Rogers] had 10, LaceDarius [Dunn] had seven, and I think we did a very good job limiting them to not as many boards as they normally get.”

Kansas State’s Walker added 31 points for the Wildcats – as he and teammate Beasley contributed to a majority of the KSU scoring.

“All week coach’s been talking about playing as a team, and when we went into halftime, those two guys were beating us by themselves,” Jerrells said. “It takes a team, and you see that we had five guys in double figures, and we just outplayed them as a team tonight.”

The Bears next challenge comes on Wednesday, Feb. 27, as Baylor travels to Colorado to face the Buffalos in an effort to gain ground in the race for a postseason birth.

“Every game is big in the Big 12,” Drew said. “Every game matters, and we’re just going to focus one at a time.”

Baylor’s match-up with Colorado on Wednesday is slated to tip off at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised live (locally) on FSN Southwest.

 

Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at denton.ramsey@gmail.com

 

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