IOWA STATE (8-7) AT #2 BAYLOR (13-1)
8 p.m. ET; ESPN+
It’s hard to have a better week than No. 2 Baylor experienced last week.
In Big 12 Conference road wins at Texas Tech and Kansas, a pair of Top 25 teams, the Bears held both opponents to the lowest point total in a home game during their coach’s tenure. A 67-55 defeat of the Jayhawks on Saturday was Baylor’s first win at Allen Fieldhouse.
The rewards were numerous. The Bears jumped Kansas and Duke in the Associated Press poll from No. 4 to No. 2, ranking only behind Gonzaga, and also had the Big 12’s Player of the Week (Jared Butler) and co-Newcomer of the Week (MaCio Teague).
Newly decorated and just one spot away from the top, Baylor aims to avoid a letdown Wednesday night when it hosts Iowa State at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
The Bears (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) have won 12 straight since a Nov. 8 loss to Washington in Anchorage, Alaska, relying on stingy defense and the scoring of Butler and Teague.
“We try to turn our defense into offense,” Teague said after the victory at Kansas. “We tried to lock in defensively. We had a bad night shooting the ball, but our effort on defense is what keeps us going on offense, so we’re just trying to stay that way defensively.”
Opponents do nothing well against Baylor. The Bears allow just 58.1 points per game (sixth in the NCAA through Sunday) on 37.9 percent field-goal shooting (22nd). They also defend the 3-pointer well, permitting just a 30.7 percent accuracy rate, and own a plus-5.9 rebounding margin.
Butler pumped in a game-high 22 points against the Jayhawks, boosting his team-high average to 16.7 points per game. Teague chipped in 16 to up his mark to 14.6.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones (8-7, 1-2) picked up their first conference win Saturday night in decisive fashion, routing Oklahoma 81-68 in Ames, Iowa.
The score was somewhat flattering to the Sooners, who trailed by 26 points early in the second half and only made the final margin respectable after Iowa State emptied its bench at the end.
Rasir Bolton tallied a game-high 23 points for the Cyclones, who also got 15 points and eight assists from guard Tyrese Haliburton. Iowa State canned 12 of 32 shots from the 3-point arc and finished at 47.8 percent from the field.
Haliburton is leading Iowa State in scoring at 16.6 points per game, followed by Bolton at 15.1. Those two are second and third in rebounds per game at 5.9 and 5.7, respectively, behind forward Michael Jacobson’s 6.0.
“It was great to play well at home and make shots and compete,” Cyclones coach Steve Prohm said. “Our guys really competed well on the defensive end. We gave up no offensive rebounds in the first half. Offensively, the ball moved and the guys executed some things I had talked about.”
For Iowa State, the result snapped a three-game losing streak that started on New Year’s Eve at home against one-win Florida A&M.
–Field Level Media