Playing four ranked teams in the span of four games finally caught up with Kansas State.
The Wildcats were no match for Baylor during a 74-49 loss on Tuesday at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. It was their most lopsided defeat of the season … by a wide margin.
K-State (10-9, 2-6 Big 12) has struggled at times to close out games this year, but the Wildcats have almost always been competitive. Seven of their eight losses have come by single digits. The only double-digit loss before this came by 13 against Texas when the Wildcats only had seven scholarship players available. They also started this difficult stretch of ranked games by beating Texas Tech and the Longhorns.
But No. 4 Baylor (18-2, 6-2) was the far superior team on this night.
L.J. Cryer led the Bears with 14 points. Nijel Pack paced the Wildcats with 13 points. Baylor dominated on the glass and out-rebounded K-State by a margin of 39-28.
Up next for K-State is a road game against Mississippi in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday. That will be a big one for the Wildcats. There is still time for them to make a push for the NCAA Tournament, but they will need to start picking up wins now that the hardest part of their schedule is behind them.
Here are some key takeaways from K-State’s loss against Baylor:
No encore for Nijel Pack
K-State guard Nijel Pack had the best game of his life over the weekend when he drained eight three-pointers and scored a career-high 35 points in a narrow loss against Kansas.
He was red hot against the Jayhawks.
But he dropped to the other end of the heat spectrum while playing the Bears. Pack made 4 of 12 shots and finished with 13 points. That was still enough to lead his team, but not nearly enough to make this a game. At least not with more help from his teammates. Markquis Nowell was the only other K-State player in double digits with 11 points. Baylor did a nice job of preventing Pack, K-State’s leading scorer, from catching the ball in his favorite spots and he never got into a rhythm.
That led to a low-scoring game from the Wildcats as a team. They made only 32% of their shots from the field and averaged .778 points per possession.
Big 12 refs are calling too many technical fouls
A strange sequence of events led to a pair of quick technical fouls in the first half of this game.
Fans of both teams were left screaming at the officials when it was over.
Few could blame them for being upset. Big 12 refs have called far too many technical fouls this season when they spot players celebrating a big play.
On Tuesday, both K-State guard Selton Miguel and Baylor guard Matthew Mayer flashed puzzled looks when they were assessed technical fouls for showing emotion after they dunked the basketball.
Miguel drove to the basket and threw down a dunk with Baylor defender Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua in his face. Miguel appeared to celebrate by screaming with excitement as he ran back up the floor on defense. That was deemed taunting, resulting in a technical foul.
A few seconds later, Mayer threw down a dunk of his own. Then he celebrated by patting the top of his head twice with his right hand. That was also deemed taunting.
What is going on here?
There is a difference between legitimately taunting an opposing player and celebrating. Big 12 officials have failed to recognize that difference too many times this season. It’s probably time for them to reconsider their stance on those fouls.
In no other sport does a player get penalized for patting the top of his head.
Insult and injury
There is no shame in losing at Baylor.
The Bears are one of the best teams in the country, and they have been a bad matchup for the Wildcats in recent years because of their impressive mixture of athleticism, length and depth. This was a potential let-down spot for K-State, especially coming off an emotionally draining loss to rival Kansas.
In that sense, this might be an easy result for the Wildcats to put behind them.
Problem is, they didn’t leave Waco healthy. Miguel, a sophomore guard who has started eight straight games, suffered an injury to his left ankle early in the second half and he was unable to finish the game.
Miguel couldn’t put any weight on his left foot following the injury, and he needed help from K-State head coach Bruce Weber and a trainer to exit the floor. Miguel watched most of the second half from the bench with his left foot elevated on a chair, but he eventually limped his way to the locker room.
That is not a good sign for his future availability.
It could be difficult for K-State to make up for Miguel if he is forced to miss games. The Wildcats will likely lean more on Mike McGuirl and Luke Kasubke if Miguel can’t play. Miguel entered Tuesday averaging 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.