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K-State's Rally Falls Short To Baylor, 76-74


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GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

March 8, 2014

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K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Junior Kenny Chery scored a season-high 29 points to help Baylor end Kansas State's 15-game home court winning streak with a 76-74 victory on Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd at Bramlage Coliseum.

Down 56-46 with 5:22 to play, the Wildcats rallied to within 76-74 and forced a critical Bear turnover with 0.3 seconds remaining, but senior Will Spradling's full-court pass was intercepted by senior Cory Jefferson to stave off the comeback.

The loss snapped K-State's 15-game home court winning streak, which was the longest in the 26-year history of Bramlage Coliseum, and was the longest at a home venue since the Wildcats rattled off 20 in a row at Ahearn Field House from Jan. 28, 1981 to Jan. 30, 1982. It was the first at home since a dropping the opener to Northern Colorado, 60-58, on Nov. 8, 2012.

The loss also ended the Wildcats' hopes of finishing unbeaten at home in league play for the first time since the 1974-75 team went 7-0 in Big Eight play.

"It has been a heck of a ride for our group here at home," said head coach Bruce Weber. "We have won some huge games and played with great energy and passion. Today, we just did not have it. You have to give Baylor credit since we woke up a sleeping bear a couple of weeks ago when they beat us at their place a couple of weeks ago in that crazy game. I thought we played with them the whole game then and today was a very similar game."

Freshman Marcus Foster, who hit four of his season-best seven 3-point field goals in the last 4:52 of the second half, led three Wildcats in double figures with 29 points on 9-of-16 field goals, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. It marked the rookie's seventh 20-point game of the season, including the sixth in Big 12 play. He has now scored in double figures in 25 of 31 games, including 14 times in league play.

Junior Thomas Gipson also scored in double figures with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds, while fellow junior Nino Williams collected his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Spradling led the team with eight assists and three steals.

The win was the seventh in the last eight games for Baylor (21-10, 9-9 Big 12), which started league play with a 2-8 mark. The Bears became the first Big 12 team to sweep the Wildcats this season and evened its record at Bramlage Coliseum to 6-6 all-time with two wins in its last three meetings in Manhattan.

Things started off well for K-State, as the squad jumped out to a 13-4 lead at the 12:47 mark of the first half after a jumper by senior Shane Southwell. The Wildcats maintained a 19-10 lead before Baylor used an 11-4 run to close to within one possession at 23-21 at the 4:39 mark.

However, K-State scored 10 of the last 14 points of the half to take a 33-25 lead into halftime. The Wildcats shot just 39.1 percent (9-of-23) in the first half, including just 16.7 percent (1-of-6) from 3-point range, but was stellar from the free throw line, knocking down 14-of-16 attempts.

The momentum continued early in the second half, as Foster opened the scoring with a 3-pointer to go with a Williams' free throw to push the lead to 37-25 with 17:43 to play.

However, a jumper by Chery ignited a 20-8 run by Baylor, which was capped by a 3-pointer by senior Brady Heslip in the corner to give the Bears a 45-43 lead with 9:39 remaining.  

Teams traded the lead over the next few possessions before a quick 10-0 run by Baylor with the score knotted at 46-all gave the Bears' control of the contest. The run was again capped by a Heslip.

Foster and the Wildcats tried to rally in the final minutes, but Baylor was stellar from the free throw line in the last five minutes, knocking down 14-of-14 attempts, including a 10-of-10 effort from Chery.

Chery led a balanced Baylor attack with his season-high 29 points, as he went 8-of-13 from the field to go with a 13-of-14 effort from the free throw line. Jefferson also scored in double figures with 16 points, while sophomore Isaiah Austin and Heslip each added nine points.

Baylor connected on 50 percent (24-of-48) from the field, including 56 percent (14-of-25) in the second half, and shot 71.9 percent (23-of-32) from the free throw line.

K-State shot 42.9 percent (24-of-56) for the contest, including 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from beyond the arc, and knocked down 70.4 percent (19-of-27) from the charity stripe.

Kansas State will be the No. 5 seed at next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City and will play No. 4 seed Iowa State (23-7, 11-7 Big 12) on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. CT. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 with Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe.