MANHATTAN, Kan. – It would have been easy for Kansas State point guard Will Spradling to appreciate Baylor's athleticism as the Bears stormed down the court for dunks and easy points Tuesday night.
But after the fourth-ranked Bears slipped past the No. 18 Wildcats 75-73 with numerous quick scoring runs, Spradling could only think about his team.
"They can score fast, but it comes back on us," Spradling said. "When they made their runs, we were taking quick shots or turning the ball over."
Perry Jones led Baylor (16-0, 3-0 Big 12) with 17 points while Quincy Acy had 13. The pair went a combined 14 of 18 from the floor. Two other Bears scored in double figures: Brady Heslip with 13 and Pierre Jackson with 10.
For K-State (12-3, 1-2), it was almost a one-man show. Rodney McGruder had 30 points while going 10 of 14 from the floor, perfect from the free throw line and leading the team in rebounds with six. Jordan Henriquez scored 10 for the Wildcats.
"Their frontline kicked our tails," Wildcats coach Frank Martin said. "When your frontline has more turnovers than defensive rebounds, it's hard to believe."
Kansas State got off to a good start in trying to hand an undefeated team its first loss for the second time in four days.
The Wildcats, who beat No. 9 Missouri 75-59 on Saturday, went on an early 13-2 run to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 15-7 lead. Through the game's first 9 minutes, Baylor had eight turnovers and the Wildcats none.
But Jones hit two baskets at the rim to kick off a 9-0 Bears run that cut the deficit to 21-20. Quincy Miller and Jackson each had a dunk as part of another 9-0 run to put Baylor up 29-25 with 2:02 remaining in the half.
Jones said he took that stretch as a good sign.
"It showed we're able to stay together as a team when times are tough," he said. "Guys don't get mad at each other and guys still play basketball the way we play, so just staying poised."
K-State finished the half by scoring eight of the final 10 points, including a runner by McGruder as the clock expired for a 33-31 halftime lead.
The Wildcats came out hot at the start of the second half and needed just over 3 minutes to push their lead to 44-37.
Baylor answered with a 20-4 run over the next 5 1/2 minutes. At one point, the Bears scored eight points in 84 seconds, forcing two K-State timeouts. A.J. Walton keyed the run with six straight points, and Jackson sank a 3-pointer for a 58-50 Baylor lead with 10:36 remaining.
"The guys wearing our uniforms threw it to the guys wearing their uniforms so they could run down for dunks," said Martin.
But McGruder kept K-State in it with nine points during an 11-4 run, including a driving layup that pulled the Wildcats to 62-60 with 7:36 remaining.
"We knew coming in how good he was," Acy said, "but he was spectacular tonight."
Henriquez hit two free throws to give K-State a 71-69 lead with 4:13 to play, but Acy scored five straight points to put Baylor up 74-71 with 2:22 remaining.
"I knew I had to come in and give us a spark then," Acy said.
McGruder converted a baseline drive 17 seconds later, cutting Baylor's lead to 74-73.
Heslip missed from 3-point range with 25 seconds remaining, but Jones got the offensive rebound and was fouled. He made one free throw with 20.9 seconds to go.
K-State appeared ready to tie it when Angel Rodriguez was open in the lane in the final 5 seconds, but he had the ball stripped with 3 seconds on the clock. The Wildcats' ensuing inbound pass was tipped away as time expired.
"To not close this game out because of a comedy of errors," Martin said, "it's embarrassing."
Baylor had just 10 turnovers in the final 31 minutes and shot 53.7 percent for the game.
"Our depth is our biggest strength," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Our leadership and depth allow you to overcome a night when you do have foul trouble."