Published March 02, 2013
WACO, Texas – With a second left on the clock, Baylor coach Scott Drew was going to take one more shot at winning.
If not, Drew had to figure the worst-case scenario would be going to overtime against 13th-ranked Kansas State.
The Bears never made it that far.
Baylor's length-of-the-court inbound pass went out of bounds without touching anybody, and Rodney McGruder hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 64-61 victory Saturday night.
"It was a great game and a terrible ending for the Baylor Bears," Drew said.
Kansas State (24-5, 13-3 Big 12) had already missed one potential tiebreaking shot when Shane Southwell was way off on a shot that went out of bounds with 1 second left.
Instead of settling for overtime, the Bears (17-12, 8-8) brought seldom-used Jacob Neubert off the bench to try the long inbound pass.
But Neubert's baseball-style pass went out of bounds without being touched, going just beyond the reach of 7-foot-1 freshman Isaiah Austin.
"At the end of the day, there's only two things that can happen. Foul, or you don't touch it. Obviously the nightmare happened and we didn't touch it," Drew said.
"The celebration is where we catch it and lay it in or catch it and get fouled. With one second, it's hard not to try to win the game," he said. "Jacob has done a great job of making that pass. Isaiah has come down with it, Cory (Jefferson) has come down with it, Quincy Acy has come down with it. So it would be tough not to try it from underneath out of bounds. ... The plan was for (Isaiah) to catch it and lay it in, and we storm the court."
But the Wildcats got the ball under their own basket without any time running off the clock.
The Wildcats called timeout and set up a last-second play aptly called 'quick.' Angel Rodriguez inbounded the ball to McGruder, who worked around defenders to get open on the right wing a couple of feet beyond the 3 -point line. McGruder swished the shot.
"I was thinking of something different. But that goes for being fortunate," McGruder said. "It worked out in our favor. That's all I can say."
McGruder finished with 18 points for the Wildcats, who won their fifth straight game and ninth in 10 to maintain a share of the Big 12 lead with sixth-ranked Kansas with two regular season games left. The Jayhawks got their 13th league victory earlier Saturday, 91-65 over West Virginia.
Pierre Jackson had 18 points and seven assists for Baylor, which has lost seven of its past 10 games.
"I don't remember losing on a buzzer-beater — ever. So I don't know how to react to it," said Jackson, who made five straight free throws down the stretch.
Cory Jefferson had 14 points while Isaiah Austin had 11 points and 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double this season.
Baylor is 1-7 in games this season settled by five points or fewer. The Bears had lost by 20 points at Kansas State two weeks earlier.
"It gets old, the same thing over and over," Jackson said. "But you can't really do too much about it. Tonight, I think we played well, we played better than we did the last game. We just played against a real good team tonight. As y'all saw, they won by a hair."
The Bears have a quick turnaround, with a game Monday night at Texas. They close the regular season at home next Saturday against Kansas.
Baylor wore its special neon yellow uniforms unveiled earlier this week by Adidas, including camouflage-patterned shorts in the same bright color. The Bears were one of six teams to get special uniforms for anticipated tournament appearances.
On top of that Saturday, Baylor gave out 10,000 T-shirts to the fans in the highlighter color, brightening up the Ferrell Center.
Until the gloomy finish.