Manhattan, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Both the 22nd-ranked Baylor Bears and Kansas State Wildcats will try to extend winning streaks as they clash head- to-head in a Big 12 Conference matchup at Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday.
Baylor has won back-to-back games, with an overtime 66-59 victory over TCU and a narrow 74-73 win over Iowa State serving as the most recent contests for the Bears, who are 3-1 away from home.
Kansas State is on a three-game winning streak after picking up a victory over Texas Tech, 58-51, on Wednesday. The Wildcats are 3-1 in the Big 12 this season, and own a 7-2 home mark.
This will be the 31st meeting between the Big 12 Conference rivals in their series history. Kansas State holds a slim 16-14 all-time advantage over the Bears, which includes a 9-6 mark in Manhattan. But Baylor is looking to win its third straight contest against the Wildcats.
With four seconds left to play in regulation and Iowa State holding a one- point lead, Kenny Chery buried a jumper to give Baylor a 74-73 lead and victory over the Cyclones on Tuesday in Waco. Baylor shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the contest, and made 9-of-23 from 3-point range. Royce O'Neale scored 15 points to lead the squad, while Rico Gathers tallied a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds. Johnathan Motley chipped in 14 points of his own in the win, and Chery rounded out a group of double-digit scorers with 13 points, adding in four assists.
Taurean Prince, who scored just five points in the team's win over Iowa State, leads the Bears in scoring this season at 11.6 ppg. Baylor doesn't have one player that has been explosive on the offensive end, but rather a group of steady contributors. Chery (10.4 ppg), Motley (10.3 ppg) and Gathers (10.3 ppg) are all averaging a scoring total in double figures heading into Saturday's matchup. The team is toward the bottom of the Big 12 rankings in terms of scoring offense (69.1 ppg), but the Bears have been excellent on the defensive side of the ball, allowing only 57.3 ppg to opponents - good for third in the league. Gathers leads Baylor and the Big 12 in rebounding, averaging 11.6 rpg.
It was a pretty miserable day for both Texas Tech and Kansas State offensively on Wednesday, as neither team could manage a shooting percentage above 39 percent. But it was the Red Raiders who flopped harder, netting only 33.9 percent of their tries from the floor in the loss. Kansas State was led offensively by Marcus Foster, who scored 14 points and grabbed a team-best five rebounds. Wesley Iwundu was the only other Wildcats player in double figures at 10 points, though Justin Edwards and his nine-point effort weren't far off the pace. Kansas State hit on 21-of-26 from the free-throw line in the win.
Foster has come up with some big shots for Kansas State this season, which means the sophomore guard is playing well beyond his years. That fact is highlighted even more in his team-leading 13.7 ppg mark on 43 percent shooting. His 45.5 3-point field goal percentage the best on his team and ranks third in the Big 12 Conference. Thomas Gipson (11.4 ppg) and Nino Williams (10.4 ppg) each contribute double-digit scoring as well, but Kansas State heads into Saturday with the lowest scoring average (65.7 ppg) in the conference. And Williams, who averages a team-best 4.7 rpg, will be tasked with keeping Prince in check under the basket.