MANHATTAN, Kan. — Baylor committed 19 turnovers and never looked comfortable against Kansas State on Saturday night.
Angel Rodriguez scored 22 points and Shane Southwell added 18 on six 3-pointers to lead the No. 10 Wildcats to an 81-61 win over the Bears.
A.J. Walton scored 14 points for Baylor (16-9, 7-5 Big 12) and Isaiah Austin added 13.
The game remained fairly close in the first half, but the Wildcats (20-5, 9-3) took control in the second, outscoring the Bears 43-32 after the break.
"I thought that Kansas State showed why they're the 10th-ranked team in the nation," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Really dominated and imposed their will."
"We've done a much better job taking care of the ball in the past couple games, and we have a veteran backcourt, and to force us into 19 turnovers, hats off to their defense," he added.
Drew called a timeout less than two minutes into the second half after the Wildcats bolted out of the break with three straight baskets. Jordan Henriquez drew a foul and converted on a free throw, Rodriguez finished a fast break layup and Henriquez scored in the paint.
Baylor's Brady Heslip turned the ball over right after the timeout, but he quickly redeemed himself with a pair of 3s. After Rico Gathers scored and Pierre Jackson hit a 3 of his own, Baylor trailed 43-41 with 12:51 remaining.
Before the Bears could creep any closer, Rodriguez drilled a 3, his third of the game from beyond the arc. After Walton scored, Southwell hit a 3 that ignited a 13-2 run by the Wildcats.
Martavious Irving sank a 3, and after another 3 from Southwell, the big men got going. Henriquez dunked and followed it up with a block on the other end, and Thomas Gipson converted in the paint the next time down.
With 7:48 to go, the Wildcats again had a double-digit lead, 59-45, leading Drew to call another timeout.
It was no use – the Bears never again got so close to Kansas State. Much of that was due to the Wildcats' 11 long-range shots, tied for the most they have made in a game all season.
"When you make a comeback and a team hits a 3, that's deflating," Heslip said, "and then they get a stop, we get a turnover, and it's just like, `What's going on?'"
Still, Baylor clawed within 59-49 on a pair of Jackson free throws and a bucket by Taurean Prince.
Omari Lawrence converted a three-point play, Henriquez scored down low, and after Isaiah Austin sank a pair of free throws, Rodriguez hit McGruder for an alley-oop.
A 3 by Austin brought the Bears within 12, but a three-point play by Rodriguez and a second-chance bucket by McGruder opened the gap to 71-54 with 4:03 to play.
Baylor did not get within single digits the rest of the game.
Early in the first half, Baylor dominated the paint, and Kansas State lived in 3-point range.
Rodney McGruder sparked the Wildcats by scoring their first two baskets after Baylor forward Cory Jefferson and Austin both made shots in the paint.
Rodriguez sank a 3, giving the Wildcats a 7-4 lead. After Jefferson again scored down low, Southwell drained his first 3, giving Kansas State a 10-6 lead four minutes into the game.
The Bears went on an 8-2 spurt powered by their big men. Jefferson, Austin and Gathers each took trips to the free throw line, where they went a combined 4-for-5, and then Gathers threw down a dunk. After Jackson scored his first points of the game, Baylor led 16-12 with 10:20 to go in the first half.
That domination of the paint did not continue as the Wildcats quickly neutralized Baylor's big men.
"They did a good job of pushing our bigs out, having them posting out farther than the block, like towards the free throw line," Jackson said. "That's not where we want to have our bigs posting up at, so Coach decided to go to something else."
After Baylor's short scoring spree, Kansas State ripped off a 15-3 run that began with three straight 3s. Rodriguez played an integral part in the scoring frenzy by swishing a 3, assisting on back-to-back 3s by Southwell and then converting a basket in the paint to give the Wildcats a 23-16 advantage with 6:33 remaining until halftime.
The deficit narrowed when Baylor's guards got involved. Heslip scored his first basket of the game, and after buckets by Spradling and Southwell, both Jackson and Walton scored, pulling the Bears to 27-24 with 3:41 left in the half.
Again, just when Baylor began to close the gap, the Kansas State offense hit its stride. A 3 by Spradling began a 10-0 run that also included free throws by McGruder, another 3 by Spradling and another layup by Rodriguez.
Walton scored the last two buckets of the first half for Baylor, which went to the locker room down 38-29.
Jackson had averaged 18.9 points going into the game, and the Wildcats held him to seven on 2-of-8 shooting.
"I feel like I played a horrible game," Jackson said. "Guys kind of lean on me a lot to do a lot of the heavy work, and I'm used to it. I've just got to help my team out more than I did tonight."