Baylor needs OT without Rico Gathers, but wins 4th straight vs. Iowa State

Baylor has a brutal stretch at the end of its schedule and carried three losses in its last four games entering Tuesday night. Luckily Iowa State was coming to town and Scott Drew seems to have the Cyclones’ number.

The No. 25 Bears were without rebounding machine Rico Gathers because of an illness, but they outlasted No. 13 Iowa State in overtime for the 100-91 win, giving Baylor a regular-season series sweep and the team’s fourth straight victory in this series.

Johnathan Motley matched his career high, set earlier this season in Ames, with 27 points as one of six Baylor players to finish in double figures. High-flying forward Taurean Prince joined Motley with 14 points, and though he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well he provided a pair of highlight dunks against some questionable Iowa State defense.

But it wasn’t all bad for Iowa State. Georges Niang had 24 points and eight rebounds in a performance that moved him ahead of former coach Fred Hoiberg on the school’s all-time scoring list, and Abdel Nader was feeling from outside (5 for 9 from 3) in a 26-point outing to lead the Cyclones.

Senior center Jameel McKay, in his second game back from a suspension for team rules, fouled out in the final two minutes of regulation without scoring a point in the game, and eventually both Matt Thomas and Deondre Burton joined him with five fouls in the extra period.

Deondre Burton’s block of Johnathan Motley with 10 seconds left helped push the game to overtime, though Baylor fans were screaming for a goaltending call. If there is any “ball don’t lie” at hand, it came on the other end with Monte Morris’ offensive rebound and made shot at the buzzer coming after the clock hit 0.0.

Foul trouble and some obvious wear and tear helped Baylor pull away with 19 points in overtime.

Getting the season sweep against Iowa State was crucial considering the Bears’ remaining schedule: vs. Texas in Austin next, then Kansas at home, at TCU, at Oklahoma and a regular-season finale against West Virginia.

As good as Iowa State is on offense, we’ve seen these defensive shortcomings catch up with the Cyclones three times now in conference play when the game goes to overtime. Losing to Baylor in extra time isn’t nearly as damning as the overtime losses to Texas Tech or Texas, but of this team can’t close out tight games in conference play it doesn’t fare well for the Big 12 tournament or any kind of run in the NCAA tournament.

Johnathan Motley matches his career high with 27 points against Iowa State. (USATSI)

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