Iowa State was balanced offensively and as efficient as the Cyclones have been in Big 12 play, but Baylor enjoyed its third straight win in the series thanks to great execution in the final minutes.
Baylor’s a versatile team that has shown the ability to win all kinds of ways. On Saturday, the pace was up and both teams were shooting near 50 percent of the floor. Rico Gathers, who surpassed the 1,000-rebound mark in Baylor’s win against Oklahoma State, was relatively quiet but 6-foot-9 sophomore Johnathan Motley was fantastic off the bench. Motley paced all scorers with 27 points and fellow reserve forward Terry Maston added 13.
Lester Medford was timely with his buckets, tossing in four of his five three-point attempts, and none bigger than this fallaway shot to give Baylor its first lead of the game at 67-66.
Lester Medford gives Baylor the lead with this ridiculous three! #Big12MBB on ESPN2 https://t.co/zVOQvNwVI2
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) January 9, 2016
Georges Niang had 22 points, Monte Morris had 21 and Abdel Nader added 20, but Iowa State was unable to hold onto the lead it built throughout the game. One contributing factor was Baylor mixing up its defense throughout the second half. There was mostly zone, with some man thrown in and then finally isolating freshman guard Jake Lindsey, who also hit a couple clutch free throws, on Niang. Iowa State went cold at the exact wrong time, Medford and Taurean Prince hit a couple big buckets and after a 10-0 run the leverage of the game had totally flipped.
The win marks three straight for Scott Drew against Iowa State, boosting his overall record against the Cyclones to 9-10 as the Bears head coach.
After starting conference play with a blowout loss to Kansas, Baylor has picked up two solid wins (Oklahoma State and Iowa State) and is back in the top half of what is once again a very competitive Big 12. But before we get too high on Baylor after this very good road win, let’s see how the team performs in a pair of big matchups each of the next two Saturdays: at Texas Tech on Jan. 16 and hosting Oklahoma on Jan. 23.