Winning away from home in the Big 12 Conference is a big deal — winning on the road against a top-20 team is even bigger.
Baylor, the fourth-ranked team in the country, defeated No. 18 Kansas State at home on Tuesday night to improve to 16-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12.
The Bears became just the 10th team to win in Bramlage Coliseum since Frank Martin became the K-State head coach in 2007, and they ended the Wildcats’ 14-game winning streak in Bramlage.
“We all know the Big 12, you win on the road, it’s something that doesn’t happen often,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “With K-State and what Coach Martin has built here doesn’t happen possibly all year long.”
Drew said he was proud of the mental toughness his team displayed. The Bears had five players with four fouls, had to overcome a 10-point deficit in the first half and take a lead, and then rebound from a nine-point deficit in the second half to secure the win.
“Sometimes people question our team’s toughness and I think tonight we showed mentally again how tough we’ve been,” said Drew, who has led the Bears to their best start in school history. “All year long it’s been because of our leadership, players stepping up.
“I was very proud of our effort. Offensive rebounding was 12-to-12, early in the year we weren’t very good at rebounding. Kansas State is as good as anybody, if not the best in the country, and to do what we did shows the improvement we’re making.”
K-State shot 50 percent from the field, the highest mark shot this season against Baylor, which entered Tuesday with the fourth-best field-goal percentage defense in the country (36 percent). But Baylor turned K-State over 20 times, with all of them coming in the last 29 minutes of action, and recorded 13 steals against the Wildcats (12-3, 1-2).
Baylor shot 64 percent in the second half, though several of those shots came on layups and dunks after K-State turnovers.
“The guys wearing our uniforms threw the ball to the guys wearing their uniforms so they could go down and dunk it,” Martin said. “Hard to play defense when you throw the ball to the other team so they can go dunk the ball.”
The Bears, playing with a target on their back, have now won two games on the road in league play. But no matter how many they win away from home this year, not many will be bigger than the win they got on Tuesday.
“I’m going to tell you what, K-State is a top-10 team,” he said. “People came in this year not giving them enough credit and if you look at what they’ve done, they’re a top-10 team in my mind. I was very proud of our guys and proud we came out on top.”