Baylor’s run as the top-ranked team in the nation heads into its second week, with no indication that the Bears, winners of 16 consecutive games, are slowing down.
That doesn’t mean Baylor (17-1, 6-0 Big 12) can afford to take lightly the challenge it will face when it visits Iowa State on Wednesday in another in a set of unrelenting conference dustups.
The Bears have made their living winning tough road games this season, already beating Texas Tech, Kansas and, most recently, Florida away from Waco. A 72-61 victory over the Gators on Saturday allowed Baylor to match the best 18-game start in school history and came via another trademark defensive performance.
Baylor got 16 points apiece from MaCio Teague and Devonte Bandoo in the win. Davion Mitchell was 7 of 8 from the foul line and tallied 12 points and a career-high-tying six assists. Jared Butler added 10 points despite being limited by two first-half fouls.
“Coach (Scott) Drew always tells us to hold our own in these challenges,” Teague said. “We just did a good job of locking in defensively, and different guys scored for us tonight. They gave us their best shot, but nobody’s going to fold under pressure.”
The Bears let Florida, which had upset then-No. 4 Auburn on the road on Jan. 18, make just one of its final eight shots to secure the win.
“Early on, we couldn’t get any stops, and we didn’t get as many good looks,” Drew said after the win. “As the first half went on, we started to get stops, started to get rebounds, started to get great looks. Devonte was on fire, MaCio had some good looks, Jared had some good looks. When we’re sharing the ball, we’re really good.”
The Bears played without forward Tristan Clark, who was held out due to a sore knee.
Iowa State (9-10, 2-4) looks to rebound at home after an 80-76 loss at No. 16 Auburn on Saturday. The Cyclones have lost three of their past four games.
The Cyclones trailed by 18 points with 14 minutes to play against the Tigers but clawed their way back into the game. Rasir Bolton paced Iowa State with 23 points, and his 15 second-half points helped close the gap.
Bolton, a sophomore who transferred from Penn State, has six 20-point games on the season and was 9 of 10 at the free-throw line at Auburn. On Monday, he was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, Bolton’s second such honor this season.
Terrence Lewis had 12 points and Solomon Young posted 10 points for the Cyclones in the loss. Young grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
“I thought we’d have a chance to be right in this game at the end,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said after the defeat. “The second half, we did a better job spacing them out and making plays off the dribble. The second half, we showed a lot more character on the road than we have at times.”
Baylor beat Iowa State 68-55 on Jan. 15 in Waco. Wednesday’s game will be the fourth in five outings for the Cyclones against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 when the game was played.
–Field Level Media