Three Thoughts on Big 12 Men’s Basketball for Feb. 21
The Big 12 had three games on Tuesday night, including a Top 25 showdown between Baylor and Kansas State. Here are three thoughts on the night.
Kansas State Sweeps Baylor
Kansas State won its seventh game over an AP Top 25 team, which is a school record, by beating Baylor, 75-65. The No. 14 Wildcats (21-7, 9-6 in Big 12) went on an 18-4 run for about eight minutes in the second half, a run that gave them a 55-44 lead with 8:16 left. That prompted a Baylor time out. But the Bears didn’t have an answer.
What happened? Keyontae Johnson had 25 points, but only one rebound. Nae’Qwan Tomlin (8 points, 8 rebounds) and Cam Carter (10 points, 8 rebounds) did the dirty work on the glass. Markquis Nowell had a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. But, more importantly, he had no turnovers. It didn’t matter that the Wildcats were under 20 percent from the 3-point line. They owned the turnover game and that helped lead the Wildcats to the win.
Baylor (20-8, 9-6) had the lead after the first half, thanks to guard LJ Cryer, who had three first-half 3-pointers and ended up with 16 points. Guard Keyonte George had a team-high 23 points. Forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, as his resurgence continues.
Notice who’s missing? Guard Adam Flagler had a really off night, making just one shot and scoring just four points. He also had just one assist. It was an uncharacteristic game from the team leader.
But, the reality was the Bears’ 13 turnovers was their biggest culprit on Tuesday.
The Rest of the Night
Texas Tech (16-10, 5-10) continued its red-hot run, beating Oklahoma 13-15 (3-12) and winning its fourth straight game, 74-63.
The Red Raiders did it shooting an incredible 62 percent from the floor, which counteracted their 16 turnovers. Tech owned a 38-22 edge on the glass and a 32-15 edge on the defensive glass. Tech was 40-24 in points in the paint.
Fardaws Aimaq continued to put together fine games, this time scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Jaylon Tyson had 18 points, while Kevin Obanor and Richard ‘Pop’ Issacs each had 11 points.
The Sooners appear poised to be the only Big 12 team to finish under .500 this season, unless they win out. Tanner Groves had 16 points, Jalen Hill had 14 points while both Grant Sherfield and Milos Uzan had 10 points. Thanks to the Tech turnovers, the Sooners were in this game until the final minutes.
No. 8 Texas (22-6, 11-4) dominated No. 23 Iowa State (17-10, 8-7), winning 72-54. The game was on the Longhorn Network, so thankfully we were all spared having to watch it. Like many of you, I can’t wait for LHN to go away for good.
Texas remained its first-place tie with Kansas at the top of the Big 12. The guards led the way, with Tyrese Hunter scoring 15 points, Sir’Jabari Rice scoring 15 points coming off the bench and Marcus Carr scoring 13 points.
It took Gabe Kalsheur most of the game to get into double figures and he finished with 10 points. Osun Osunniyi led the Cyclones with 12 points. The Cyclones need one more win to clinch no worse than a .500 record in Big 12 play for the first time under head coach T.J. Otzelberger. The Cyclones were 7-11 last year but went to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Up-To-Date Big 12 Race
Want up-to-date Big 12 Tournament seedings? Well, here you go, thanks to the handy tool at bball.notnothing.net.
Kansas and Texas remain the top two seeds and would therefore have the easiest road in the tournament, which isn’t saying much this year.
Kansas State would face TCU in the No. 3 vs. No. 6 games, while Baylor would face Iowa State in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game.
The Wednesday games would feature Oklahoma State against Oklahoma in the No. 7 vs. No. 10 game, and then Texas Tech vs. West Virginia in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game. So, in reality, nothing changed from Monday night.
As far as the standings go, Kansas and Texas are still on a collision course to play for the Big 12 regular-season title, assuming each keeps winning before they meet in the season finale.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard