No. 2 Baylor looks to keep rolling against Kansas State

No. 2 Baylor looks to extend its winning streak to 15 games when the Bears host struggling Kansas State on Wednesday night in Waco, Texas.

Baylor pounded Kansas State 100-69 in its Big 12 season opener in Manhattan, Kan., in December.

Baylor (14-0, 7-0) is one of six Big 12 teams ranked in the latest AP poll, including three in the top 10. The Bears have won all of their games by at least eight points, with only two games decided by fewer than 10.

Jared Butler became the first Bears player to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season when he picked up the award Monday. He also was named NCAA National Player of the Week and the Naismith Trophy Player of the Week after averaging 26.0 points and 7.0 assists, while shooting 66.7 percent (18 of 27) from the field, including 81.3 percent (13 of 16) from the 3-point line.

With Baylor trailing by two points early in the second half Saturday at Oklahoma State, Butler drained three consecutive 3-pointers in a 19-1 run as the Bears took a 16-point lead.

“Man, he’s ridiculous,” teammate Davion Mitchell said. “He can really play the game of basketball, and he’s not cocky about it. When he was making those shots, he was telling us, good pass. He cared about his teammates more than himself.”

Mark Vital also had a big game, finishing with 19 points while making 8 of 9 attempts from the field.

“Mark finished well today, and our guys did a great job finding him,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “In the first half, we had quite a few bunnies around the rim and couldn’t finish. Credit Mark for really finishing inside.”

Butler leads the balanced Bears at 17.1 points per game, but MaCio Teague (14.8), Mitchell (11.5) and Adam Flagler (10.1) also average in double figures.

Baylor leads Division I in scoring margin, defeating their opponents by just over 24 points per game.

Kansas State (5-11, 1-7) is on a six-game losing streak, the last five by double-digit margins. The Wildcats have lost seven straight Big 12 games after opening the league season with a win at Iowa State.

They have yet to suit up their entire roster, though they should get starting point guard Nijel Pack back from COVID-19 protocols for Tuesday’s game.

The Wildcats are led by Mike McGuirl with 11.9 points per game, followed by Pack (10.7) and DaJuan Gordon (10.3).

“Hopefully Nijel helps and gets us into our stuff,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “Each game is different and that’s the problem in this league. I told them we are playing in the best league in the country. … Five teams in our next six are top teams and each one has a different style, so every game you have to adjust, it doesn’t just come.”

–Field Level Media