Double-doubles for Rodriguez and Henriquez

Double-doubles for Rodriguez and Henriquez

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Three-point shooting and a stingy defense propelled Kansas State to an 81-61 victory over the Baylor Bears Saturday to keep the Wildcats in first place in the Big 12 Conference.

Just when K-State needed a big bucket, Angel Rodriguez launched, and swished, a 3-ball. Just when the ‘Cats needed another, Shane Southwell scored from three on the next possession.

Just when the Wildcats could use another basket, Martavious Irving struck from three. And, just for good measure, it was Southwell who scorched the nets for another trifecta to complete the 12-point, four-possession run.

Those baskets were the highlights of a 16-4 Wildcat flurry during the mid-minutes of the second half to propel Kansas State to an 81-61 Big 12 victory over the Baylor Bears in Bramlage Coliseum.

It was the first game after the Monday loss to Kansas, and the first game after Wildcat coach Bill Snyder visited with the team on Friday.

"I can't thank him enough," said KSU coach Bruce Weber. "He just talked about taking them one game, one win, at a time, and not taking anything for granted."

It worked this fall, and again Saturday night as K-State played one of its best games of the year in continuing its dominance over the state of Texas. In four Big 12 games, the Wildcats have defeated TCU by 13, Texas by 26, Texas Tech by 9 and now Baylor by 20.

K-State jumped out to a 14-point lead by making the first five points of the second half, only to have the Bears score the next 12 points to slash the lead to a 43-41 count with 12:39 remaining.

"Our lead actually could have been bigger but we missed three or four wide open 3s," said Weber. "They have a lot of talent and ability, so we knew they weren't going to quit. We made those shots, and then the defense started doing much better."

Up just two, that's when K-State put its offense into 3-point overdrive to up the lead into the mid-teens and solidify victory No. 20 of the season and up its Big 12 record to 9-3, and in a first-place tie with Kansas and Oklahoma State.

K-State netted 11 3-pointers out of 25 attempts (.440) against a Baylor defense that had allowed teams to make just 29 percent from long range for the first 24 games. Rodriguez scored 22 to lead K-State, while Southwell had 18, Henriquez 10 and Rodney McGruder 10.

It was a night of first career double-doubles as Jordan Henriquez had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Rodriguez 22 points and 10 assists. Entering the game, JO had scored just 11 points with 10 rebounds and nine fouls in his last four games combined. It also marked his first twin-figure game this season.

"We've told JO that he'll stay on the floor if he plays well. He did that tonight," said Weber. "And then it all starts with Angel on defense, and then he made quality decisions offensively with his 10 assists." The ‘Cats are now 20-5 for the year and 9-3 in the Big 12; Baylor falls to 7-5 and 16-9.

RODRIGUEZ MAKES CLAIM FOR TOP POINT GUARD:

Going head to head with Baylor's Pierre Jackson, KSU's Angel Rodriguez won the head-to-head battle, as well as the team game.

Rodriguez held Jackson to seven points on 2-of-8 shooting with the point total being 12 under his near-19-point average for the year. Jackson did have nine assists, but also five turnovers.

It marked the first time that Jackson had been held in single-digits this season. Rodriguez led all scorers with 22 points, which included three 3-balls. In addition, Rodriguez dished out 10 assists to only two turnovers. Rodriguez netted 22 and now has been in twin figures in five of his last six games with 32 assists during those six games.

THE STANDINGS:

The trio of leaders all were victorious as Oklahoma State edged Oklahoma in overtime, and, Kansas defeated Texas.

Along with the K-State win, all three schools are now 9-3 in the Big 12 standings. Two games back at 7-5 are Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State.

SCHEDULE THE REST OF THE WAY:

K-State (9-3): WV, at UT, TT, at BU, TCU, at OSU, Kansas (9-3): at OSU, TCU, at ISU, WV, TT, at BU O-State (9-3): KU, at WV, at TCU, UT, at ISU, KSU

The Wildcats will wrap up next week with a 7 p.m. tipoff at Texas on Saturday.

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