No. 25 Baylor completed a regular-season series sweep of No. 13 Iowa State with a 100-91 overtime win Tuesday night at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
The Cyclones are now 0-3 in overtimes games this season, and they've failed to capture a win that included an extra session since defeating Oklahoma State in a thriller nearly two years ago, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Baylor, meanwhile, dropped 100 points for the second time ever against a ranked team, per ESPN Stats & Info. And according to Baylor's official Twitter account, Tuesday marked the first time the Bears dropped 100 in a Big 12 game since 2012.
But as Bleacher Report's Jason King pointed out, Baylor prospering against Iowa State was nothing new:
Baylor has won its last 4 games overall against Iowa St. and nine of the last 10 games in Waco. Six Baylor players in double figures 2nite— Jason King (@JasonKingBR) February 17, 2016
In a tightly contested game that never saw either side seize complete control, Baylor consistently imposed its will in the paint behind the muscle of Johnathan Motley and Taurean Prince.
Motley led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Prince poured in 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds on a night when six Baylor players finished in double figures. Al Freeman and Lester Medford each matched Prince with 14 points apiece, and Ishmail Wainright chipped in 10 points on a tidy 3-of-4 shooting from three.
Baylor was also aided by a 34-30 rebounding advantage despite operating without conference-leading rebounder Rico Gathers, who missed Tuesday's showdown with an illness.
Iowa State had no problem knocking down shots as Abdel Nader (26 points), Georges Niang (24 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and Monte Morris (20 points, 11 assists) all sliced their way through Baylor's defense, but mental lapses in key spots ultimately doomed the Cyclones.
Although Iowa State was uncharacteristically sloppy in the first half, it didn't prevent the Cyclones from keeping pace with Baylor.
While Morris—who's renowned as one of the nation's most efficient ball-handlers—committed four of ISU's eight first-half turnovers, Niang stepped up and paced Iowa State's offense to help mitigate the effects of some sloppy play.
En route to tallying 11 points over the game's first 20 minutes, Niang also made a bit of history. Not only did he pass current Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg for third on the school's all-time scoring list, but he cracked the 2,000-point club with just over seven minutes remaining in the first stanza, per the school's official Twitter account:
Here is Georges Niang passing 2,000 career points! Congrats, Georges! https://t.co/eXXve5IOya— Cyclone Basketball (@CycloneMBB) February 17, 2016
However, Baylor had plenty of punch on offense, evidenced by a first-half field-goal percentage of 53.1 that was buoyed by some aggressive play below the free-throw line.
Prince provided the highlight of the frame when he used a back pick to get open for a monster lob finish at the rim, as Baylor's Twitter account documented:
Baylor finished the first half on a 10-0 run thanks to a triple from Medford, per the Big 12 on Twitter, but the Cyclones refused to let the flurry of buckets faze them.
The second half was chock-full of ties and lead changes, and when Iowa State took a one-point lead with just under six minutes to play, it appeared to swing momentum in the Cyclones' favor.
Although Baylor withstood the counterpunch and proceeded to rip off a 6-0 run that spanned nearly three minutes, Iowa State repeatedly produced before a frantic final minute loaded with turnovers and clutch defensive plays, and a near-buzzer beater sent the game to overtime, per the Big 12 on Twitter:
Ultimately, squandered chances down the stretch doomed the Cyclones—who have now last four of their last six games in conference play. Fortunately for Iowa State, a relatively soft Big 12 schedule including home dates with TCU, Oklahoma State and Kansas States awaits.
The story's not the same for the Bears, who desperately needed to crank out a win Tuesday night with a positively brutal stretch coming up.
As the regular season gets set to wind down, Baylor will duel with No. 24 Texas, No. 2 Kansas, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 10 West Virginia. The only relief the Bears will receive from ranked play is a Feb. 27 clash with TCU, which is sandwiched between meetings with the Jayhawks and Sooners.
Although signature wins have been few and far between this season for Baylor, a clean sweep of the Cyclones bodes well for their resume come tournament time. And with athleticism and quality shooters across the board, the Bears could be a sneaky pick to make a deep run once their seed has been etched in stone.
"Baylor's a good team," Niang said, per the Dallas Morning News' Shehan Jeyarajah. "There's nothing else to it. Nothing specific."
"Frustrating thing is you look at our road losses in this league, which is a terrific league -- lost three games in overtime and we lost one we had the ball down two and missed a shot," Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm added, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "That part is frustrating."
While turnovers and tactical missteps plagued the Cyclones in spots, the same wasn't true for the Bears.
"I think it starts with taking care of the ball," Baylor head coach Scott Drew said, according to Jeyarajah. "When we do this, 24 assists, 8 turnovers, we're one of the most efficient offenses."
Even without Gathers, Baylor brought the requisite toughness necessary to stave off a star-studded Cyclones team.
"I wouldn't say we're more focused," Prince said of playing without Gathers, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com) "I just think we just know the things we have to do better when he's out. Just leadership, everybody knew what was at stake. Even before the game, we talked about it being a must win."