Talent: Chuckie Kempf (pxp), Lance Blanks (analyst)
Radio: Baylor IMG Sports Network / ESPN Central Texas
Talent: John Morris (pxp), Pat Nunley (analyst)
Streaming Radio: TuneIn App, Sirius 132, XM 199, Internet 953
Live Stats/In-Game Home: BaylorBears.com
Twitter: @BaylorMBB | #SicISU
BAYLOR11-5, 1-3 Big 12
Ranking: RV-32nd - AP, RV-29th - Coaches
Last Game: Jan. 9, 2018 - loss at No. 2 West Virginia, 57-54
Head Coach: Scott Drew (Butler, 1993)
Career Record: 308-196 (16th season)
BU Record: 288-185 (15th season)
vs. ISU: 11-11
IOWA STATE9-6, 0-4 Big 12
Ranking: NR - AP, NR - Coaches
Last Game: Jan. 9, 2018 - loss at No. 12 Kansas, 83-78
Head Coach: Steve Prohm (Alabama, 1997)
Career Record: 160-58 (7th season)
ISU Record: 56-29 (3rd season)
vs. Baylor: 1-3
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Much like the Baylor men, the Iowa State Cyclones are a team that has taken games down to the wire but just haven't been able to pull them out.
Something has to give when the Bears (11-5, 1-3) take on the Cyclones (9-6, 0-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
"We didn't do enough to close out that game. We had too many mistakes," junior guard Jake Lindsey said of Baylor's 57-54 loss on Saturday at No. 2 West Virginia. "On the road, whatever happens, you've got to go get the victory. You can't just expect it to happen. We didn't execute down the stretch and let it slip away."
Similarly, Iowa State rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to pull into a 73-73 tie with 12th-ranked Kansas on the road. But, the Jayhawks closed on a 10-5 run and escaped with an 83-78 win that kept the Cyclones winless in conference play and on the road.
"We could have said the same thing about TCU, too," coach Scott Drew said of the Bears' 81-78 overtime loss to 16th-ranked TCU. "And Texas probably said the same thing about our game (Baylor's 69-60 win). That's the Big 12. Close games down the stretch, you win them, you feel good. You lose them, you second-guess a bunch of stuff."
One consistent for Baylor the last two games has been on the defensive end. The Bears held Texas to 34 percent shooting in the home-court win over the Longhorns and then topped that by limiting West Virginia to just 31 percent.
"Our defense has been terrific in the last two games after we lost to TCU down the stretch because we didn't get enough stops," Lindsey said. "The last game, we were really good. We haven't been healthy and out of rhythm all season, so we're just trying to build some continuity and some rhythm. That starts on the defensive end, so it was encouraging to see that."
Like Baylor, Iowa State is working with a short rotation of only 10 available players. More of a perimeter-oriented attack, the Cyclones are led by guards Donovan Jackson (16.9 ppg), freshman Lindell Wigginton (15.6 ppg) and 6-5 junior Nick Weiler-Babb (12.3 ppg, 7.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists).
Babb, who moved to point guard after the first two games, is the only player in the nation averaging at least 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game.
"Babb has really developed into one of the elite point guards in the country," Drew said, "the only person averaging 12, 7 and 7. A couple years ago, (Denzel) Valentine from Michigan State did that. At the beginning of the year, he didn't play point. They moved him after the first two games (both losses), and totally changed their offense. That's why they've been a lot better."
The Bears have more of a balanced, inside-out attack, led by 7-footer Jo Lual-Acuil (15.8 ppg, 9.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks) and senior point guard Manu Lecomte (16.5 ppg, 3.2 assists). Inserted in the starting lineup against West Virginia, 6-5 freshman forward Mark Vital had eight points, eight rebounds, three assists, one block and a steal in 24 minutes.
Drew said the longer his nine scholarship players practice together, the better they'll be in cutting down on turnovers.
"We just need to keep (playing good defense) and then just take care of the basketball and do a better job of making some shots down the stretch," he said.
Saturday's game will be televised by ESPNews, with Chuckie Kempf and Lance Blanks calling the action.
In a quick turnaround, Baylor hosts Oklahoma State (11-5, 1-3) at 8 p.m. Monday at the Ferrell Center. The Cowboys host Texas on Saturday before coming to Waco.
Baylor travels to Ames to face Iowa State at 2 p.m. CT Saturday on ESPNEWS and WatchESPN.
Saturday is the 34th series meeting. ISU leads the series 18-15, including a 13-2 mark in Ames.
Baylor lost its first 12 games in Ames before winning at Hilton Coliseum in 2015 and 2016.
The home team has won 25 of 29 campus site games in the series, and BU is 1-3 vs. ISU at neutral sites.
Neither team has taken a double-digit lead in any of the last 3 series meetings, and the last 7 meetings have been decided by single-digits, including 4 games decided either by one possession or in overtime.
BU has won 5 of the last 6 vs. Iowa State, including 4 wins when ISU was top-15 ranked.
The teams split last year's series with each winning on its home floor, and both games were decided by one possession. BU won 65-63 in Waco on Jan. 4, and Iowa State won 72-69 in Ames on Feb. 27.
BU trailed 61-55 with 5 minutes left in Waco, but the Bears held ISU to 2 points the rest of the game. Manu Lecomte made a runner with 8.6 seconds left to break a 63-63 tie and give the Bears the win.
In Ames, there were 13 ties and 9 lead changes. BU took a 42-36 lead with 16 minutes left, but ISU fought back with a 22-9 run to take a 58-51 lead with 6 minutes left and led the rest of the way.
BU is 11-5 with its only losses vs. current top-16 teams. The Bears dropped home games against No. 5 Wichita State and No. 16 TCU, and road games at No. 10 Xavier, No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 2 West Virginia.
Four of Baylor's losses are to current top-10 teams, and 3 of those losses were on the road.
BU reached double-digit non-conference wins for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons (all except 2012-13).
Baylor is 96-80 in Big 12 play since 2008 after going 45-131 in the league's first 11 seasons.
BU is 36-62 against AP-ranked teams since 2007-08 after going 0-27 in Drew's first 4 rebuilding seasons.
Baylor ranks top-30 nationally in rebounding margin (20th; +7.9), field goal percentage (26th; .491), effective field goal percentage defense (23rd.; .458) and blocks per game (23rd; 5.5).
The BU defense allows the nation's 4th-lowest free throw rate at 21.8 (percentage of FTA/FGA).
BU's defense ranks 28th nationally in 2-point FG percentage (43.9) and 28th in block pct. (14.3).
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. is averaging 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in Big 12 play. He ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in rebounding (9.8) and double-doubles (8), 3rd in blocks (2.2) and 10th in scoring (15.8).
Manu Lecomte is 7th in the Big 12 in scoring (16.5), 4th in 3FGM/gm (3.3) and 2nd in free throw pct. (.905).
Lecomte has made a 3-pointer in 17 consecutive games, two games shy of Baylor's top-10 list.
Jake Lindsey ranks 8th in the Big 12 and 82nd nationally with a 2.35 assist-to-turnover ratio (54a/23to).
Tristan Clark is shooting 71% (32-of-45) over his last 9 games, raising his season FG% from .500 to .609.
Mark Vital has started 2 of 4 Big 12 games. He's averaging 9.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 blocks in 23.7 minutes played over the last 6 games. He's scored 10+ points in 6 of the last 10 games.
BU is 60-10 since 2015-16 when taking the lead at any point in the 2nd half of a game.
Baylor has been ranked for 211 of 473 games under Scott Drew (ranked for just 2 games prior to Drew).
Drew is coaching his 474th game at Baylor (288-185). His .609 winning percentage is best in BU history among coaches with 40+ games, and his teams have a .686 winning percentage since 2007-08.