By now, Kansas State is used to losing road games in heartbreaking fashion. The Wildcats have now lost five straight away from home in varying ways.
Still, a 87-73 loss to Baylor (in double overtime) at the Ferrell Center on Saturday had to feel like a punch to the gut. K-State was in control the whole way, leading by nine at halftime, by 10 midway through the second half and by three with 24 seconds remaining, but it couldn’t close the door.
At 17-8 and 7-5 in Big 12 play, the Wildcats still have a strong NCAA Tournament. They could afford a loss. But this was a missed opportunity. They were in great position to put an end to their road woes (their only road win of the season came at bottom-feeder TCU) and will continue to carry the “home warriors” label.
A few thoughts from the game: Nino Williams may have earned a spot in the starting lineup. The junior guard torched Baylor’s zone defense for a career-high 20 points. He also had eight rebounds. Williams played in place of an injured Shane Southwell, who watched the game with a walking boot on his left foot. Southwell has been in a month-long slump. Perhaps it is time for Weber to give Williams a shot in the permanent starting lineup.
Also, K-State had several breakdowns at the end of regulation. Marcus Foster missed a free throw that could have put the game out of reach, the Bears grabbed three offensive rebounds on their final possession and Brady Heslip was left completely wide open on his game-tying three. I wonder if some of that could have been prevented. Bruce Weber told his players to back off during Foster’s second free-throw attempt and to drop back into defensive stances. Why? An offensive rebound would have meant more to the Wildcats.