KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Baylor Bears (22-1) avoided the largest upset in Big 12 Tournament history Thursday when the Bears held on to a second half lead to beat Kansas State (9-20) 74-68.
Baylor entered the game as 20-point favorites over the Wildcats, who they beat by more than 30 points twice during the regular season.
Thursday's tournament game would not be a similar cake walk.
In the first half, Kansas State held the Bears to just 36 points and forced 13 turnovers. Jared Butler turned the ball over five times.
Davion Bradford dominated Baylor in the post, scoring a game-high 15 first half points on 5-6 shooting.
Despite their struggles, Baylor still held a 36-34 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Kansas State would take its first lead during any of the teams' three matchups this season, 40-39, with 18:26 left in the game.
But as the clock ticked forward in the second half, Baylor's guards emerged to carry the Bears to victory.
With 9:33 remaining, Davion Mitchell hit a step-back triple off the dribble to give Baylor a 58-52 lead. MaCio Teague followed it up with a fast break layup and free throw to extend the lead to 11.
Baylor would continue to struggle with turnovers late in the game. With 2:33 remaining, KSU's Mike Mcguirl would hit two free throws off a turnover to cut the lead to five.
They would cut the lead to four before turning the ball over with less than 30 seconds left. Jared Butler hit two clutch free throws to put the game out of reach.
Mitchell finished the game with 23 points, while Teague continued his scoring streak, putting up 24 points on 10-15 shooting.
With the win, Baylor advances to the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, where they will play Oklahoma State and the Big 12 Player of the Year, as named by the coaches, Cade Cunningham.