No. 2 Baylor to host Iowa State after long layoff

Second-ranked Baylor is slated to return to the court for the first time in three weeks when it faces Iowa State in Big 12 Conference play on Tuesday night in Waco, Texas.

The Bears (17-0, 9-0 Big 12) have had six consecutive games postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their program.

Before the hiatus, Baylor matched the best start in school history with a solid 83-69 road win over then-No. 6 Texas on Feb. 2. Now the question will be whether the Bears can pick up where they left off and continue to be viewed as the second-best program nationally behind Gonzaga.

Baylor coach Scott Drew has repeatedly stated this season that paying attention to the next game is more important than any big-picture scenarios.

“We’ve been so focused on the next opponent,” Drew said after the win over the Longhorns. “And I think once we stop doing that, then we won’t have to worry about being undefeated. Each and every day, we want to win today and put our best foot forward. In every Big 12 game, if you don’t bring it, you have a chance to win. If you leave it all out there, you can live with the results.”

Iowa State (2-16, 0-13) is currently one of three games remaining on the Baylor schedule. A postponed home game with West Virginia was rescheduled for Thursday before the Bears visit Kansas on Saturday.

The Big 12 has pledged to reschedule some games for the following week so Baylor figures to land two or three more games prior to the conference tournament that runs from March 10-13.

Davion Mitchell was the star of the Bears’ most recent game as he made five 3-pointers and scored 27 points against Texas. Mitchell is third on the team in scoring (13.8) and averages a team-best 5.8 assists.

Jared Butler leads Baylor in scoring (17.0), 3-point baskets (45) and steals (41). MaCio Teague is second with a 14.6 scoring average.

The Bears have won six of the past seven meetings with the Cyclones, including a 76-65 win on Jan. 2 in Ames, Iowa. Baylor has won 15 of 17 matchups at home.

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That history isn’t good news for Iowa State, which is 0-8 on the road this season. In fact, the Cyclones arrive with a 12-game losing streak in what has been a demoralizing campaign.

It has been more than two months since Iowa State won a game — that being a 60-45 triumph over Jackson State on Dec. 20.

With that backdrop, it wasn’t surprising that Cyclones coach Steve Prohm was pleased with the fight his club showed in the second half against No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday. The Cyclones trailed by 21 in the first half but rallied to briefly move ahead before falling 66-56.

“Tough loss. Obviously, we played a really good team,” Prohm said. “I’m extremely proud of our guys’ effort in the second half. Really competed, held a very good offensive team to 25 points and I thought the ball moved a lot better in the second half.

“We put ourselves in position to win the game, got up and just weren’t able to sustain it.”

Leading scorer Rasir Bolton (15.7) recorded 14 points and six assists.

Bolton said that sustaining good play for longer stretches is something his team can improve on.

“I would just say maybe it’s a little focus — guys coming out (with) maybe a little nerves, a little jitters at the beginning of the game,” Bolton said. “… We got to figure it out as a team, continue to fight and compete and go get a win.”

–Field Level Media

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