Baylor-Iowa St. Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- Baylor's Big 12 season hasn't gone as planned, but it could have some good momentum going into postseason play.
The ninth-ranked Bears close the regular season looking for their first road win over Iowa State on Saturday night in a matchup which will decide the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament.
Baylor (25-5, 12-5) went unbeaten in conference play, but its chances for a Big 12 regular-season title took a hit after it was swept by both Kansas and Missouri. The Bears, though, have gotten back on track by winning three straight.
They beat Texas Tech 77-48 on Monday on a night the team honored Quincy Acy, Fred Ellis and Anthony Jones as the winningest senior class in school history. That victory was the group's 95th with the Bears.
"Obviously it's emotional playing my last game at the Ferrell Center, but I feel we have a long way to go in the season, so it's not close to our last game," said Acy, who averages 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Baylor will try to end the regular season on a high note and clinch the third seed for the Big 12 tournament with a win over Iowa State. The Cyclones would claim that spot if they pull the upset.
The Bears shot 60.0 percent in a 79-64 win over Iowa State on Feb. 13, receiving 18 points from Perry Jones III.
The sophomore is trying to build off one of his better performances in the last month, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds Monday. It was the first time he reached double figures in rebounds in seven games and just the third time in that span he scored at least 10.
The Big 12 preseason player of the year averaged 7.3 points over the previous three games while shooting 25.8 percent and struggling with foul trouble.
Baylor has played well on the road, going 8-2, with both losses coming to teams ranked in the top 10.
However, the Bears are winless in Ames, going 0-9. Their last four visits to Hilton Coliseum were decided by an average of 15.8 points.
Iowa State is 15-2 at home, including a victory over then-No. 5 Kansas on Jan. 28.
The Cyclones (21-9, 11-6) are continuing to build their NCAA tournament resume, and a second win over a top 10 team would be impressive. They've already posted the third-most regular-season wins in school history.
Iowa State won three conference games last season.
"There's still an ending for this story," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "I hope we can go out and do something special."
Hoiberg's team had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 78-72 loss to No. 7 Missouri on Wednesday.
The Cyclones led from 8:50 left in the first half until there was 12:12 to go in the second, but the Tigers took the lead for good with 3:36 remaining.
Royce White had 20 points but went scoreless in the final 12 minutes. He also had nine assists and six rebounds, while Melvin Ejim added 10 points and 13 boards.
"We just didn't do a good enough job of getting (White) the ball," Hoiberg said of White's struggles in the second half.
White had 14 points against Baylor last month but committed seven turnovers. Ejim scored 17.
Updated March 2, 2012