Iowa St.-Baylor Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- After a tough week that likely ruined its Big 12 title hopes, Baylor doesn't have much time to regroup.
The ninth-ranked Bears try to avoid a third straight loss Monday night when they host Iowa State.
With a chance to move to the top of the Big 12 last week, Baylor suffered back-to-back defeats to then-No. 7 Kansas and then-No. 4 Missouri to fall two games back of both.
Neither loss was particularly close. The Bears (21-4, 8-4) shot 36.6 percent while falling 68-54 to the Jayhawks on Wednesday, then shot 36.2 percent in a 72-57 loss to the Tigers on Saturday. Baylor was outscored by 11 points in the second half of each loss.
Having been swept by both teams, the Bears have a serious uphill climb to claim the Big 12's top seed heading into the conference tournament.
"We just have to hope a lot of stuff goes our way," forward Anthony Jones said. "We've got to win out for the rest of conference and hope some games go bad for Missouri and Kansas."
It could be a moot point if Perry Jones III can't break out of his shooting slump. The team's leading scorer, Jones has combined for nine points on 3-of-20 shooting in the two defeats after coming in averaging 14.8 points.
Fellow big man Quincy Acy was held to seven points in the loss to the Tigers, his fewest in 10 games.
While Baylor's big men are coming off a tough game, Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg is wary of their size. The Bears had a 40-27 rebounding advantage Saturday and a 21-5 edge on second-chance points.
"Their length is ridiculous," Hoiberg said. "That's a tough battle. Somebody's got to guard Perry Jones, he's 6-11 and you look at a guy like Chris Babb and he's 6-5. So we're going to be giving up some length, but if we go down there and play physical and play with confidence I'll take our chances."
Iowa State (18-7, 8-4) is feeling pretty good about itself having won four of five, including a victory over the Jayhawks on Jan. 28 and a 69-46 win against Texas A&M on Saturday.
Chris Allen scored a career-high 25 points against the Aggies, including 15 in the second half.
"This is the time where if you team isn't at the highest peak or peaking then there's really no point of you playing because teams are so much hungrier around this time," Allen said.
Allen appears to be peaking at the right time. The senior guard, who is averaging 12.7 points, scored 22 in a last-second loss at Oklahoma State on Tuesday and is 11 for 18 from 3-point range the last two games.
Iowa State defeated Baylor 72-57 on Jan. 15, 2011, in last season's lone meeting, but it has lost five straight in Waco.
Despite the Bears' losses last week, the Cyclones know ending that drought won't be easy.
"They're still a great team," Allen said. "This is when teams start to pick it up. They just haven't picked up that notch that they need. I don't want them picking it up against us."
Updated February 13, 2012