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Manu Lecomte helps No. 1 Baylor slide past Kansas State

By David Smale, The Sports Xchange
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Baylor's stay at the top of the polls might be short lived, but the Bears proved they're a team to be reckoned with after a hard-fought 77-68 victory on the road over No. 25 Kansas State on Saturday.
"They out-toughed us," Kansas State forward D.J. Johnson said after the game. "I'm not sure what happened."
The Bears, who lost 89-68 to West Virginia on Tuesday in their first-ever game as the top-ranked team, overcame an off night from leading scorer Johnathan Motley, who fouled out with just seven points.
Baylor owned a 37-24 advantage on the boards.
"They wanted to take advantage of transition opportunities too," Baylor coach Scott Drew said, "but I thought the glass was the area where we were most effective."
The Bears used a run midway through the second half to turn a two-point deficit into a seven-point lead. Kansas State could not get closer than five points the rest of the game.
The final score marked the largest lead of the game by either team.
"We made stops," guard Manu Lecomte said of the turnaround. "We knew it was going to be a tough game."
Drew was a little more detailed in his explanation.
"We were able to make stops and get into transition," Drew said. "Then we were able to get some good looks and make some shots."
Baylor (16-1, 4-1 Big 12) was led by Lecomte with 26 points. He was joined in double figures by Ish Wainright and Al Freeman with 15 points apiece.
Kansas State (13-4, 2-3) was led by Johnson with 20 points. Barry Brown scored 13, Xavier Sneed added 12 and Kamau Stokes had 10.
"They're good," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "They're steady and smart, and they executed and made plays down the stretch. We didn't have an answer for them. They controlled the tempo after getting the (seven-point) lead."
The game was a sloppy, back-and-forth affair with 32 combined turnovers. There were six lead changes in the second half before Baylor took a 56-49 lead with an 11-2 run.
Drew was happy the week was coming to a close on a positive note.
"One thing about the Big 12 is that you don't want to get on a losing streak," Drew said. "It's real important to be able to turn the page, win or lose.
"This week, we finally got ranked No. 1 and we had road games against ranked opponents. The first game didn't turn out like we wanted, but today we were able to make adjustments."
Neither team could muster much offense in the first half. Kansas State went 4:45 without scoring a point, but Baylor managed only 10 points during that stretch.
The Bears shot 41.4 percent from the field in the first half, which slightly exceeded the Wildcats' 36.7 percent. Baylor controlled the boards, outrebounding Kansas State 22-15.
The Bears led 31-30 at the half. They were led by Lecomte with eight points (but three fouls) and Wainright with seven points. Kansas State was led by Stokes with eight points.
NOTES:
-- Kansas State hosted the No. 1-ranked team for the eighth time, and the second year in a row. Last season, the Wildcats defeated Oklahoma 80-69. Kansas State is 5-14 against the top-ranked team, with four victories coming in Bramlage Coliseum, which opened in the fall of 1988.
-- Baylor's climb from unranked to No. 1 in week nine is the fastest climb in the history of the Associated Press poll.
-- Baylor is now 12-3 all time when playing with a top-five ranking.
Manu Lecomte helps No. 1 Baylor slide past Kansas State Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 7:24 PM Rating: 5

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