Maybe losing and falling from the top of the Associated Press poll was just what Baylor needed to step up its game.
The No. 2 Bears look to continue to flex their considerable muscle when they travel to enigmatic TCU on Saturday for a Big 12 Conference dustup in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Bears (25-2, 14-1 Big 12) suffered no hangover from their first loss in more than three months, to No. 1 Kansas on Feb. 22, rolling to a 85-66 win over Kansas State on Tuesday.
Baylor had spent five weeks at No. 1, the longest stretch by any team this season and the longest on top since Kentucky in 2015. The Bears certainly showed why they are still considered likely to land one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Matthew Mayer hit for 19 points to lead four teammates in double-figure scoring against the Wildcats, as Baylor built a massive lead in the first half and cruised to the win. The Bears were up 50-24 at halftime, scoring the most first-half points in Big 12 play by any team since 2014.
The win allowed the Bears to clinch a top-two seed in the Big 12 Championship for the first time in program history.
"I think that's one of the strengths of our team all year long is we've shown up, we've played, we've competed," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "There was no mental lapse or letdown after our last home game. The big thing for us, like every team, is we started out and the goal was to win a Big 12 championship. And we've got 12 days to make history."
Jared Butler scored 16 points for the Bears in the win, while Davion Mitchell hit for 14 and dished out 10 assists, MaCio Teague added 13 points and Freddie Gillespie tallied 10 points and took 11 rebounds for Baylor.
"You can't argue with five guys in double figures, 16 of 18 from the free-throw line, 13 (made) threes," Drew said. "A lot of positives there, and defensively we were really good except for the last five minutes."
TCU (15-13, 6-9) heads home after a 65-59 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday. Desmond Bane scored 22 points, 17 of them in the second half, and took 11 rebounds as the short-handed Horned Frogs rallied from an 18-point deficit to tie the game with 53 seconds remaining.
"We didn't get done and didn't like how we did it," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said after the loss. "Too many turnovers, and we needed to out-rebound them, and didn't. Our shot selection wasn't good enough, and our defense clearly wasn't good enough."
TCU played without guards RJ Nembhard and Francisco Farabello, who sat out with groin and head injuries, respectively.
"You know we've had these challenges all year long, different challenges," Dixon said. "Obviously with Francisco being out and then then RJ, which we didn't even know 'til right before the tipoff, affected us. So really couldn't really adjust too much or even prepare for the situation."
Baylor defeated TCU 68-52 on Feb. 1 in Waco in the teams' first meeting this season.
--Field Level Media