Tournament time is supposed to be a day of great basketball, especially when talking about one of the greatest conferences in the last decade. But the average score differential of 18.6 points in the first three games on Thursday provided little excitement for basketball fans, as Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia won their tournament games in dominating fashion.
Baylor 75 Texas 61
Rarely do you see a blowout in a 4/5 game, but Taurean Prince and the Baylor Bears went on a 13-1 run in the middle of the first half that helped boost them into an 11 point lead at the break and they never looked back. Prince had a monster game, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while Rico Gathers came off the bench, scoring 13 points and nabbing 9 boards.
Texas hoped the return of Cameron Ridley would help boost the Longhorns, but the senior center played just two minutes in his first game since injuring his foot in December. All-Big 12 First Team player Isaiah Taylor was limited to just 8 points but had 9 assists, while Javan Felix had a rough finish to his Big 12 Tournament career, scoring 0 points and grabbing just 1 rebound in 23 minutes of play.
Heading into the game, the storyline was focused on Texas' guards vs. Baylor's forwards. The Texas guards scored just 24 of the team's 61 points, allowing Baylor to dominate the game from start to finish.
Kansas 85 Kansas State 63
As expected, the Kansas Jayhawks took the Kansas State Wildcats to the woodshed with a 22 point dismantling after taking a 15 point lead going into half. Kansas used 24 assists on their 32 field goals to help boost them to victory. Perry Ellis went off in his first Big 12 Tournament game of his senior campaign, putting up 21 points and getting help from Frank Mason III, who had 16 points and 7 assists.
The Jayhawks limited Kansas State freshman Dean Wade to just 5 points, while forcing Justin Edwards to carry the load for the Wildcats. Edwards led the team with 23 points, while the next closest Wildcat had just 10 points. Despite being known for their tough defense, Kansas State allowed the Jayhawks to make 57% of their shots.
Kansas plays Baylor Friday night at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
West Virginia 86 TCU 66
West Virginia blew TCU out of the Sprint Center in a 20 point rout that saw Mountaineer star Devin Williams score 18 points and grab 13 rebounds. This game followed the first two games of the day, as West Virginia took a commanding 11 point lead into the halftime break.
The TCU sophomore studs in Chauncey Collins and Malique Trent combined for 33 points each and turned the ball over a total of just three times against Press Virginia, but the duo was unable to get much contribution from the rest of the team in the defeat.
West Virginia, not known for their offense, shot 56% from the field and 46% from three point range. However, the Mountaineers finished the game turning the ball over 17 times, a stat Bob Huggins' crew will need to change if they want to make it to the championship game.
West Virginia takes on Oklahoma Friday night at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.