The Big 12 is facing a major setback on the conference championship game’s biggest stage as Kansas State lost to Baylor on Sunday.
The loss ended Kansas State’s 10-game winning streak, the first in school history.
“The Big 12 championship is a special occasion for the conference and our basketball program,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said in a statement.
“But I am heartbroken by the loss and I want to assure our fans that our commitment to excellence will not be diminished.”
Baylor, the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, took the lead midway through the first half and never relinquished it, holding the Wildcats scoreless for much of the second half.
After Baylor’s Jordan Williamson hit two free throws with less than a minute to play, Oklahoma State’s Josh Elliott drove for a layup and was fouled by Kansas State guard Justin Patton, who had a chance to take the ball to the hoop and score.
But Elliott missed a wide-open layup that could have put Oklahoma State up by double digits.
“It was a little bit frustrating,” Elliott said.
“We were trying to get some rebounds, but it wasn’t going our way.”
Kansas State, which finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the AP poll, dropped to No. 5 on the preseason poll after a disappointing season.
The Kansas-Oklahoma State game will be the last Big 12 conference title game before the start of the 2019-20 season.
“We are in a lot of tough situations,” Oklahoma State coach Lon Kruger said.
The Jayhawks will play No. 9 Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
“There’s not a lot we can do, but we will be prepared and we will work as hard as we can.”
Kansas (15-6, 8-5 Big 12) has lost five of its last six games, including a season-high 38-point defeat at Texas A&M on Nov. 18.
Kansas State lost its season opener to TCU on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Kansas (17-6) was looking for its first win in the conference title contest since it upset No. 15 Baylor in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.
The Wildcats were coming off a home loss to Missouri on Nov, 9, and were coming into this game coming off back-to-back losses to No.
“Texas is coming off two wins over ranked opponents and one loss to a team from the SEC.
Kansas State (13-6), the Big 10 champion, was coming off its first victory over a ranked opponent since winning its opening two games of the season over No. 3 Oklahoma State.
Kansas has won four of five in the series, including victories in the last three meetings between the schools.
Oklahoma City (19-8) is coming into its matchup with Kansas with the league’s best record and will need to win three straight to avoid falling into the Big Dance.
Oklahoma State has won its last three games and will play its first of back- to-back games.
Oklahomans coach Travis Ford has been a vocal critic of the league since his team finished at the bottom of the preseason AP poll.
Ford has made the league a top priority for the upcoming season and his squad is coming in with a lot on its mind, especially after winning three of its first four games.
The Jayhawks lost two starters for the second consecutive game, starting guard Travis Averill and shooting guard Jordan Woodard, who combined for 17 points and eight rebounds against Baylor.
Woodard, a 6-foot-9 guard, had 12 points and seven rebounds.
He was a season high-tying 20 of 46 from the field.
Averill, a 5-foot, 9-inch guard, added 11 points and six rebounds.
He was a preseason first-team All-Big 12 pick and was a key reason Oklahoma State had a better season than expected, winning 10 of its final 11 games before the conference tournament.
Okla’s season was derailed when it lost its first two games in the tournament.
Kansas lost to TCU in the semifinals and then to Oklahoma State in the round of 64.
Kansas lost the Big Ten tournament for the first time since 2002.
Okansas is trying to rebound from a 5–9 start that included an embarrassing loss to Wisconsin on Monday.
The Razorbacks went on a three-game win streak, including wins over Iowa State and Iowa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.