WACO, Texas - There once was a time Iowa State could survive when a key player got in foul trouble.
Now, with a young team and only nine scholarship players, any absence is huge for the Cyclones. That became apparent when Tyray Pearson was limited to 11 minutes in the second half because of fouls in a 79-74 loss to Baylor on Saturday.
"In the old days, we might have been able to absorb that," Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said. "But now you take Tyray out and who do you put in? The janitor?"
Pearson still led all scorers with 22 points in the Big 12 opener and Eustachy was satisfied to get 74 points on the road. The problem, of course, was giving up 79.
"We missed a lot of opportunities, but we're getting better," Eustachy said. "We're limited in what we can do. If we get 74 points, we should win every game. "We just made little mistakes."
Baylor slowed Iowa State in the second half with a zone defense. The Bears surrounded Pearson inside and were quick enough to get to the Cyclones' outside shooters.
"That zone they played made it tough for us to find shots," said Pearson, who made 9 of 16 shots. "Whenever I had the ball, I had two or three players around me, but that's not an excuse. We're getting better, that's the bottom line."
Iowa State's Marcus Jefferson was 4-for-4 on 3-pointers, but teammates Jake Sullivan and Shane Power found few openings on the perimeter. Sullivan scored 15 points got only one 3-point shot, which he missed. Power was 0-for-2 on 3-point attempts and scored just seven points.
"There were no secrets out there," Sullivan said. "We didn't handle the zone. We got beat. It's as simple as that. We scored enough points to win."
Iowa State rallied from a 36-30 halftime deficit to take a 42-39 lead on Jefferson's 3-pointer. It was 44-all after Shane Power scored, but freshman John Lucas hit a 3 to break the tie and Baylor led the rest of the way.
"When John Lucas hit that three to put us back up, it showed me he's got courage, that he's not scared to play in big situations," Baylor's Wendell Greenleaf said.
Lucas led Baylor with 16 points, Lawrence Roberts scored 15 and Greenleaf 14, including a four-point play and a dunk off a steal after Iowa State had drawn to 57-53 with just under 9 minutes left.
"They're so quick," Sullivan said. "That made them tough to guard."
The schedule only gets tougher for Iowa State, even though the Cyclones will be at home this week. No. 17 Missouri visits Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday night, followed by No. 5 Oklahoma State on Saturday.