MANHATTAN — A slow start for Kansas State eventually led to a slow, agonizing death.

The Wildcats spotted No. 1-ranked Baylor an early 16-point lead and fought back in each half, but never could overtake the Bears on Monday night as they fell, 73-67, at Bramlage Coliseum.

It was the 19th straight victory for Baylor, which improved to 20-1 and remained perfect in the Big 12 at 9-0. K-State saw its two-game home winning streak end, falling to 9-13 and 2-7.

K-State, which has faltered down the stretch numerous times this season, played from behind the whole way against Baylor. The Wildcats did get as close as three points late in the first period and got it to five with ample time in the second, but Baylor never cracked.

"One, you spot them. They're very good," K-State coach Bruce Weber said of the slow start. "They just came out and just kind of were very physical with us early.

"You turn it over five times in that first stretch, what was it, 22-6. I told the guys at that timeout, the only way you're going to have a chance is to guard the heck out of them."

The Wildcats did just that, knocking down five straight shots during an 11-0 run that cut it to 22-17 on Makol Mawien's two free throws with 7:30 left in the half and then had another nine-point spurt that whittled it to 29-26 on a Xavier Sneed 3-pointer, but that was as close as it got.

Baylor led 33-28 at intermission and led by at least five the rest of the way.

"We battled them, we scored more points against them than anyone else in the league, shot a good percentage (45.8) — pretty good," Weber said. "Just too many turnovers and then just a few breakdowns on defense when it really counted."

Levi Stockard's jump hook in the lane and a Sneed 3-pointer gave the Wildcats their best shot of the second half when they cut it to 42-37 with 12:25 left. Mike McGuirl drove for a layup at the 11:50 mark to again get it to five, but that's when Baylor flexed its muscles again.

Jared Butler's 3-pointer ignited a 15-4 run, culminating with MaCio Teague's three at the 7:45 mark and suddenly the lead was back to 16.

Butler led the Bears with 20 points, Teague added 15 and Davion Mitchell had 13 with seven assists.

"Our guys did a great job coming of the gates and starting out fast," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Credit to coach Weber and K-State for coming back."

Sneed, who had been mired in a shooting slump, led K-State with 23 points, going 7 of 12 from the field with four 3-pointers, and also grabbed eight rebounds.

"For me, just thinking next shot. Don't worry about the last one, don't dwell on the last one," Sneed said of his approach toward getting his stroke back. "Just think about making the next one.

"It definitely helps out a lot to see the ball go through the hoop. I got some easy ones early, so it helps me out a lot when I do that."

Cartier Diarra added 11 points and three steals off the bench for the Wildcats, who also got 10 points each from big men Montavious Murphy and Makol Mawien. Mawien grabbed eight rebounds as well.

K-State made a final push late with an 8-1 run, cutting it to 60-51 on Sneed's 3-pointer at the 5:15 mark. He then hit the first of two free throws at 3:31, getting it to eight, and the Wildcats got an offensive rebound, only to turn it over.

Diarra's 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left cut the final margin to six, but it was too little, too late.

The game was K-State's third in six days and started last Wednesday with a 61-53 home victory over Oklahoma, before losses at West Virginia on Saturday and then to Baylor.

"We've gotten better, and I'm not sure it shows on the record, but we have gotten better," Weber said. "You don't get any reward for being close and it's a shame.

"It's a few plays, it's a little better toughness, consistency — all that stuff. I thought when we executed tonight, it was pretty, and then we have lapses. That's probably the difference."

Weber said he'll give the Wildcats two days off before preparing for a 7 p.m. Saturday game at Iowa State.

"It definitely has been a tough stretch," he said.