MANHATTAN — Bruce Weber has tried his best to remain positive while guiding the Kansas State Wildcats through a troublesome season.

But after watching Baylor and Iowa State bolt to huge leads in the opening minutes each of the last two games, forcing the Wildcats to battle back from double-digit deficits, then faltering again down the stretch, he's ready to try something new.

Clearly the good cop approach isn't working.

With a nine-point home loss to No. 1-ranked Baylor last Monday, followed by a 73-63 setback at Iowa State, the Wildcats fell to 9-14 overall, 2-8 in the Big 12. Last-place Oklahoma State (11-12, 1-9) visits Bramlage Coliseum at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Weber vowed that the kid gloves are coming off.

"I'm going to coach them harder now, to be honest," he said Monday. "For a while there, I was trying to be, 'No, you're OK, we're fine,' give you hugs and kisses and all that stuff. I literally have kissed some guys in practice, just trying to make them feel good.

"Now I'm going to coach them hard. If they don't like it, they don't like it; that's fine. I'm going to try to do it the way I know and the way I think you can be successful."

The Wildcats trailed Iowa State 21-2 on Saturday, got back to within four in the second half, but could not sustain it. Against Baylor, it was 22-6 before they stormed back.

Senior Xavier Sneed, the team's leading scorer at 14.5 points a game, accepted some of the blame.

"Of course, me, I had some turnovers in both games, so for me, just handle the ball more and be more of a leader on the court," he said. "We can't have those early turnovers to start the game like that for us.

"Other than that, we're capable. We know we always get back on that run every time to get us within five, three, two. In every game there's always that one critical point that we've just got to get over that hump."

Weber was more blunt.

"The big thing, we've just got to play better," he said. "That's just plain and simple."

Maybe it's time for the bad cop.

"Instead of maybe mollycoddling them a little bit, just trying to help them through some tough times, it didn't work, I guess," Weber said. "So now I'm going to back and, 'Hey, this is what it's about. You've got to play hard.'

"In this league, the best teams are the toughest teams. Kansas is tough. They're good, they've got good players, but they're tough. And West Virginia is tough (and) Baylor is really tough — physically, mentally."

The past two years, that also was K-State's identity, especially last year with seniors Barry Brown, Dean Wade and Kamau Stokes leading the way.

"We probably weren't when those guys were younger, but we got tougher," Weber said. "It takes more than skill in that you also have to be tough to be successful, especially in this league where you've got a double-round robin."

Sneed insisted that the players are not ready to throw in the towel.

"Everybody on this team still cares," he said. "We've still got a lot of games left; we can still do a lot of things.

"We just (need to) keep fighting right now and make some things happen."

Perhaps a new approach can nudge them in the right direction.

"If you're a coach and you care, it wears on you and (is) frustrating and (you're) disappointed," Weber said. "But that's my job to help them, and I've got to do my best to do that.

"But you run out of motivational speeches and it's tough. But I keep trying. I told them (Sunday), I'm going to keep on coaching."