Baylor did the more recent sort of Baylor things tonight, winning Scott Drew his 202nd game (a program record) and earning themselves a place in the Big 12 Tournament championship game with a 86-69 win over Texas. If they can win tomorrow night's game over Iowa State, who beat the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks earlier in the evening, they'll do what only one school has ever done before: win the Big 12 in football, men's basketball, and women's basketball in the same year (OU 2000-2001). If that happens, Baylor will be the highest seed ever to win the Big 12 Tournament.
Tonight, the Bears did the deed with a combination of efficient offense and outstanding defense, the latter earning praise from ESPN's Fran Fraschilla at numerous points in the game. Baylor apparently adjusted our typical zone defense to take away the foul line area that Texas (and others) have used to torch us in the past, and the results were undeniable, especially in the first half. Unlike last night, the Bears were even able to continue building on their 15-point halftime lead, eventually leading by as many as 24.
The player of the game for Baylor on offense was most certainly senior Cory Jefferson, who paced the Bears in the first half with 16 points and 8 rebounds and finished with 24 and 13. Brady Heslip scored 24 of his own on 6-11 from 3. Isaiah Austin provided the defensive punch with 7 blocks, running his total in the Tournament to a record 16 in 3 games.
I can't say enough about where this team is after its 6th win in a row. From the darkest days of February, we hoped we might see Baylor play as well as it could. You're seeing that now. Isaiah and Cory are dominating the inside, Brady and Kenny Chery are hitting shots from the outside, and Royce O'Neale holds it all together. Behind them, you have the ultimate hustle player in Rico Gathers coming off the bench. It's an amazing set when it all clicks, and it's clicking right now.
Congrats to the Bears and Coach Drew for another huge victory tonight. We'll see ISU tomorrow night for another chance at a Big 12 title! It's the matchup I predicted three days ago, but let's hope it goes the other way...
From the Twitterverse:
Baylor dominating Texas tonight and I've been telling everyone in Greenville to look for the Bears when filling out those tourney brackets— Ricardo LeCompte (@RicardoLeCompte) March 15, 2014
Never thought I'd say this .... But you don't want to see Baylor next weekend.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) March 15, 2014
Don't get me wrong. Baylor is doing EXACTLY what you're supposed to do down the stretch. Strong finish, big turnaround for Scott Drew. Again— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) March 15, 2014
Baylor going for 80% of the major championships if they can hold off Texas for the final 3:15— Brian Ethridge (@TruthOrBear247) March 15, 2014
Baylor.— Terrance Ganaway (@TerranceGanaway) March 15, 2014
Baylor's role allocation has been OFF THE CHARTS. Bears know who they are and what they're supposed to do. Comfortable in their own skin.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 15, 2014
Baylor now has 10 wins against teams ranked in the RPI Top 50. Bears trying to be first team to win four games in four days in Big 12 tourn.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) March 15, 2014
Recap, stats & photo gallery from Baylor's 1-0 win v No. 23 Texas Tech in Big 12 opener: http://t.co/dgD8iOnMwI— Baylor Baseball (@BaylorBaseball) March 15, 2014