Baylor (15-0) defeated Oklahoma State (10-5) 61-57. The Bears will almost assuredly be ranked #1 for the first time in school history on Monday.
Baylor opened the game with an easy Jo Lual-Acuil dunk, but the game was hard fought throughout.
Early in the action, Oklahoma State did well on the offensive glass. The Cowboys had six offensive rebounds, while the Bears had zero 10:56 into the game.
After a close early contest, Oklahoma State went on an 8-0 run. During the run, Phil Forte drained a long 3-point shot, something he would do for much of the night, and the Bears trailed 24-19. Through 15 minutes, the Bears attempted just one 3-point shot.
The Bears just couldn’t make shots early, a problem that plagued them for the second straight game. Johnathan Motley had just two points 17 minutes into the game.
Oklahoma State led 30-25 at halftime. Oklahoma State shot just 35% in the first half. But the Cowboys had seven more shots than Baylor thanks to nine offensive rebounds. The Bears had just two offensive rebounds and one 3-point make before halftime.
The Bears came out of the half and blitzed Oklahoma State. Baylor opened on a 6-0 run, which actually should have been an 8-0 run if not for a disastrously awful offensive foul call on Jo Lual-Acuil. But Oklahoma State responded with back-to-back 3-point makes. Phil Forte, who had struggled early in the season, came alive tonight. Forte frequently made shots from five feet behind the line, and he finished five of seven from deep.
As the game went back and forth late, Motley fouled Cameron McGriff as he shot a 3-pointer with less than a minute left. Cameron McGriff made two of three, and the Bears held a two point lead with 45 seconds remaining.
On the next possession, Manu Lecomte was fouled by Forte, and he made one of two. Jawun Evans raced down the court and missed a layup. Lecomte secured the rebound and made both free throws to put the game away.
Baylor has trailed at halftime five times this season, rallied each time to win. Outscored Oklahoma St by nine in the second half.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) January 8, 2017
The Bears were simply too much for Oklahoma State today. Terry Maston had one of his best games of the season. Maston went five of eight from the field for 11 points,. Jake Lindsey made a big steal with the Bears up by four, and he nailed a 3-point shot with the Bears up one with less than four minutes left. Ish Wainright was called for a fourth foul that was so questionable Charlie Rose was jealous, but when he was in the game, his active defense kept the Bears in the contest. This game was ugly, but if you win ugly, you still win. And Baylor has now won every game.
Baylor’s challenge will heat up Tuesday when they travel to Morgantown. But they’ve found a way to win and vanquished some great teams. That’s how you end up #1.