Baylor (5-1) fell to Xavier (6-1) 76-63. The Bears will take on Wichita State at 1:00 on Saturday.
The Bears got off to a rough start. Baylor fell behind 8-2 and by the second timeout, Xavier extended their lead to 21-8. The Musketeers opened the game 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Baylor’s zone wasn’t quick enough to contest Xavier’s shooters. Even if they had been, it might not have mattered. Xavier was on fire.
Terry Maston kept the Bears in the game. He scored 15 points in the first half on just eight shots. When the Bears needed a basket, they found him. He’s had a superb senior season.
Baylor went into halftime trailing Xavier 39-34. J.P. Macurra banked a 30 foot 3-point shot as he was backing up. Horrible offense and amazing luck are a good recipe.
But give Macurra plenty of credit. He was lucky on one shot. He was fantastic on plenty of others. He finished the first half 7-of-9 from the field with 17 points and no turnovers.
The Bears opened the second half with Terry Maston in place of Tristan Clark and in man-to-man. Xavier scored four points on their first two possessions.
Then Xavier went on an 12-0 run over the next four minutes. Baylor’s offense couldn’t generate a good look. Maston couldn’t get the ball. He later injured his hand and did not play the final 10 minutes of the half. During the run, the Bears were 0-of-4 with four turnovers. It might have been the worst stretch of the season.
Mark Vital answered with the next six points for the Bears, but the deficit was too much. He played well, but with Baylor down six, he missed wide open dunk. The Bears wouldn’t have been in a spot to have that dunk matter without his play, but that miss really hurt.
Xavier’s not a great offensive rebounding team, but they notched 14 of them. Manu Lecomte also went just 4-of-13 from the field. He made a nice three with under eight minutes left, but that only cut the deficit to seven. He’s the Bears best player, and he’ll need to be much better against Wichita State.
Baylor made one final run. King McClure drove well and had 10 points on just six shots. Xavier hit enough tough shots and relied on nice out of bounds plays to take the lead. They also converted enough from the line where they went 18-of-23 . A consequential advantage compared to Baylor’s 10-of-12.
It’s tough to win on the road against a top 25 team. Baylor found that out tonight. Hopefully Wichita State learns that Saturday.