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Baylor Beats Arizona 58-49

A strong second half propels the Bears

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Wichita State Peter G. Aiken

After a disastrous first half offensively, Baylor (7-3) dominated Arizona (7-4) in the second half to snap the Wildcats’ 53 game home non-conference winning streak. Baylor defeated Arizona 58-49.

The first half couldn’t have gone much worse offensively for Baylor. They scored .67 points per possession (PPP). America’s worst offense averages .87. Baylor went 2-of-13 from three and shot 27.6% from the field. They added 13 turnovers to that terrible shooting clip. Those horrible numbers left Baylor with just 20 first half points.

Baylor flashed some nice signs in the first half though. They grabbed the games’ first 13 offensive rebounds. Arizona scored .87 PPP in the half, as they struggled to score against Baylor’s zone.

Arizona nailed a three to start the second half, but Baylor went on an 8-0 run not long after and took a 37-31 lead. The Bears held Arizona to eight points in the first eight minutes of the second half. Mark Vital stayed active on the glass; early in the half he had the same number of rebounds that Arizona had total (13).

Makai Mason’s offense took over for Baylor. He made a three, then started getting inside. He had 16 of Baylor’s first 37 points. He finished with 22 points.

The Wildcats made another run, but Baylor kept moving the ball. Matthew Mayer made a nice pass to Mario Kegler for a layup, and then Kegler made his second three of the season to extend Baylor’s lead to seven before the under eight timeout.

Arizona made one final run. Baylor shot poorly from the free throw line, as they finished 10-of-20 from the stripe. That kept Arizona in the game, and a Brandon Randolph three cut the margin to 55-49 with 45 seconds left. The Bears then failed to inbound the ball, Luckily Arizona missed their next attempt, and Vital went to the line. Baylor made a few free throws late, and the Wildcats—like they had most of the night—failed to do anything on offense. That kept the game from ever getting too close.

Baylor seemed to want this game more. The Bears out-rebounded Arizona 50-19. Baylor had nearly many offensive rebounds (18) as Arizona had rebounds. Mason was active. King McClure—although he didn’t score tonight—came back after twisting his ankle in the first half. He was active on defense, which led to four big steals in the first half. Tristan Clark created some nice buckets when Arizona—for reasons unknown—decided to stop doubling him in the post.

The Bears still have massive issues, especially shooting. But few people thought the Bears would win this game. Time to keep proving people wrong.