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The King (McClure) in the North: Baylor Beats Oklahoma State 73-69

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NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Behind King McClure’s 6-of-7 first half from deep and career high 29 point game, Baylor 10-6 (2-2) knocked off Oklahoma State 8-9 (2-3) 73-69. Baylor takes on Texas Tech at 5:00 on Saturday in the Ferrell Center.

In Baylor’s second game without Tristan Clark, things weren’t going well. Oklahoma State raced out to a 24-16 lead. The Bears couldn’t space the floor. Oklahoma State trapped ball screens, and Makai Mason picked up two early fouls. This looked like a blowout.

McClure took over. He finished the first half with 20 points, including several makes with a hand in his face. Jared Butler went 3-of-4 from deep in the half, and Devonte Bandoo added a big triple too. The Bears finished the first half 9-of-12 from beyond the arc and led 40-35.

The Cowboys exploded from three too. Lindy Waters started 3-of-4 to key Oklahoma State’s 6-of-8 second half start from three. The Cowboys built up a lead.

The Bears fought back. Baylor ran a set called “eye” where two bigs set screens up top and two shooters head to the corners. McClure ran that play to beat Creighton last season, and he found teammates and got to the rim. Not long after, Mason hit a big three and Freddie Gillespie nailed two free throws to help tie the game at 61 with six minutes left. Butler also made a shot out of that set late.

Vital left the game with 4:30 left (but returned with four seconds left), after McClure hit another three to give Baylor a 64-61 lead. Oklahoma State’s player stepped on his ankle inadvertently, and he exited the game. Gillespie and Mario Kegler finished the game at center and power forward, something that seemed impossible a week ago.

The Bears took over in the final four minutes. Butler and Gillespie collected a big steal, and Kegler drew a foul trying to throw down a lob. He hit one to give Baylor a 65-62 lead.

Oklahoma State scored on their next possession, giving Baylor the ball up one point with a minute left. McClure drove and missed. But he grabbed his own board and drew a foul. He nailed both shots to give Baylor a 69-66 lead with 45 seconds left.

The officials—as good of a night as they had otherwise—botched a block call. Mason was dropped by an arm extension and called for a block. But the veracity of the rock was not in question. The Cowboys missed both free throws. Mason then hit a long 2-point jump shot with 10 seconds left. Cameron McGriff hit a ridiculous three to make it 71-69. But Mason answered by making two free throws to give Baylor the victory.

This was a giant win for the Bears. They shot insanely well from deep—something that isn’t sustainable. But Oklahoma State shot out of their minds too. Baylor won a road game against a top 100 KenPom opponent without their best player. The win was real and spectacular.