In a tough defensive struggle, Baylor knocked off Texas Tech 57-52. The Bears moved to 12-1 and 2-0 in conference play. Baylor takes on Kansas at 12:00 on Saturday in Lawrence.
This was a defensive battle. Baylor led 21-18 at halftime. Jared Butler, Baylor’s best player, did not score until 3:45 left in the game. He made a key layup to halt Jahmi’us Ramsey’s impressive run for Texas Tech. Butler hit another layup with 3:00 left to give Baylor a six point lead.
The Bears led by just two with 29 seconds left. The Bears lined up with all five guys out of bounds, and MaCio Teague drew a foul with 24.6 seconds left. He made both. After Texas Tech missed a layup with 16 seconds left, Gillespie secured the defensive rebound and was fouled. He split the free throws. Texas Tech hit a layup to bring it within three with nine seconds left, but Texas Tech picked up a technical foul for Kyler Edwards flopping. Vital, a sub 50% free throw shooter, made one free throw. Butler was fouled with four seconds left, made both, and Baylor won in Lubbock.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
1) Davion Mitchell had his best game- Mitchell worked to the rim and scored 14 points. With the clock winding down to two seconds, he drilled a big three over Ramsey. He also notched a massive steal in a 2-on-1 situation for Texas Tech.
2) The defense remains intense- Baylor switched a ton of Texas Tech’s actions—both on and off the ball—which stymied the Red Raiders’ offense. Yes, Davide Moretti shot horribly, but Baylor made life disastrous for Chris Beard’s squad. The defense entered No. 9 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, and it should jump even higher.
3) Matt Mayer’s good moments outweigh a few rough ones- Mayer is really coming along. He drilled a monumental three in the second half, and he timed a Texas Tech pass to get a steal. Mayer attempted a ridiculously ill-advised three late in the game, but he’s come along well in terms of playing in the offense and defending. The Bear’s ceiling is a lot higher if he keeps this up.
This was a huge win for Baylor. Texas Tech is probably the league’s fourth best team, and they might be better than West Virginia. Baylor can lose in Lawrence and still remain in a good spot in the Big 12 title race, but if they can notch the program’s first win in Lawrence, then Baylor’s the league’s favorite and will likely be ranked No. 1 in the country on Monday.