Week In Review
#13 Baylor 79 Kansas State 72 (2OT)
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 5,588
Baylor was able to survive one of its sloppier performances of the season with a strong 2nd half defensive effort and some timely baskets late to finally pull away from a scrappy Kansas State team 79-72 in double overtime. The Bears were led in scoring by Taurean Prince, who poured in 19 points but also had 6 turnovers, including a few real head scratchers in key moments. Johnathan Motley had a really nice game with 15 points on a perfect 7-7 from the field to go with 9 rebounds. Lester Medford also set a new career high with 13 assists. But this was not the Bears’ finest performance and it nearly came back to bite them. Baylor was fortunate to only be down by 6 at halftime after a sluggish 1st half that saw BU get outrebounded and outhustled. K-State came up with all of the 50-50 balls and was repeatedly getting open shots from good ball movement as the Bears were lazy in their rotations in the zone. Baylor had much better defensive intensity in the 2nd half and was able to grab a 5 point lead with 11 minutes to play. Yet it just seemed as if Baylor couldn’t get out of its own way all night. Medford allowed K-State to tie it at the free throw line in the final seconds with a dumb foul in the backcourt. And then Lester had a great look to win it at the buzzer for the second consecutive game, but this one rimmed out and overtime was required. Al Freeman came to play in the OT, scoring all 11 of his points in the extra sessions and although the Bears needed a second OT to finish the job, they were able to do just that. Baylor was able to get a win against a Wildcat team that is better than their conference record would indicate (currently #35 in KenPom) and took over sole possession of first place in the Big 12 in advance of a headline Saturday matchup with top-ranked Oklahoma.
#1 Oklahoma 82 #13 Baylor 72
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 10,206
This just in: Oklahoma is good at the shootyhoops. And coming off a loss earlier in the week at Iowa State, the Sooners were determined to make a statement to the rest of the Big 12 and they did that at Baylor’s expense, cruising to an 82-72 win on Saturday afternoon. The Bears got off to a real nice start in front of a GREAT crowd in the Ferrell Center, leading by 6 when Buddy Hield went to the Oklahoma bench with his second foul midway through the 1st half. It looked as if Baylor had an opportunity to make a big run but instead, OU’s Jordan Woodard got white hot from the outside, hitting six 1st half 3’s and scoring 20 of the Sooners’ 37 points in the opening 20 minutes. Baylor was dominating the glass and getting good shots when they were protecting the ball, but the turnover bug bit hard and Oklahoma took advantage of Baylor’s zone defense at will. The Bears got off to a quick start in the 2nd half and a pair of Ish Wainright 3’s tied the game at 41 with 17:39 to go. The Ferrell Center was rocking and it seemed as if we were headed for a great finish. And then the Sooners just flat out left Baylor in the dust with an avalanche of 3’s and fast break buckets, leaving Baylor licking its wounds from a 41-17 spurt. Baylor actually ended the game on a 14-0 run to make the final score look respectable. The Sooners shot 62% from the field for the game and shot a whopping 16-28 from the outside. Criticize Baylor’s defense all you want, and the criticism is definitely valid, but that’s impressive. Plain and simple, the Bears had to be at their best to have a shot in this game and they just weren’t up to the task on Saturday.
#18 Baylor @ Oklahoma State
Gallagher-Iba Arena (Stillwater, OK)
Jan. 27, 8:00 PM CT
The Bears begin the week with their first rematch of the season as they travel to the always dangerous Gallagher-Iba Arena to take on Oklahoma State. Despite their 10-9 overall record, OSU has been a real thorn in Stillwater as of late, taking Oklahoma right to the final shot 2 weeks ago before pummeling Kansas at home by 19 last Tuesday. Baylor beat the Cowboys 79-62 in Waco back on January 5th, but you can expect this to be a much tougher challenge for the Bears than that game was. Al Freeman had an incredibly efficient night with 21 points on just 8 shots from the field and Rico Gathers poured in a monster 17 point, 17 rebound effort. Baylor also did a fairly nice job defensively against Oklahoma State’s stud freshman point guard Jawun Evans. But much like OSU’s team as a whole, Evans has been a completely different player at home than he has away from Stillwater. Evans poured in 42 (!) in the Cowboys’ near upset of Oklahoma and added 22 in last week’s win over Kansas. Baylor will need to do a better job of keeping Evans out of the paint than it did against the OU guards last weekend. And this is also a game that Baylor should be able to control the rebounds inside. Oklahoma State doesn’t have any sort of depth down low so this would be a good time for guys like Rico Gathers, Johnathan Motley and Terry Maston to step up and have big nights to help Baylor in its quest for a third consecutive conference road win.
Georgia @ #18 Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
Jan. 30, 5:00 PM CT
Conference play is set to the side this Saturday as Baylor hosts Georgia as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, the first ever meeting in basketball between the two schools. Baylor basketball is making a big online push to sell this game out (see the below tweet) and it would be awesome to have an atmosphere like we had for the Oklahoma game. And this one doesn’t start at 11:00! On the court, Georgia sits currently at 11-6 overall and right in the middle of the pack in the SEC. The Bulldogs are led by forward Yante Maten along with guards Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier, all of whom average double figure scoring for Georgia. One big trouble spot for UGA is turnovers, as they average 13 per game to just 14 assists. If the Bears are active defensively and can get their hands in passing lanes, Baylor should have some opportunities to get out and run in the open court and get some easy baskets. In the halfcourt, Georgia is one of the top defensive teams in the SEC so Baylor will want to take advantage of the opportunities that it gets. This should be a good non-conference test but it’s a game that Baylor should win if it plays to its capabilities.
Big 12 Update
This was more fun to look at last Thursday when Baylor was alone in first place but the Bears still sit in a 3 way tie at the top with Oklahoma and West Virginia.
|#9 West Virginia||5-2||--||0.714||16-3||0.842||W1|
|#14 Iowa State||5-3||0.5||0.625||16-4||0.800||W4|
#19 Iowa State 82 #1 Oklahoma 77
Texas Tech 76 TCU 69 (nice)
Oklahoma State 86 #3 Kansas 67
Texas 56 #6 West Virginia 49
#3 Kansas 76 Texas 67
#6 West Virginia 80 Texas Tech 76
#19 Iowa State 73 TCU 60
Kansas State 89 Oklahoma State 73
#14 Iowa State 85 #4 Kansas 72
AP Top 25
The Bears fall back to 17 after reaching a season high of 13 last week. This is the 84th time that Baylor has been ranked in the AP Top 25 in Scott Drew's tenure, all occurring since 2008.
|2||North Carolina (29)||18-2||1,586|
|Others receiving votes: Dayton 77, South Carolina 74, Saint Mary's 42, Pittsburgh 38, USC 27, Butler 26, Clemson 18, VCU 17, Valparaiso 9, Hawaii 9, Connecticut 5, Utah 5, UAB 4, Chattanooga 2, Michigan 1, Colorado 1, Grand Canyon 1, Navy 1|
|Dropped from rankings: Butler 18, USC 21, South Carolina 24|
In case you missed it yesterday, I put out the first ODBracketology yesterday. I'm going to try and keep up with putting up a new bracket every week up until Selection Sunday on March 13. Check it out and let me know what you think! I've got Baylor as a 6 seed as of right now.