STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Baylor nearly wasted 36 minutes of suffocating defense. In the end, the sixth-ranked Bears held off Oklahoma State 72-69 on Wednesday night.
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Baylor nearly wasted 36 minutes of suffocating defense.
In the end, the sixth-ranked Bears held off Oklahoma State 72-69 on Wednesday night.
Baylor led by 13 points with 4:13 to play, but Oklahoma State's pressure defense made it a game. The Cowboys could have taken the lead in the final minute, but Baylor's Jo Lual-Acuil blocked Jawun Evans' layup. After Baylor's Manu Lecomte made two free throws with 14 seconds to play, Oklahoma State had one more chance to tie. Evans missed a 3, then Phil Forte, who hit the game-winner against Oklahoma and made critical shots down the stretch in the win over West Virginia, missed a 3 as time expired.
"Any time you get a win in the Big 12, it's usually one possession, and it's usually earned, and we were blessed tonight that we were able to walk away with the win," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
The Cowboys struggled to score until they forced four turnovers in a 63-second span to spark a 12-0 run.
"I think we got our energy back at the end, getting stops, picking up full court, which got us back to what we used to do and they weren't ready for it," Evans said. "But sadly, we just came up short."
Johnathan Motley had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Bears (21-3, 8-3 Big 12), who had lost their previous two games. Baylor trails conference leader Kansas by one game.
Jeffrey Carroll scored 20 points and Evans added 16 for the Cowboys (15-9, 4-7). Oklahoma State had won five straight and was coming off an 82-75 win at then-No. 7 West Virginia.
"Oklahoma State was playing really good basketball," Motley said. "It feels good to get a win like this, especially after coming after a losing streak. This was a really good one for us, for sure."
Baylor: The Bears could not afford too many more slip-ups if they were to be in position for a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They barely hung on for a quality win that likely will help them in the eyes of the selection committee.
Oklahoma State: Back-to-back wins over Top 10 teams would have been a great feat for first-year coach Brad Underwood, but the Cowboys couldn't quite pull it off. The Cowboys still have the potential for an at-large NCAA berth, but their conference record leaves them with little margin for error.
Louisville's loss to Virginia on Monday might have opened up a spot in the Top 5 for Baylor if the Bears handle TCU on Saturday. Oklahoma State got a vote in this week's Top 25. A win over Texas could keep the Cowboys on the radar going forward.
Baylor did not make a field goal for more than 4 minutes to close the game.
"For most of the game, we played a very intelligent, 19-assist game," Drew said. "Take out the turnovers at the end, and that's about as well as you can get on the road."
Underwood, on possibly facing Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament after losing to the Bears twice in the regular season: "I'll be damned if I think any team can beat us three times in a row."
Baylor hosts TCU on Saturday. TCU has won three straight and has worked its way into the upper half of the conference standings.
Oklahoma State plays at Texas on Saturday. The Longhorns are 10-4 at home and are coming off a win over Iowa State.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter @cliffbruntap