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By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 64-54 on Monday at the Ferrell Center. With the win, Baylor improved to 4-1 within the Big 12 Conference and 13-5 overall. Baylor’s next Big 12 game will be on the road Saturday against TCU.
Baylor had control for the majority of the game by jumping out to a quick ten-point lead, 23-13 in the first half. But every time Baylor took a sizable lead, the Cowboys battled back. At half time, the Cowboys led 28-27. Once the second half started, Baylor quickly asserted itself with interior defense and timely shooting to never let Oklahoma State back into the game.
“I thought in a typical Big Monday game, you had teams that defensively were really getting after it,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “To hold Oklahoma State to 34 or 35 percent field goal shooting, I thought was a great effort on our part because they are such a talented and explosive team. I thought the interior defense with Cory and Isaiah tying a school record with 11 blocks was really critical and crucial to our success because it allowed us to get some transition buckets and get going.”
Baylor’s starting lineup against the Cowboys was senior guards Pierre Jasckon and A.J. Walton, junior guard Brady Heslip, junior forward Cory Jefferson and freshman center Isaiah Austin.
On the very first possession of the game, heralded Oklahoma State freshman guard Marcus Smart drilled a three-pointer that set an intense tone for the game. Baylor responded with a jumper from Cory Jefferson. Next, Heslip stood his ground and drew a charge to give the possession back to Baylor.
Isaiah Austin made a rare freshman mistake by leaving his feet and throwing the ball clear across the court into the stands for a turnover. The Bears responded with a jumper from A.J Walton and an old-school three-point play from Cory Jefferson to take a quick 7-3 lead.
Jackson and junior guard Gary Franklin teamed up to hit back-to-back three pointers to extend the Baylor lead to 15-9.
With upwards of 30 NBA scouts in the building, freshman superstar center Isaiah Austin showed off some of the skills and moves that make him such a desirable prospect at the next level. Austin gathered a rebound and faked to the middle of the lane only to step baseline and use impressive touch to hit a baseline layup. Following this phenomenal move, Austin drew a charge on defense.
Baylor took a 23-13 lead and the Ferrell Center was going crazy to House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” after Austin gathered an offensive rebound and put it back up for two points.
Oklahoma State showed some resiliency and were led by sophomore forward Le’Bryan Nash’s 14 first half points to take a 28-27 lead back into the locker room at the half.
To start the second half, Walton buried a three to give Baylor a boost to start the period. From there, the two teams battled back and forth until Isaiah Austin hit a three to give Baylor a 34-32 lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Baylor capitalized with momentum after Jackson hit consecutive three pointers to take a 43-35 lead. The noise in the Ferrell Center escalated with the swing in momentum. The Bears controlled the rest of the game and never allowed Oklahoma State to pose a threat down the stretch. Jackson led the Bears with 18 points.
“On Big Monday, everybody is watching,” said Jackson. “It’s a chance to show every one around the nation what your team is capable of.”
Austin and Jefferson both finished with double-doubles. Austin had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Jefferson had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We just wanted to be aggressive,” said Austin. “We wanted to control the paint and that’s what we did.”
Jefferson had a solid bounce-back effort against Oklahoma State after not scoring last week against Kansas on Big Monday.
“Defensively, we just wanted to protect the rim,” said Jefferson. “Me and Isaiah, I feel, are some of the best shot-blockers in the Big 12 and we wanted to come out and let everybody know that on every night. Offensively, we just wanted to play our game and get to the paint.”