By Shehan Jeyarajah
Playing in front of a blacked-out home crowd, Baylor found themselves down by seven with merely 29.8 seconds left. Two threes from sophomore center Isaiah Austin later and somehow, Baylor had a chance to win this game with 9.1 seconds left, down by only two points.
It wasn’t to be however, as No. 12 Baylor (13-4, 1-3) fell to No. 25 Oklahoma (14-4, 3-2) 66-64 to snap their 13-game home winning streak.
“On that last play, we wanted to get to the rim,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “That was our first option, but it didn’t work. They did a good job stopping the penetration on that last drive. It’s heartbreaking to lose at the buzzer again.”
The Bears attacked Oklahoma early, especially on the defensive end. The Sooners struggled mightily for the first half shooting the ball, starting the game 3-for-17 from the field as Baylor took a 17-9 lead over Oklahoma with 8:39 left in the first half. In the half, Oklahoma shot a paltry 7-for-30 from the field and 1-for-13 from the three-point line.
“Early on we were awed by the length and size of Baylor,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We were fortunate to be within six at the half with the way we handled their zone.”
Baylor was unable to really capitalize on their defensive performance, as they would shoot 11-for-30 from the field and 2-for-10 from the three-point line themselves. At the half, both teams were combing to shoot 30 percent from the field and 13 percent from the three-point line.
Senior forward Cory Jefferson opened the second half with a dunk, but that would be the only basket for Baylor for almost the first six minutes of the first half. Over that span, Oklahoma scored 16 unanswered points. The run included three straight three-pointers for the Sooners.
Baylor would fight back, taking a lead with 9:06 left in the game with a basket from Jefferson. The game would be tied three times over the next five minutes and contain four lead changes.
With 4:01 left in the game, sophomore guard Buddy Hield would hit a three to give Oklahoma the lead. Oklahoma would stretch the lead out as far as seven with only 29.8 seconds left to go in the game. Over the next 20 seconds, Austin would make two three-pointers to cut the deficit to one with only 9.1 seconds left. The Bears were unable to convert.
After holding the Sooners to 23.3 percent from the field in the first half and 7.7 percent from the three-point line, Oklahoma shot 57.7 percent in the second half and 46.2 percent from the three-point line. The Bears also struggled from the free-throw line, hitting only 50 percent of their 20 attempts.
“I honestly don’t know what happened out there in the second half,” Jefferson said in the postgame news conference. We just didn’t come out with energy and that’s inexcusable.”
Junior point guard Kenny Chery led Baylor’s scoring attack with 16 points and five assists. Austin had 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 29 minutes, with six points in the last 30 seconds. Jefferson finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Hield led Oklahoma with 19 points and eight rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field. Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler added seven points and nine rebounds. Freshman point guard Jordan Woodard was held to 2-for-8 from the field, but contributed with eight assists.
Baylor will travel to Lawrence to play at No. 15 Kansas at 8 p.m. on Monday night.