By Jeffrey Swindoll
For the second game in a row at the Ferrell Center, the Bears won in a comeback effort in overtime. This time, it came against Oklahoma State, beating the Cowboys 70-64 on Monday at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor had the game in its hands with 3.5 seconds left in the second half with an inbounds pass from the far end of the court. Leading by three, with two timeouts, Baylor committed an errant pass that fell to OSU’s Leyton Hammonds, who drained a clutch three-pointer to send the game into a shocking overtime period.
It was a turning point in Baylor’s season when the men’s basketball team went on the road to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater. This game tested Baylor’s consistency in conference play as well as its ability to defend home court in yet another overtime thriller against a Big 12 rival.
Baylor had four different players score from downtown in the first half. The Bears shot 4-for-11 from three-point territory and 6-for-11 from the line.
It was a frantic first half for the Bears, pulling ahead 12-6 early, but eventually giving up that lead. The Bears could not tie the game before the half.
With star guard Marcus Smart missing the game because of a suspension, the Cowboys needed other players to step up in his absence.
Baylor grew more patient with the ball in the second half. Baylor’s defense also tightened up after allowing too many drives in the lane from Forte in the first half.
The Bears kept getting defensive stops, but struggled to find openings for game-tying buckets. The Cowboys helped the Bears out a little too. OSU committed two shot clock violations, Chery forced a turnover that resulted in an Isaiah Austin three-pointer after ripping a steal from Forte.
Baylor played with a sense of urgency. The Bears needed a full defensive effort to cut OSU’s deficit from the first half.
Their defense was solid, but the Bears struggled to create anything on the inside to start the second half. It was Baylor’s three-point shooting that kept the Bears alive. Baylor’s success at the free throw line also aided their cause in a rough game on the inside but its success at the line diminished as the game went on.
Both teams needed a win badly on Monday, and were expecting some big plays from big players. Senior forward Cory Jefferson and Austin fueled Baylor all the way. They did it all— blocks, dunks and rebounds. Baylor pulled away in the rebounds-battle in the second half, 34-49.
Jefferson dominated defensively and offensively in the paint with 3 blocks, 13 rebounds and 25 points after shooting 8-for-12.
Austin, after throwing up all of Sunday because of illness, and with the aid of an IV prior to Monday’s game, came up big for Baylor with 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
“I wasn’t feeling very well last night with 101 fever,” Austin said. “I couldn’t keep any fluids or food down, but my teammates said that they needed me. I just wanted to give them my all tonight.”
Baylor led by three with only seconds left on the clock, but this game was far from over.
After Baylor seemed like it had the win in the bag, with two timeouts, the Bears botched the inbounds pass and had to face OSU in overtime.
It was a big boost for OSU’s morale, but the Bears were focused going into OT.
“When you give up something like that, that’s devastating,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “That’s like getting punched in the gut. For us to refocus, regroup, come back out and be very, very sound and efficient in overtime – I thought that was tremendous.”
Baylor’s experience showed in its calmness during overtime against OSU to survive with a 70-64 win.
“Everybody stayed positive,” Jefferson said. “We knew that we could win it; nothing cocky about it, but just real positive from the coaches, to the bench and the players in the game.”