No. 20 Baylor men’s basketball couldn’t overcome poor shooting and a late deficit to drop its second straight Big 12 road game to Oklahoma State 64-53 in Stillwater, Okla., on Tuesday night.
The Bears (15-5, 3-4) shot a disappointing 34.5 percent on 19-for-55 shooting in the conference matchup to drop its fourth Big 12 game this season. Junior guard Lester Medford led Baylor with 13 points and was 5-for-8 from the field. Junior forwards Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers both contributed 12 points and accounted for 20 rebounds in the loss.
Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte III led the Cowboys with 16 points and was 4-for-7 from the three-point line. Le’Bryan Nash added 13 points, and Tavarius Shine was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc for 11 points.
Baylor started out the game winning the jump ball, and a jumper by Gathers put the Bears up on the board early. However, this prompted a 6-0 run by the Cowboys with a Michael Cobbins jumper to give Oklahoma State the 6-2 lead.
A dunk by Gathers ended the Cowboys run and prompted another run in the game, this time by Baylor. After the Cowboys struggled to score on the offensive end, Baylor took advantage of the situation and went on a 11-0 run to lead 13-6 with 13:42 left in the first half.
Oklahoma State’s Forte scored a three-pointer put the Cowboys back in the game, and from then on the momentum was in favor of the home team. Senior guard Kenny Chery connected with freshman guard Al Freeman on a fast break for a smooth jumper, but Forte drilled an NBA-style three-pointer to tie up the game 17-17 with 6:41 left in the half.
From that point, Oklahoma State went on a 13-4 run with help from Nash, Anthony Hickey Jr. and Shine to end the half as the Bears missed on multiple opportunities to get back on the board. With a dismal shooting percentage in the first half, Baylor trailed 30-21 heading into the locker room.
Both teams started out the second half in a bit of a slump; no player made a basket for two minutes, and the scoreboard was kept the same until Prince broke the ice with a two-point jumper for the Bears.
Gathers added two free throws to the board before Jeff Newberry dunked on the other end to extend the lead for Oklahoma State. While Baylor stepped up its offensive rebounding game, poor shooting continued to cripple the Bears, forcing a timeout by head coach Scott Drew. Medford made a jumper coming out of the timeout, but a layup by Michael Cobbins made a layup on the other end.
Forte and Shine took over from beyond the arc quickly after that. Both Oklahoma State guards scored nine points from three-point range, and Hickey made a jumper as the Bears continued to trail 45-33 with 9:58 left in the game.
Two free throws by freshman forward Johnathan Motley and back-to-back three-pointers by Medford pulled Baylor within six, but the Bears could not get their defense rolling and allowed the Cowboys to continue to pull away.
A jumper by Prince put the Bears back into a six-point deficit, but Baylor could not put together a late rally in the final few minutes of the matchup. Free throws by Forte, Newberry and Nash sunk free throws while the Bears missed three consecutive three-point shots to drop a 64-53 decision to Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
The Bears will look to bounce back quickly as they host No. 19 Texas on Saturday night at the Ferrell Center. Tipoff in Waco will begin at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.