No. 13 Bears lose their first home game to No. 1 Oklahoma

Al Freeman, a sophomore guard from Charlotte, N.C., looks for an open pass under the net. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

By Meghan Mitchell Lariat Sports Writer

Baylor’s hope of making history at home was shattered Saturday by No. 1 Oklahoma after the Sooners held off the No. 13 Bears, 82-72.

The Bears (15-4, 5-2) were one shy from breaking the Ferrell center home-win streak record, and hopes to beat the programs first No. 1 ranked opponent were shattered.

“I thought the crowd was outstanding, OU was outstanding and we were average at best,” said head coach Scott Drew.

With the heroics of point guard Buddy Hield, the Sooners (16-2, 5-2), proved why they were the No. 1 ranked team in college basketball.

“They’re so good in transition, you can’t give them opportunities,” Drew said. “From three, they made some tough ones, they made some open ones and we didn’t do a good enough job contesting. They won the game and disappointed we didn’t have better showing.”

The Sooners started off the game quick, getting points to put their team on top.

The Bears matched the intensity of the Sooners and its home crowd by driving down the court.

The Bears took the lead after freshman guard King McClure scored and sophomore forward Jonathan Motley made a shot off an offensive rebound. The fans at the Ferrell Center were on their feet.

After a quick breather from the media timeout, both teams came back with ferocious attacks.

Junior guard Jordan Woodard put the Sooners up 35-27. Head coach Scott Drew was forced to call a timeout.

The Bears, unable to slow down Woodard from posting 20 points in the first half, ended the first half down 30-37.

Coming back from the half the Bears were on fire. A jumper by sophomore guard Al Freeman and two threes by junior guard Ishmail Wainright helped tie the Bears with the Sooners at 41.

The Bears dismantled its own efforts a couple times with turnovers, each resulting in quick threes from the Sooners. The Bears were down by six, 41-47, and Drew was forced to call a timeout again.

With the Bears unable to regroup, the Sooners continued to dominate behind the arc, shooting 5-7, a remarkable 71.4 percent to start the second half. The Soones’ three-point efficiency crippled the Bears in the second half.

The Bears struggled to regain momentum. The Sooners continued to break down the Bears defense, which resulted in a 74-53 lead with just over seven minutes of play remaining.

The Bears continued to battle, Defensively, Baylor’s adjustments came a little too late. The Sooners had already recorded an overwhelming 16-28 from three-point range.

With only four Bears scoring in double digits, compared to the average of six per night (in conference games), the Bears struggled to connect with the goal today.

Motley proved once again to be a big threat coming off the bench, scoring 15 points and 10 rebounds, recording his third double-double of the season and fourth of his career.

“Very disappointing, especially when it’s things that we can control,” Motley said. “It really sucks when you have a chance to control it and don’t.”

Careless mistakes and missed opportunities proved to be costly for the Bears. Shooting at 45.8 percent as a team, and posting 19 turnovers, the Bears struggled to ever get to their top form.

“I don’t think we exposed them at all,” said senior forward Taurean Prince. “I think we had a lot of defensive breakdowns late. We did a bad job of making sure we were in the right place at the right time. That’s on us.”

“I think they still made shots as far as Woodard and Cousins,” Prince said. “I think as far as that, that’s a good job out of them and a bad job out of us.”

The Sooners shot at 62.0 percent on the game and recorded 13 steals. More impressively, 29 assists.

“You’ve got to really credit [Oklahoma]. Spangler can really pass and facilitate,” Drew said. “When we went man, it didn’t work out; triangle and two, it didn’t work. They lead the nation in three-point percentage and that’s against other teams that went man. It’s not like man is the answer.”

“That’s the good things about the Big 12, each game exposes things you need to work on,” Drew said.

The Bears will look to get back on track on the road 8 p.m. Wednesday against Oklahoma State.