By Hunter Hewell Lariat Reporter
The No. 17 Baylor men’s basketball team is now tied for first place in the Big 12 after a 69-65 victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday in Stillwater, Okla.
Wednesday night’s win completed the Bears’ season sweep over the Cowboys, but it looked like Oklahoma State was not going to let that happen for most of the night.
The Cowboys took over early, leading 12-7 at the 15-minute mark. Baylor picked up its defense and forced four turnovers, but the Bears had trouble getting into a rhythm on offense. OSU widened its lead to 23-11 with eight minutes left in the half.
Baylor eventually overcame the slow start, going on an 8-2 run to lessen the gap, 25-19, with just under three minutes in the first half.
Baylor rallied again to bring the score within five. The Bears entered halftime down 32-27, after shooting 38 percent from the field, versus the Cowboys’ 54 percent.
At halftime, senior forward Taurean Prince led the team in scoring with nine points, while sophomore forward Johnathan Motley led in rebounds with six.
Out of the break, Baylor cut the lead with six quick points by senior forward Rico Gathers. Baylor then took the lead at 37-36 with a pair of free throws thanks to junior guard Ishmael Wainright.
Baylor stayed clicking on offense and maintained their lead. With 10 minutes left to play Baylor extended their lead to six, leading 46-40. Baylor continued their pace on offense, but the Cowboys kept it close.
With just under four minutes left to play, Oklahoma State nailed a three-point shot to take back the lead, 61-60.
The Bears kept their composure and regained the lead with a basket off a block from Gathers.
The Cowboys then took back the lead after a pair of free throws. Another lead change quickly ensued after Gathers hit two free throws. The Bears led 64-63 with just under one minute left to play.
With 32.2 seconds left, Wainright nailed the hook shot to extend the Bears’ lead to three.
Despite the Cowboys’ final efforts, Baylor’s free throw shooting down the stretch allowed them to hold on to their lead and get the 69-65 win.
The Bears finished the game with three players scoring in double digits. Prince, Gathers, and senior guard Lester Medford had 17, 15, and 12 points, respectively. Gathers also led the team in rebounds with 8.
Baylor will look to defend their home court against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.