Bears fall to Oklahoma in penultimate regular season game

Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins, left, and Baylor guard Lester Medford try for possession of a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Oklahoma won 73-71. Photo credit: Associated Press

Baylor men’s basketball fell short on the road against Oklahoma, 73-71, after mounting a furious second-half comeback on Tuesday in Norman, Okla.

The No. 19-ranked Bears (21-9, 10-7) were down by as many as 26 in the first half but rallied to take a 68-67 lead over the No. 6-ranked Sooners (23-6, 11-6) with two minutes left in the game.

Oklahoma started the game hot, going on an 8-2 run out of the gates. OU’s early run was punctuated by a three-pointer from Sooner guard Isaiah Cousins.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew called a timeout to try to stop the run, but Oklahoma did not let up. Cousins scored on another pull-up jumper and Buddy Hield scored an and-one layup to bring the lead to 13-3.

The Bears were unable to handle the Sooners’ pressure defense early, turning the ball over six times in the first five minutes.

Oklahoma built their lead up to 26-3 before senior guard Lester Medford knocked down two free throws to end Baylor’s scoring drought.

With three seconds left in the half, senior forward Rico Gathers caught the inbounds pass and flipped it to King McClure for a buzzer-beating three to make it 46-25 at halftime.

Back-to-back threes by senior forward Taurean Prince and McClure shortened the lead to 58-40 early in the second half before Prince scored on a drive to the basket, prompting OU head coach Lon Kruger to call a timeout.

Gathers knocked in a midrange jumper followed by back-to-back threes from McClure and Medford to cut the OU lead to 10.

Four turnovers by the Sooners led to seven Baylor points, making it a three-point game with just over five minutes left.

A layup by Gathers cut the lead to one before sophomore guard Al Freeman converted on a drive to the basket to give the Bears a 68-67 lead, capping a 21-2 run and giving Baylor their first lead since 2-0.

Drew called a timeout with two minutes left after Cousins knocked in a midrange jumper to give OU the one point lead.

Mishandling of the ball by Baylor led to two free throws for OU, giving them a three point lead with just under 20 seconds left.

McClure responded with a layup before the Bears fouled Hield to stop the clock. Hield converted on one of two, giving Baylor a chance to tie the game with under 10 seconds left.

Spangler fouled Prince, sending him to the line for a one-and-one.

Prince made the first, making it a 73-71 game, but the Bears were unable to grab the offensive rebound as time expired after Prince intentionally missed the second.

Each of Oklahoma’s seniors scored in double figures, and Hield led the way with 23 points.

Prince had 17 for the Bears with McClure adding 17 off the bench in his highest scoring game of the season.

Despite the loss, Baylor finishes the Big 12 conference season with their best road record at 6-3.

The Bears look to bounce back on Senior Night at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Ferrell Center as they host No. 10 ranked West Virginia.