By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
No. 16-ranked Baylor men’s basketball dropped its first game of the season, losing 76-63 to No. 21 Xavier in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Bears (5-1) found themselves in a deficit for the second straight game, but could not complete the comeback against the sharpshooting Musketeers (6-1).
Xavier junior forward Kaiser Gates and senior guard J.P. Macura combined to shoot 8-for-15 from 3-point range to lead the Musketeer offense.
Baylor senior forward Terry Maston scored 15 first-half points, but left the game just four minutes into the second half with a hand injury.
The Musketeers jumped on the Bears early in the first half, with Gates and Macura each knocking down 3-pointers to take an 8-2 lead at the 16:06 mark.
Macura knocked down a deep 3-pointer and Gates notched his third 3-pointer of the game as Xavier extended the lead to 21-8 at the under-12 timeout of the first half.
Maston provided a spark off the bench, scoring 11 straight points for the Bears to cut the lead to 27-19 with 8:12 remaining in the half.
Senior center Jo Lual-Acuil, Jr. converted on two free throws and Maston scored on a cutback to make it a two point game with under a minute left in the first half, but Macura banked in a long range 3-pointer as Xavier took a 39-34 lead into the break.
At halftime, Maston led the Bears with 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting while Macura led all scorers with 17 points on 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range.
Gates picked up where he left off with a 3-pointer to start the second half, but senior guard Manu Lecomte responded for the Bears with a 3-pointer of his own to keep the Bears close. Lual-Acuil knocked down a mid-range jumper to make it a 45-43 Xavier lead at the 15:55 mark of the second half.
The Musketeers went on a 10-0 scoring run to take a commanding 55-43 lead with 12 minutes left in the game as Xavier freshman Naji Marshall scored six straight points.
The Bears slowly chipped away with a 12-6 run sparked by a 3-pointer from Lecomte and three free throws from junior guard King McClure to make it a 65-59 game with 3:45 left in the game.
The Musketeers made shots down the stretch as Gates knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game with a minute left as Xavier cemented the game at 76-63.
This completed a home-and-home series with the Musketeers. The Bears won the first game 76-61 on Dec. 3, 2016 in Waco.
The Bears look to bounce back as they face No. 8-ranked Wichita State at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center.