Bears down Crimson Tide for fourth straight win

Story by Kaitlyn DeHaven | Digital Managing Editor, Video by Julia Lawrenz | Broadcast Reporter

The Baylor men’s basketball team is now on its longest win streak of the year after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 73-68 Saturday at the Ferrell Center.

Baylor and Alabama are two of leading rebounding teams in the nation. On Saturday, Alabama had 30 rebounds and Baylor had 29. Baylor head coach Scott Drew said the credit for his team’s strong rebounds lies in the players’ drive and ability to not shy away from the ball.

“Everyone has different strengths as a player and we have a lot of toughness,” Drew said. “Rebounding is work and our guys have put out the effort on the rebounding side of things.”

The Bears and Crimson Tide were evenly matched at the beginning of the game, with the game tied for a good part of the first half. In the last three minutes of the half, Baylor pulled forward with two 3-pointers to take a 36-30 at halftime.

Senior guard Mason Makai and sophomore forward Mario Kelger were hot against ‘Bama, collectively scoring 34 of the Bears’ 73 points.

Kelger said one of the reasons the team is playing so well this season is because the team communicates well with each other.

“We’re all playing together, having fun, and taking our direct shots,” Kelger said. “We’re locking it in and doing what coach says.”

Alabama senior guard Riley Norris was also a player to watch on Saturday, scoring 24 points for Alabama, four of which were 3-pointers.

The Bears and Alabama Crimson Tide were also tied up for a good portion of the second half, keeping fans from both sides on their toes.

With two minutes left in the game, the Bears took a six-point lead. Although the Crimson Tide tried to come back at the end of the game, senior guard King McClure sealed the game from the free throw line.

Drew said this game was a great way to starts off the SEC/Big 12 challenge, and he’s proud of how his team represented their university.

“It was a great way to start for us. … We take it very seriously how we represent not only Baylor and Baylor Nation but also the Big 12,” Drew said. “I’m very pleased with being able to get a win in early in the day.”

Drew also said while his team had some big plays this game, it’s vital that the team fought for every play.

“In these close games, every play matters,” Drew said.

Looking to continue their win streak, the Bears will face the Oklahoma Sooners at 8 p.m. Monday in Norman, Okla.