Mason returns as Bears complete season sweep of Sooners

Story by DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Sports Director

The Baylor men’s basketball team broke its two-game losing streak with a 59-53 win over Oklahoma on Monday night at the Ferrell Center. The win marks Baylor’s fourth season sweep against the Sooners since 2010.

Head coach Scott Drew said although the Bears didn’t play how they wanted offensively, their defense allowed them to come out on top.

“We didn’t offensively execute as well as we would have liked, but we did a great job in defending and giving ourselves a chance to win,” Drew said. “Oklahoma’s got one of the top 25 defenses in the country for a reason and they do a tremendous job.”

Senior guard Makai Mason was back in the starting lineup after missing Saturday’s Kansas State game due to a toe injury. While he only scored six points in the game, he had a game-high eight assists. Drew said he thought Mason did a good job managing the game even though he wasn’t at his best.

“As a coach you love tough, hard-nosed guys,” Drew said. “But you love guys that don’t mind playing when they’re not a hundred percent to try and help the team win, and that says a lot about his character.”

The Bears fell into an 8-1 deficit within the first four minutes of the game. Oklahoma took an early lead on free throws due to Baylor’s five fouls.

After a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Mario Kegler, Mason got the rebound and drove it down the court but missed. Junior guard Devonte Bandoo then tied the game with a three.

The Sooners retook the lead, but sophomore forward Mark Vital scored to put the Bears ahead once again.

Freshman forward Matthew Mayer then got the rebound and scored a 3-pointer assisted by Mason, but Oklahoma junior forward Matt Freeman tied the game for the Sooners.

Oklahoma senior guard Christian James hit a three right at the halftime buzzer to put the Sooners ahead 34-31 but the call was taken back, leaving the game tied at the half 31-31.

The game was tied five times in the first half. The Bears had a 41.7 percent in field goal percentage and a 53.3 percent in three-point percentage at the half.

Mason opened the scoring for the Bears in the second half after going scoreless in the first. He hit a jumper to put Baylor ahead 33-31, but Oklahoma responded right after to tie the game at 33.

Mason hit another jumper to retake the lead, but the Sooners tied it once more at 35. Kegler then scored to put the Bears ahead before the first time out of the half. He then gave Mayer an assist to give Baylor a six-point lead with a score of 41-35.

Freshman guard Jared Butler and junior guard Devonte Bandoo gave the Bears an 11-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game, but little by little the Sooners cut it down to one.

Oklahoma retook the lead on free throws, leaving Baylor trailing by one with five minutes left in the game, but Bandoo answered with a three to put the Bears on top once more.

Mason put the cherry on top of the win with two free throw shots after he was fouled on by Oklahoma junior forward Kristian Doolittle.

Bandoo was named Player of the Game after scoring 19 points and going 5-for-7 on 3-pointers. Bandoo said his teammates did a great job finding him on the court.

“I’m getting used to this role, not just coming off the bench and providing support,” Bandoo said.

Both Oklahoma and Baylor ended the night with a 38.9 field goal percentage, both going 21-54, and they both had 10 turnovers each. The Bears out-rebounded the Sooners 34-33.

Baylor will travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday.