Story by Bailey Brammer | Broadcast Managing Editor, Video by McKenzie Oviatt | Broadcast Reporter
The Baylor men’s basketball team lost to the Oklahoma State Cowboys 67-64 on Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center for senior night.
This loss marked the Bears’ final home game of the regular season and four senior guards and their families were honored prior to tipoff: King McClure, Obim Okeke, Makai Mason and Jake Lindsey. Baylor head coach Scott Drew also gave each senior an opportunity to say a few words to the crowd and the team at the end of the game.
Baylor led the game until the last 10 minutes of the second half, when OSU slowly but surely took over the board. Mason led the Bears with 19 points and five assists, and was followed closely by junior forward Freddie Gillespie who had 14 points. The Bears struggled with fouls and defense, particularly in the second half.
Freshman guard Isaac Likekele dominated for the Cowboys, scoring 23 points and putting up nine rebounds. Freshman forward Yor Anei also had a noteworthy 14 points and nine rebounds.
Drew said the game’s outcome wasn’t how the team imagined it, but gave credit to Oklahoma State’s ability to come back and take the win.
“Not how we drew it up for senior night,” Drew said. “We out-rebounded them offensively and defensively … the second-chance points have been huge for us all year and today, for whatever reason, we didn’t have them. So credit them for getting second-chance points.”
Mason put the Bears’ first points of the night on the board with a layup, followed by a quick 3-pointer from McClure. Another three from Mason put the Bears up 8-0, until the Cowboys finally responded with a jumper from Likekele after three minutes of play.
Likekele added two free throws to the board, again cutting the Bears lead to just one point. With both teams in scoring droughts upwards of three minutes, Gillespie finally made a layup with 8:35 left in the first period to bring the score to 14-11.
After a pair of free throws for each team, Baylor increased its lead to 19-13 with a 3-pointer from junior guard Devonte Bandoo. The Cowboys responded with a three and a layup of their own, tightening the score to 19-18.
Oklahoma State wasted no time, scoring a 3-pointer and a layup of their own to take back the lead at 27-26 with a little over two minutes left in the half. An assist from Mason right to the hoop gave sophomore forward Mark Vital a dunk to put Baylor ahead once more.
Both teams put a few more points up before halftime, but the Bears held onto the lead at 35-31.
Gillespie said the Bears could have started a bit quicker and increased their lead a bit more, but their slower moments gave the Cowboys room to capitalize on any openings available.
“The fact that we came out kind of lethargic, kind of sluggish … that means on defense they can basically take a rest break, and on offense, try and attack,” Gillespie said.
After two scoreless minutes at the start of the second half, and a turnover or two for each team, OSU junior guard Lindy Waters, III put a 3-pointer in, followed by a quick jumper from Mason to take the score to 37-34.
Baylor continued to break away with a couple points here and there, but the Cowboys held on, not allowing the Bears to get too comfortable with their lead. With less than 10 minutes left in the half, an OSU jumper and a free throw tied the game at 49.
The teams went back and forth with the lead until a 3-pointer from Bandoo brought the Bears back in front at 53-51. Two consecutive layups from Likekele tied the game at 53 and then gave the Cowboys the edge once more at 55-53.
Baylor fell into another scoring drought of more than two minutes, and the Cowboys took that opportunity to put up a few more points. Freshman guard Jared Butler made three free throws in a row, followed by a 3-pointer to cut the Cowboys’ lead to just 61-59.
Another free throw each from Butler and Gillespie tied the game at 61 with less than three minutes left. Butler’s fifth foul of the night on junior guard Lindy Waters, III was a controversial one, which gave the Cowboys the lead once more at 63-61 and took Butler out of the game.
Baylor fought until the last second, cutting the Cowboys’ lead to 67-64, but ultimately could not make a comeback.
“It’s tough, but we’ve got to bounce back, we’ve got a big one on Saturday,” Mason said.
The Bears conclude their regular season by taking on Kansas at 1 p.m. Saturday in Lawrence, Kan. After that, Baylor heads to the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City as the No. 4 seed, and will take on Iowa State at 11:30 a.m on March 14.