By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 24 Baylor men’s basketball outlasted Texas State to the tune of 72-63 Friday. The Bears twice held leads of 13 and 17 in the first and second half respectively, but they were erased by massive Bobcat runs each time.
Baylor led 19-6 with 12:05 left in the first before incurring a 14-4 run from Texas State. The trend continued through the end of the half until the Bobcats tied the game 30-30 at intermission.
The Bears again came out strong after the break, running off 20 of the next 22 points. That momentum was hushed by another Bobcat run, this time racking up 11 straight to cut the lead to six. Sophomore guard Jared Butler said Texas State’s team defense was the key to their runs.
“I think they did a great job of helping each other,” Butler said. “You know, when we drove, a lot of guys collapsed and they forced us to make good passes on the drive. They’re not a bad team at all, and they are very consistent on defense.”
Transfer guard MaCio Teague flipped the flow right back with a stepback three, forcing a Texas State timeout. Head coach Scott Drew said Teague took the right shot.
“That was a big shot. MaCio (Teague) is one of those guys that really likes big shots, and he likes big moments, and we’ve got a couple of those guys,” Drew said. “That’s part of the learning process this time of year — where you’ve got three or four guys that want that shot and you’re fine with any of them shooting it.”
Five Bears ended the night in double figures Friday, with Butler leading the team at 15 points. With the absence of junior center Tristan Clark, senior forward Freddie Gillespie posted 11 points and 11 rebounds to solidify the frontcourt. Drew said that without Clark on the floor, Gillespie played well.
“Obviously we’re a much better team when he is out there. Even if he’s not scoring, people are all giving him so much attention,” Drew said. “I thought Freddie (Gillespie) did a great job. He really stepped up.”
Redshirt junior forward Mark Vital sealed the game with an offensive rebound off a missed free throw while Baylor was up eight with 30 seconds to play. Vital finished with 10 points and five boards along with two steals in the win.
The Bears will head back on the road for the Myrtle Beach Invitational at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, with the first of three games coming against Ohio. The game can be watched on ESPN2 or streamed on the ESPN app.