By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter
No. 1 Baylor men’s basketball earned a 78-70 victory against Oklahoma State Saturday at the Ferrell Center. The win extends the Bears’ current program-record streak to 20 straight games.
Baylor gained an early lead against the Cowboys, up by 14 points with 9:16 left in the first half, but the Bears let the lead slip as OSU ran off 14 of the next 17, closing the lead to three with 3:37 left before the break. The Bears at least attempted to right the ship before going to the locker room as they entered with a nine-point lead.
Baylor’s lead proceeded to slip throughout the second half, eventually tying it up with 8:52 left on the clock. The lead fluctuated over the next nine minutes, growing to as many as nine and falling to as few as two with 35 seconds before the end of the game.
Baylor shot 8-8 from the line over the last 14 seconds after shooting just 12-25 before then. Amidst the chaos, OSU head coach Mike Boynton Jr. was tossed after a double technical resulting from a discussion with a referee with nine seconds left on the clock.
Boynton, who Baylor head coach Scott Drew described as “really class” and a “great human being”, proceeded to shake hands with every player and coach on Baylor’s bench before being escorted to the tunnel.
The two-point lead grew to 10 with the free throws, sealing Baylor’s win despite shooting 60.6% from the line and 38% overall in the second half. In contrast, the Cowboys shot 52% from the field in the final 20 minutes. Boynton said after the game that Baylor’s success has been on his mind throughout the season.
“I picked them to win the league,” Boynton said. “I thought they were pretty good from the beginning of this deal, and they’re obviously playing that way. What I see in them is this clear role definement within that group, and everybody plays their role like a star.”
OSU dominated the peripherals of the game, leading in points in the paint (34-28), second-chance points (22-13) and points off the bench (36-4). Both teams had five players in double-figures in scoring, but Baylor had four of the top five players in points scored.
Redshirt junior guard MaCio Teague led all scorers and continued his hot streak with a season-high 24 points on 6-9 shooting. Sophomore guard Jared Butler (15), junior forward Mark Vital (13), redshirt senior forward Freddie Gillespie (12) and redshirt sophomore guard Davion Mitchell rounded out the Bears’ scoring effort. Teague said postgame that he got out of his so-called “slump” thanks to his teammates’ support.
“[It’s thanks to] my teammates just telling me to shoot the ball, just keeping me uplifted when I was going through what people call a slump,” Teague said.
He did say that he definitely didn’t believe he was in a slump.
“I felt like every shot I shot was going in,” Teague said. “Somebody told me I was 12-45 over a stretch and it felt like I was honestly like 21-45 … It felt good coming off my hands.”
Baylor was down in rebounds (30-38) but managed to lead in other physical aspects of the game such as fouls committed (20-31) and turnovers (9-15). Drew said after the game that his team represents a strong workers’ drive.
“We do have a lot of blue-collar, lunch pail type mentality guys,” Drew said. “That’s guys that since eighth grade haven’t been told that they’re the best thing since sliced bread. They’re guys that have been overlooked. People that have been underestimated, and people that have scratched, clawed and improved to get where they are.”
The Bears get another fast turnaround with an 8 p.m. matchup against Texas on Monday in Austin. The game will be aired on ESPN and can be streamed on the ESPN app.