By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
With the events of the nation’s unrest hanging heavy on the evening, the second-ranked Baylor men’s basketball team added another win to the column, moving to 10-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12 after defeating Oklahoma 76-61 Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.
Associate head Jerome Tang led a prayer prior to the game in response to the rioting that occurred in the District of Columbia Wednesday afternoon. Head coach Scott Drew said the team shared the sentiment of unity that Tang’s prayer invoked.
“I think the conversations we’ve had, we’ll keep having. Those are things that will go on each and every year because you want to get better,” Drew said. “There’s only one way to get better — address issues and try to improve.”
Getting off to a quick 16-2 start, the Bears’ defense held OU at 21% field goal scoring while shooting at 55% themselves. However, Baylor’s turnovers on the offensive allowed the Sooners to cut the lead to five later in the first half before going on a 14-2 run to take a 17-point lead into intermission.
“As a coach you hate when you don’t get quality shots and quality opportunities. At the same time, the last KenPom numbers I saw we’re 26th in pace and we’re the third next offense,” Drew said of Baylor’s turnovers in relation to its pace of play. “A lot of positives for how we’re playing. At the same time, there’s times when you’re like, we need to be a little bit more patient and get a better shot and make them play defense. So, it’s a constant attention you’re trying to work out.”
MaCio Teague led the Bears in scoring with 17 points, just two points behind Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves who shot a game-high 19. Matthew Mayer and Adam Flager came off the bench to score 16 and 15 points respectively. Mark Vital led in rebounds with a game-high eight boards and Davion Mitchell led Baylor with four assists.
The Bears scored 40 points off the bench, 32 in the paint and 16 on second-chance points. Flager said “the Bench Mob” prides itself on “providing a spark” for the team.
“Whoever’s coming off the bench we just go out there and compete at a high level and give us an edge,” Flager said.
The Sooners came out sharper in the second half but Baylor managed to cut back on the turnovers and went on a 7-0 run in the final minute while keeping OU to a three minute scoring drought toward the end of the game which ended with a final fast break dunk by OU’s Alendes Williams.
“We definitely pride ourselves on being more selfless and getting into the paint and looking for others,” Flager said of the Bears’ play in the second half. “Once we got that going we were able to find open shots and get to the basket easier.”
With the win over Oklahoma, Drew recorded his 372nd victory as a Division I head coach, passing his father Homer Drew’s 371 wins as the head coach at Valparaiso. Drew and the Bears will look to earning win No. 373 when they face TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday.