By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
No. 21 Baylor men’s basketball passed its road test as it defeated Texas Tech University 81-74 Tuesday night at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. The Bears have improved to 13-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12 after dropping their first three against conference foes.
The team was led once again by freshman guard Keyonte George, who tallied 27 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists. 18 of his 27 came in the second half of action. Junior guard LJ Cryer and junior forward Jalen Bridges followed suit offensively, as they chipped in 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Head coach Scott Drew said the squad played well due to their ability to share the ball and utilize strong ball movement.
“Well, and then unselfish play by our guys, you have to credit them,” Drew said. “I mean, if Langston [Love] had a shot, turns it down, gets ‘Key the shot, that’s identifying the hot shooter. That’s really good.”
Midway through the first half, the Bears began to pull away slowly from the Red Raiders (10-8, 0-6 Big 12). The game remained relatively close, but Baylor was seemingly in control and went into the break with an eight-point advantage at 48-40.
In the second half, George caught fire to help elevate Baylor’s all-around play as the squad began to roll against Texas Tech. George connected from beyond the arc four times in that half, and the Bears went up as many as 16 at 70-54 with a little over 10 minutes left of play.
The Red Raiders didn’t go away quietly, as they fought until the end, even capitalizing on a stagnant Baylor offense to cut their deficit to just five points with under a minute to go. Ultimately, TTU’s comeback attempt proved to be too little too late as Baylor held on to its lead for its third-straight conference win.
Up next, Baylor travels to Norman, Okla., for another conference road test against the University of Oklahoma at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Lloyd Noble Center.
Despite jumping back up in the standings, Drew said the team is not looking too far ahead at the possibility of contending for another Big 12 championship.
“We just have to control what we can control,” Drew said. “We’re playing better, and we need to keep improving each and every day. We’ll let the chips fall where they may.”