No. 11 Baylor men’s basketball goes ice cold from deep, falls at No. 25 BYU 78-71

Senior forward Jalen Bridges made a 3-pointer for the 10th-straight game, which extends his career-long streak. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

No. 11 Baylor men’s basketball nearly became the only team in the conference with a winning record on the road in league play, but No. 25 BYU had other plans.

The Cougars hit 14 of 36 threes and scored 20 second-chance points to the tune of a 78-71 win on Tuesday night in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.

BYU (19-7, 7-6 Big 12) outrebounded Baylor (19-7, 8-5 Big 12) 16-7 on the offensive glass.

“Really disappointed with our rebounding,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said on ESPN 1660 Central Texas radio. “We work really hard on that, and that’s something we’re really good at, and tonight we didn’t have it. That’s one of the things we always talk about — controlling what you can control.”

Junior forward Jalen Bridges (15), freshman guard Ja’Kobe Walter (13) and freshman center Yves Missi (13) were the three Bears with double-figure scoring, and the Cougars had four players score 10 or more.

Redshirt sophomore guard Langston Love made an appearance for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on Jan. 6 in Waco. Love scored three points in 14 minutes of action and had to be helped off the court with 13:37 to go after another leg injury.

Baylor made three-straight 3-pointers to open the game, which led to a nine-point lead nearly 10 minutes into the first half. The Bears went ice cold from deep the rest of the way though, as they only hit two of their last 17 shots from beyond the arc (one of 10 in the second half).

Drew said Baylor’s shot selection got worse as the game went on.

“We took great shots early,” Drew said in a postgame press conference. “We didn’t take as good of shots later. Credit their defense for forcing that. I have to do a better job coaching and getting our guys to work it more and get better looks.”

The Bears watched their biggest lead of the game (nine points) disappear as the Cougars took a 42-37 lead into halftime. BYU junior forward Aly Khalifa — who entered the game averaging just six points per game — totaled 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three in the first half alone.

Baylor scored six unanswered points to open the second half and found a way to tie the game at 54 points apiece with nearly 10 minutes to go. BYU responded with an 8-0 run and never looked back, handing the Bears their second loss of the last seven games.

Baylor shot a higher percentage (49%) than BYU (44%) from the field in the loss, which snapped a 92-game winning streak for the Bears when they shoot a higher percentage than their opponent, dating back to March 2, 2019, at Kansas State.

The Cougars scored 20 second-chance points to the Bears’ four, and senior guard RayJ Dennis dished out all eight of Baylor’s assists for the game.

“We didn’t share the ball well enough, eight assists, nine turnovers, that’s not us,” Drew said on the radio. “Twenty to four on second-chance points, that’s not us. So, we didn’t deserve it, and we’ll go back to the drawing board.”

Baylor returns home from its two-game road swing to host No. 2 Houston at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Foster Pavilion. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

Michael Haag is a third year Journalism student from Floresville, a small town about 30 miles south of San Antonio. Haag is entering his third year at the Lariat and is hoping to continue developing his sports reporting skill set. After graduation, he plans to work on a Master’s degree in Journalism in order to one day teach at the college level. He does, however, plan on becoming a sports reporter for a publication after grad school.