WACO, Texas (AP)Baylor big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua really worked on that outside shot during the nearly full year he was recovering from a devastating knee injury.
Now he’s becoming a 3-point threat like all those high-scoring Bears guards.
Keyonte George had 23 points, Adam Flagler scored 20 and ”Everyday Jon” made a couple of key 3-pointers for his only points as 14th-ranked Baylor extended its lead down the stretch for an 82-72 win over Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
”When he sets a screen and he pops, it’s just different,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said of Tchamwa Tchatchoua.
Flagler scored 14 points in the final 13:11 of the game, the first of those being a jumper that put Baylor back ahead to stay.
Not long after that, and Oklahoma’s only lead of the second half, Tchamwa Tchatchoua hit his first 3-pointer. The 6-foot-8 forward also made two 3s on Saturday in his first game since last Feb. 12, when he tore multiple ligaments in his left knee.
”He just brings a whole new type of energy,” said redshirt freshman Langston Love, who missed last season with a torn ACL and spent plenty of time rehabbing with the big man. ”His vibe is just different for us and I feel like that’s what we needed at this point in the season.”
Love added 19 points for the Bears (18-6, 7-4 Big 12), who have won eight of nine overall since losing their first three league games. The two-time defending conference champions are within a game of first-place No. 5 Texas in the league standings.
”Y’all hear it all the time, but we just focus on controlling what we can control,” said George, the true freshman who had his 10th 20-point game. ”That’s playing hard, finding each other, running the floor, playing defense, and those are things you can control.”
The Sooners (12-12, 2-9) lost their sixth consecutive conference game, the last three since a still-hard-to-explain 93-69 win over then-No. 2 Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. They were coming off a 93-61 loss at West Virginia last weekend.
Grant Sherfield had 15 points, including four 3-pointers, and Milos Uzan scored 11.
Oklahoma had its only lead past the opening minute of the game when Tanner Groves regathered the ball after being blocked by Tchamwa Tchatchoua and scored on a putback that made it 48-47 with 13:52 left. That capped a 10-2 run, when Joe Bamisile also had a putback of his own missed shot.
Baylor went back ahead to stay on the jumper by Flagler before Tchamwa Tchatchoua hit from 3 after Jalen Bridges and Flagler missed from beyond the arc on the same possession. Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Flagler later made consecutive 3s.
LJ Cryer had seven points for Baylor while playing 15 minutes before halftime, but didn’t play in the second half. Bears coach Scott Drew said it was a foot issue, but didn’t think it was related to the offseason foot surgery the 6-foot-1 junior guard had after missing 15 games last season.
Baylor hit on its first shot within the opening 30 seconds for the eighth consecutive game, and it was the fourth in a row when that first make was a 3-pointer. Cryer made the first basket for the fourth time in that stretch.
Oklahoma had won 30 in a row against Baylor until 2009, but the Bears have won 19 of 30 meetings since. That includes the last 11 regular-season matchups.
Baylor seems to be rediscovering its shooting touch. The Bears shot 46.6% (27 of 58) from the field with nine 3-pointers, after shooting a season-high 53.8% (35 of 65) with 10 3s on Saturday against Texas Tech. That followed four consecutive games at 37.1% or worse.
Oklahoma is home Saturday against No. 9 Kansas, which beat the Sooners 79-75 on Jan. 10.
Baylor plays Saturday at No. 17 TCU. The Horned Frogs overcame a 17-point deficit in Waco on Jan. 4 to beat the Bears 88-87.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll