The all-around juggernaut that No. 2 Baylor has become rolls into Stillwater on Saturday afternoon to face reeling Oklahoma State in a game that looks like a huge mismatch on paper.
But games in the unrelenting Big 12 are never a given, so thinking that the Bears, perhaps the league’s best team, will have a walkover against the Cowboys, maybe the conference’s worst, may be unwise.
Baylor extended its winning streak to 13 straight games on Wednesday with a 68-55 win over Iowa State, continuing the nation’s second-longest winning streak.
Jared Butler scored a game-high 19 points as Baylor pulled away in the second half. Davion Mitchell added 17 points and six assists for the Bears (14-1, 4-0), while Freddie Gillespie contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Mark Vital chipped in 11 points as Baylor heated up and shot 45.5 percent in the second half in its first game following its first win at Kansas last Saturday.
“In the first half, we weren’t in our groove,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said, referencing the Bears’ 34.5-percent shooting overall and 1-of-11 showing from 3-point range. “But our defense kept us there. In the second half, we were able to have the offense come around and get some separation.
“A team like Iowa State, who leads the conference in scoring, you don’t want to be in a situation where you’re in a one- or two-possession game, because they can score quick.”
The Bears dominated on the boards, 45-33, and outscored Iowa State by nine in second-chance points, 14-5.
“Credit to Mark, he was rebounding like a monster in that first half,” Gillespie said of Vital, who grabbed five boards in the first half. “He kind of drew a lot of the guys to him and opened it up for me. The nice thing about having his inside presence is when he starts boarding really well, they look to box him out, and it opens up more rebounds for me. And vice versa.”
Oklahoma State is in a funk, losing four straight games following a 76-64 setback at home to Texas on Wednesday.
Kalib Boone led the Cowboys (9-7, 0-4) with 12 points. Isaac Likekele and Lindy Waters III added nine points apiece for Oklahoma State, which has dropped five of its past six, all by at least 12 points.
The Cowboys surpassed their previous high of 51 points in a Big 12 game this season, but they allowed Texas to make 15 3-pointers on the night.
“Obviously, Texas shot the ball extremely well tonight,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “They hadn’t shot it particularly well all year, but they shot it better in their last game and it carried it over to today. It kind of shows how one game can change your mindset.
“They were 0-2, as well, but got off the schneid Saturday and carried that over to today. A lot of their 3s did come from communication breakdowns from us. We got some correctable errors there, so that’s encouraging.”
–Field Level Media