The Baylor Bears (15-7, 5-4) knocked off the #16 Texas A&M Aggies (17-5, 4-4) in College Station in an overtime thriller, 76-74. Baylor true freshman Perry Jones III scored a career-high 27 points in the victory.
Baylor got off to a quick start taking an early 10-point lead 7 minutes into the contest. Less than two minutes later, the Bears extended their lead to 14 after a layup by true freshman Stargell Love. The Aggies struck back quickly to close margin to 3 points by halftime. Aggies big man David Loubeau scored 10 first half points giving the Aggies a boost of confidence headed into the locker room at halftime.
The first half saw outstanding shooting from both squads. The Bears shot 61.5% from the field, while the Aggies hit at 52%. Texas A&M shot 40% from beyond the arc (4-10), while the Baylor Bears hit 55.6% from the 3-point line (5-9) in the first half.
The Aggies defense stiffened in the 2nd half, and Baylor guard LaceDarius Dunn was held to only 3 second half points. Dunn dropped in 14 points in the first half until being blanketed by Aggies defenders in the 2nd half. Baylor forward Perry Jones III took advantage of the situation finding every opportunity to score. Jones III scored 27 points on 9 of 16 from the field, adding in a perfect 9-9 shooting from the charity stripe.
With the game tied at 69-69, the Bears had the ball at the end of regulation with 20 seconds remaining. An A.J. Walton pass to the wing found Baylor forward Anthony Jones with a clear path to the hoop, but Jones was ruled to be out of bounds and the ball was given back to the Aggies. After a timeout, the Aggies played for the final shot. Aggies guard B.J. Holmes waited for a screen and found teammate Nathan Walkup beyond the arc. Walkup's shot missed off the front iron, and the game was headed to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Aggies got off to a quick start igniting the 10,398 fans in attendance at Reed Arena. A steal by Texas A&M's Naji Hibbert led to a basket by Aggies guard B.J. Holmes for the first score in overtime. On the next possession, Perry Jones III had the ball stripped by Khris Middleton, and the Aggies were quickly out in front by 3 points after Middleton hit 1 of 2 free throws. After a Baylor timeout, Jones III and A.J. Walton scored all the points for Baylor in the next 2 minutes giving the Bears a 74-73 advantage with 1:13 on the clock. Aggies guard B.J. Holmes hit 1 of 2 free throws seconds later to tie the game at 74-74 with just over a minute to play.
After each team failed to score on its ensuing possession, the Bears had the ball with 30 seconds left to go in overtime. Baylor ran some clock, and then ran a play designed for LaceDarius Dunn along the baseline. Dunn's jumper hit long off the iron, but Baylor's Anthony Jones cleaned up the board and converted the put back attempt to give the Bears a 76-74 lead with 3.1 seconds left on the clock.
Baylor's A.J. Walton iced the game when he picked the pocket of Texas A&M's Khris Middleton at mid-court and ran out the clock as the Aggies tried to execute a play in the waning moments of the Baylor victory.
With the overtime victory, Baylor is now 9-2 in overtime games during the Scott Drew era including a Baylor overtime victory in 2004, and a 5-overtime thriller that resulted in a Baylor victory in 2008.
Baylor next heads home to the Ferrell Center to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers on February 9th, then travel to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns.
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Baylor Knocks Off #16 Texas A&M In OT, 76-74
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