I tried something for the first time today. It was really the first time I have ever needed to do something like this, at least as someone who has to write about what they saw. Te Baylor football team took on Oklahoma State while the men's basketball team traveled up to Lexington and took on the defending champion Wildcats. Sure, we have had a football and basketball game on the same day before, but not of this caliber, and not starting at pretty much the exact same time.
We start off our tale in Waco, with the Bears taking on the Cowboys in a game purely for bowl positioning. Both teams had secured bowl bids, and both were just looking to possibly get a better bowl spot. Oklahoma State had an outside chance at the Holiday or Cotton Bowl, while the Bears were looking to possibly move up to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.
The Bears started out on defense, something that doesn't happen very often to them. The game started with both teams going on long drives and settling for field goals. However, right around the start of the basketball game, the big play happened. Eddie Lackey did it again. He stepped in front of a Clint Chelf pass, and picked it off one-handed and scampered into the end-zone to put the Bears up 10-3. From that point on, the Bears would never lead by less than 7 points, as they went on to build a 24-3 lead.
Up in Lexington, the game got started off a different way. The Bears led 2-0, but then Kentucky started to get active on defense. Baylor would commit 6 turnovers on their way to falling behind 15-7. Kentucky was getting open 3-pointers and dunks off of missed shots, while the Bears were over passing and playing too fast.
With the football team up 21 and the basketball team down 8, both games took sharp turns, mainly due to defense. Coach Drew settled his guys down, and they went on a 13-4 run to take a one point lead on a Pierre Jackson three-pointer. The lead would go back and forth a bit, but with 2:25 left in the first half, Brady Heslip would hit a 3-point shot to put the Bears up for good.
In waco though, the tide was turning the other way. Oklahoma State finally put together a good drive and got a J.W. Walsh 1-yard touchdown run. The Bears got the ball back, but gave it right back to OSU just 6 plays later on a Lache Seastrunk fumble. Two and a half minutes after that, the Cowboys would score to cut it to a 7 point game, and put the pressure back on the Bears.
As the basketball team was doing in Waco, the football Bears would answer every run and keep the lead at a safe distance. Baylor got the lead back up to 14 on a drive highlighted by a Florence 18 yard run that also had a 15 yard horse collar penalty tacked on. With the score 31-17, the Bears defense would step up again and intercept Chelf for the second time. While Baylor would have a field goal blocked at the end of the half, the Bears were up 14 with the ball coming their way.
Speaking of the end of the half, while the football team had a 3-point chance blocked, the basketball Bears got a Pierre Jackson steal with just 6 seconds left and ran a perfect fast break to get a Brady Heslip 3-pointer to slash down right before the buzzer to put the Bears up 34-29 at halftime.
Both teams, with multiple possession leads, would get the ball to start the half, and both would eventually stretch the lead. In Waco, the Bears finally got a big kickoff return, as Darius Jones ran the kickoff back 73 yards, though the drive would stall and end with a missed 41 yard kick by Aaron Jones. In Lexington, Cory Jefferson and A.J. Walton would make baskets to extend the lead to a game high 9 points.
As both teams hung onto to leads that would dip to as low as 7 points in Waco and 4 points in Lexington, the defenses would impose their will and keep the leads safe. Coach Phil Bennett had a masterful plan to limit the Cowboys, as he put pressure on Chelf and tried to limit big passing plays. They were completely successful, as Chelf would only average 6.6 yards per attempt and a long play of just 23 yards.
Coach Drew had another approach up his sleeve, and showed a new yet completely familiar defense at the young Wildcats. The Bears have been a zone team the past few season, yet had shown only man defenses so far in 2012. I guess they were saving it for a rainy day, as they came out in a zone defense and never really left it in limiting Kentucky to just 29.6% shooting and 4-22 shooting on 3-pointers, a season high for the Wildcats.
The defense was especially strong in the interior as Cory Jefferson had 5 blocks, which in hindsight might have been about half of what I expected him to get. He was all over the place, and did an phenomenal job on the young front court of Kentucky. Not to be outdone, Isaiah Austin also had 2 blocks, and recorded some huge rebounds. The Baylor defenders sunk into the lane and forced the Wildcats into shooting a season high 22 three pointers. The only reason the game was close was the dominating effort the Wildcats had in regards to rebounding, where they were plus 10, including 20 offensive rebounds.
In the end, both Baylor teams would hold off the opposition and come up with upsets over ranked teams, though neither will probably be ranked next week. Kentucky has now lost two games, but I challenge you to tell me they won't be a contender late in the year. Oklahoma State lost of the second straight week and will more than likely fall from the Top 25 and out of contention for one of the higher level Big 12 bowls.
It was a successful day for the Bears all around.
Players of the Game -
Football - Lache Seastrunk and Eddie Lackey
Both of these guys have really stepped up their games the past few weeks. Lackey recorded an interception return for a touchdown for the second straight game. He was all over the field, and did a great job on several of the J.W. Walsh running plays near the end zone.
What else can you say about Lache? He is so fast, he can outrun a defense with a cramping quad muscle. For the second straight home game, he took the ball on the first play of a 4th quarter drive, broke free and ran for a long touchdown. This one was 76 yards, and put the Bears up 14 points after Oklahoma State cut it to 7 with around five minutes to play. You can't say enough about his ability to be a big play threat at any point of the game, especially late when the defense is tired. With 179 more rushing yards today, he is just 126 yards from a 1,000 yard rushing season, despite playing extensively in just 6 games. Incredible.
Basketball - Cory Jefferson
In a game full of 5-star post players, it was Jefferson that was the best post player in the game. He was only 4-6 shooting, but his impact on defense was extraordinary. He recorded 5 blocks, and probably could have been credited with another 5. He had 7 rebounds, and 10 points as well. Jefferson controlled the paint, and helped limit Nerlens Noel to a 3-14 shooting night.
Double the Games...double the Wins
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