The Baylor Bears got the big win they needed, and more than likely punched their ticket into the NCAA tournament after a year removed from it last year. Though they won the NIT championship last year, none of the Bears were really in the mood to try and defend that dubious championship.
The Bears were led by two of their three seniors in Brady Heslip and Cory Jefferson. Heslip dominated the second half of the game, scoring 15 of his 18 points in the second stanza and hitting 5 of 6 of his shots attempts (all 3-pointers) in the last 20 minutes. It was Jefferson though that got the Bears off to a good start, scoring 15 of his 21 points in the first half, including 7 of the first 8 points on the board for the Bears.
"You can't get too much more inspired than on senior night, especially being a senior and knowing you've got to go out there and give it your all, said Jefferson. "For one, you want to win on your final night of playing in your home gym, and also we are still fighting to get to the "big dance" so we a lot of things to inspire us today."
Iowa State came in with the league's leading scorer, but Melvin Ejim had a game he would rather forget, scoring his first basket well into the second half and finishing with just 6 points on 3-14 shooting. With their interior scoring gone, the Cyclones turned to the outside shot, making twelve 3-pointers in the game.
With 15 lead changes, this game was back and forth, until a 13-0 run clinched it for the Bears. Tied at 61 with 4:10 left in the game, the Cyclones would miss two big 3-pointers to give the Bears a chance. Brady Heslip broke the tie with his own 3-pointer, and the Bears would not look back. The Cyclones would miss their final five 3-point shots, while the Bears would get 8 points from junior guard Kenny Chery to extend the lead and get their 20th victory of the season.
"The guys always stuck together. What I mean by that is normally, when you're losing, people finger point and it turns into players versus players, players versus coaches, and we never really saw that," Head Coach Scott Drew. "Everyone stuck together, believed in what we were doing and kept encouraging each other."