With just over two minutes left in the first half and the Baylor Bears leading 33-25, there were no signs of the trouble that was right around the corner. No signs of the Bears again going cold behind the arc against Oklahoma State. No signs of the variety and amount of turnovers the Bears would commit. No sign of the Cowboys hitting nine three pointers in the next 22 minutes of action. Yet, all of those things happened. A 7-0 run to close the half gave way to a 24-8 run through the first 6 minutes of the second half as the Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the Bears 74-65.
With LeBryan Nash beating the Bears in the paint, or more specifically, in the area just around the free throw line, and Phil Forte hitting big 3's and difficult runners, the Cowboys 2-man attack scored 40 points, with two other starters joining them in double figures. You expect Nash and Forte to put up good numbers. They average almost 34 points combined. It is the 16 points from Jeff Newberry and 12 points from Anthony Hickey Jr. that surprise you. Despite the fact that Oklahoma State did not get a single point scored from their bench (and Baylor had 25), the Cowboys still put up 74 points.
Even with the bench scoring disparity, the Bears simply turned the ball over too much in this game, and did not force enough transition opportunities to make the Cowboys pay. 16 turnovers for the Bears, at least two by every starter, and just 7 forced turnovers gave the Cowboys 4 more shots at the basket than Baylor. Even with the Bears shooting a very strong 46%, Oklahoma State was just a bit better, making 46.3%.
The other area of this game that was a big negative for the Bears was 3-point shooting in the second half, with Oklahoma State making 9 three-pointers and Baylor not making a single one. With the turnovers adding up and the three pointers all going the Cowboys way, it was just too much for the Bears to overcome.
Baylor was led by Taurean Prince, who scored 20 points off the bench for the Bears, but needing 16 shots to get there, and was just 2-7 from behind the arc. Ricardo Gathers had another big game with 16 points and 16 rebounds, but no other Bear scored in double figures. Kenny Chery was just 3-8 from the floor, and finished with 9 points.
The loss snaps a 3-game win streak for the Bears in which they won each game by 18 points or more. With the loss, they fall to 6-5 in conference play with a road game at Kansas coming up on Saturday.
Player of the Game
Rico Gathers - 16 points, 16 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks
What else can we say about what Gathers brings to this team? He is the most dominant rebounder in college basketball, and allows the Bears to really focus on transition offense or defense. The guards can push down the court to either attack in transition or defend as they know that Rico will get the ball. They can also have a post like Taurean Prince next to him that stretches the floor, and leaves one less big on the offensive glass because he is so dominant there. This was just another ho-hum game for Rico, and he ended up with 16 and 16.