Baylor did not put together a good game. The Bears have failed the past week-and-a-half to put together impressive performances. However, the Bears did just enough to beat Oklahoma State 69-65 in Stillwater, Okla., on Wednesday and pick up a key Big 12 win.
Taurean Prince led Baylor with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field. Rico Gathers added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Chris Olivier had 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field in a loss. Star guard Jawun Evans was held to only nine points on 3-for-9 shooting, identical to the last game. He added 10 assists.
Baylor had a disastrous first half, shooting 8-for-21 from the field and allowing Oklahoma State to manhandle them on the inside. The Cowboys had 20 points in the paint and shot 54.2 percent from the field in the half. Oklahoma State took a 32-27 lead at halftime.
When the second half came around, Baylor's defense came to life. The Bears held Oklahoma State to 2-for-9 shooting over the first eight minutes of the second half. The Bears took advantage and went on a 19-7 run over the stretch.
Oklahoma State did not go away, and Baylor failed to push the lead out past three at any point to close the game. The score went back-and-forth over the last few minutes, but Baylor hit free throws down the stretch to eventually put the game away.
Baylor failed to find its way back into offensive rhythm. The Bears shot 44 percent from the field, especially thanks to Prince and Gathers' performance. However, the Bears' backcourt once again had off games. Lester Medford shot only 3-for-9 from the field and 0-for 3 from 2-point range. Al Freeman shot 1-for-9 from the field, one of the worst shooting performances of his career.
Baylor still has plenty of flaws to work through before playing Georgia and Texas over the next two games. However, a win is once again a win.
Baylor moved to 16-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12, good enough to tie for first place in the conference. Scott Drew said it best last week: "Winning the close games is the difference between a good and great season." Baylor has gone 4-0 in Big 12 games decided by less than 10 points.
The Bears have a winnable game at 5 p.m. Saturday against Georgia before playing Texas and No. 9 West Virginia next week. This stretch could make the difference between a top-five seed and a bubble team in the NCAA tournament.