Everytime you count them out, the Baylor Bears make you regret it. With two losses in a row, four losses in their last give games, plus three home Big 12 losses in the road, the Bears continued their winning ways against the Iowa State Cyclones. With 6-Bears scoring in double figures, and an extra five minutes of entertaining basketball, the Bears earned a hard fought 100-91 victory Tuesday night.
From the opening tip, this game was defined by shot making and excellent offense. The teams combined to make 52.63% from the field and 191 points. The Cyclones got off to a quick start with Abdel Nader scroing 5-quick points to pace ISU to an early 7-4 lead. The Bears would use a 9-2 run to capture an 18-13 lead, with T.J. Maston making an immediate impact on both sides of the court. He led two fast breaks off of steals and had a pretty layup off of tremendous post position in his first few minutes of action. The lead would change hands several more times in the first half before a closing 10-0 by the Bears would give them a 41-35 lead going into the second half.
The second half started off with a bang for both teams, as Jonathan Motley and Deonte Burton traded low post moves and tough finishes. The Bears would continut to push the lead out to around 6, before a big shot from Iowa State, usually by Abdel Nader or Monte Morris, would stem the tide and keep Iowa State close.
Iowa State would keep it close and then take the lead several times late in the half. Iowa State would get their final lead of the game with 1:32 left off of a pretty Nader drive and finish for an and-1. However, the Bears would once again go back inside to Motley who would force a foul and knock down two tough free throws to tie it at 81. Both teams would have chances to win it, but a Monte Morris made put back would be ruled after the final whistle, sending the game to overtime.
The Bears would never trail again, as they went up 83-81 on a Motley putback, and then got the lead for good off of a Lester Medford three-pointer to go up 87-84. Motley would come down a get a big block then get rewarded on the ensuing fast break with a dunk. Another Nader 3-pointer would cut the lead to 2 once again, before a Ish Wainright offensive rebound setup an open three-pointer for Wainright later in that possession. After that, it was free throw time for the Bears, where they made all 6 of their attempts to close outa big-time win at home.
With Rico Gathers once again out of the game due to illness, the Bears leaned on Jonathan Motley in the starting lineup. All he did was tie his career high in points, set earlier in the year against these same Cyclones. 27 points on 10-17 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 blocks, Motley was dominant against a smaller and weaker front line for the Cyclones. When Motley was out of the game, it was Maston's turn to fight down low. All he did was score 15 points on 7-9 shooting to go along with 3 steals and a block.
With the Bears dominating down low, the Cyclones tried to answer with strong guard play, led by Abdel Nader and Monte Morris. Three Cyclones scored 20 or more points, including Nader's 26 and 20 from Morris to go along with 11 assists. Georges Niang added 24 points with 8 rebounds and 4 assists for a strong all around game.
The Bears bench was the big difference, outscoring the Cyclones 21-0, led by Maston and 6 points from King McClure. The Cyclones would only get 26 minutes of court time from their bench, with Jameel McKay logging a very ineffective 20 of those. He finished 0-1 from the field, with 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and two turnovers before fouling out in overtime. Jordan Ashton would log 5 minutes, while Hallice Cook would get less than a minute of action.
With the overtime win, the Bears improved to 9-0 all-time under Scott Drew in overtime. Next up for the Bears is a trip to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns Saturday afternoon.