The most dominant streak between Big 12 rivals is over. And how.
Baylor had lost 30 straight against Oklahoma dating to a 1977 game in Norman. As for beating the Sooners in Waco, it had not been done since 1954.
Finally, the Bears buried the long skid, blasting the Sooners 91-60 in their Big 12 opener. The win was the ninth straight as Baylor climbed to 13-1.
"This was one of the last thorns we needed to get out of our side," said Baylor coach Scott Drew. "This was also for our fans who have seen us lose in just about any and every fashion to Oklahoma."
The outcome may have reflected an unexpected tradeoff in the South Division. Oklahoma figured to recover nicely from the loss of national player of the year Blake Griffin, while Baylor was expected to struggle after losing some influential starters.
Few predicted the impact Michigan transfer Ekpe Udoh would have on the Bears. The 6-10 forward, who happens to be from Edmond, Okla., has made the biggest impact of any newcomer in the league and showed it again with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks against Oklahoma.
"Ekpe makes a huge difference," said Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. "He's a guy who protects the basket, and his presence is felt if he doesn't block the shot because you're always looking for him and how many shots he is changing during the game."
--Oklahoma shot lights out to begin the Big 12 opener on Jan. 9. Literally. A bank of lights near the rafters in the Ferrell Center went out in the first half, causing a delay with the Sooners leading 16-9. When play resumed, Oklahoma boosted its lead to 20-11 before Baylor took control, closing the half with a 30-6 flurry and rolling to a 91-60 win.
--Baylor could be content using a small rotation. Although the Bears routed Oklahoma, just seven players logged more than two minutes. F Quincy Acy is more apt to see extended minutes inside as a reserve than C Josh Lomers, a starter.
ON THE SPOT: For Baylor, the key is maintaining the level of performance it sustained against Oklahoma. Any letdowns are possible considering the Bears lost six straight last season after starting 3-1 in the Big 12. But the rout against the Sooners, which was highlighted by 58.6 percent shooting, proves Baylor can be a handful for any conference rival. This is a better team than last year based on the lift provided underneath by imposing F Ekpe Udoh.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is probably the best we've played to this point. But I think we've shown great balance all year and that includes the way we've played on the defensive end. For a lot of people who don't follow us regularly, I think they can see we've come a long way." -- Baylor coach Scott Drew following the win against Oklahoma.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: The impression made by Baylor has not been something achieved exclusively at home. The Bears sent a message to the rest of the Big 12 with back-to-back road wins in the SEC at Arkansas and at South Carolina. By opening with a decisive 31-point romp against Oklahoma, the Bears look for real, with strength at all positions thanks to the addition of F Ekpe Udoh, a Michigan transfer who's been a force at both ends.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Ekpe Udoh, F Anthony Jones, C Josh Lomers, G LaceDarius Dunn, G Tweety Carter. Key Subs -- F Quincy Acy, G A.J. Walton.
Baylor 85, South Carolina 74
Baylor 79, Morgan State 63
Baylor 91, Oklahoma 60
at Colorado, Tuesday, Jan. 12.
vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday, Jan. 16.
at Kansas, Wednesday, Jan. 20.
vs. Massachusetts, Saturday, Jan. 23.
vs. Kansas State, Tuesday, Jan. 26.
IN FOCUS: Baylor cannot afford to get overconfident from its blowout win against Oklahoma. Colorado is better and proved it by shooting better than 50 percent against Texas. The Buffaloes, however, are weak underneath, where F Ekpe Udoh has excelled for the Bears. Containing Oklahoma State deadeye James Anderson will be a challenge.
--G LaceDarius Dunn enjoyed his fifth 20-point game of the season, leading the Bears with 28 against Oklahoma, going 6-for-8 from 3-point range.
--F Ekpe Udoh blocked seven shots against Oklahoma, the fifth time he's recorded six or more blocks. Although he missed out on a double-double, Udoh is averaging 14.8 points and 15.2 rebounds over the past five games.
--G Tweety Carter has 42 assists in the last five games after posting a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists against Oklahoma.
#22 Baylor Bears: Inside The Numbers
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