Baylor Basketball Takes Giant Step towards Big Dance

By Bret Thurman
Baylor MBB
USA TODAY Sports-Danny Medley

Was this the statement game that Baylor needed? For the second straight Big 12 tournament game, Baylor blew most of a very large lead. And, for the second straight game, the Bears held on to win. This time, the victim was the Oklahoma Sooners, by a final score of 78-73. The Bears led by as many as 21 in the second half, but Oklahoma very nearly came all the way back behind 19 points from Clark Cameron and 15 from Buddy Hield. All five Baylor starters scored in double figures, led by Isaiah Austin‘s 18 points (Austin also added five blocks).

With this win, Baylor scored the tournament’s first upset. The Sooners were coming off an extended layoff, and may not quite have been ready to play. A few minutes’ head start is all Baylor needs, now that the team is back at full strength. Baylor led by 16 at halftime and stretched the lead to 21 with roughly ten minutes left. Oklahoma mounted a strong comeback, but simply ran out of time.

Speaking of time, the Bears are clearly peaking at just the right time. In the semifinals, Baylor will face either a surging West Virginia squad or a steady Texas team. Baylor is on the opposite side of the bracket from conference powerhouses Iowa State and Kansas. With the way the Bears have played the last two nights, the opponent may actually not make much of a difference. If you can’t stop Baylor early, you might as well not even try.

Baylor MBB Tournament Line:

RPI (Sagarin): 30

W-L: 21-10

Against Top 25:5-6

Last 12: 10-2

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