Waco, Texas – The nation’s top-ranked Baylor Bears were at home taking on the Oklahoma State Cowboys and looking to get back to its winning ways after suffering a tough loss to Texas Tech on Tuesday. The Cowboys would also be looking for a win after being bullied by Texas Tech also and losing four of their last five games. The Cowboys would come to Waco and stand their ground and play together, not being intimidated by the Bears. After freshman Kendall Brown’s early lay-up to take a 4-3 lead, the Cowboys would go on a 12-0 run to give the Baylor faithful some anxiety. Baylor would go on a 14-2 run of their own to bring the game within reach. But the Cowboys would posse up and all contribute offensively behind Bryce Thompson’s big contribution to end their two-game skid in a 61-54 upset win. It was the No. 1- ranked Baylor’s second consecutive home loss.
Baylor had a hard time matching Oklahoma State’s energy and stifling team defense from the start of the contest. Coach Mike Boynton had his posse of Cowboys locked and loaded as they would tie the paws of the Bears top-ranked offense by holding them to 8-for-31 first half shooting from the field and 2-for-13 from beyond the arc. They led the Bears at the half 34-22.
The second half would start no differently than the first half, with the Cowboys taking advantage of Baylor’s poor shooting and continuing to play stifling defense. But as Baylor began to make a run, Oklahoma State would answer the call every time the Bears roared. Thompson would hit a pull-up jumper to silence the crowd late in the second half to maintain an 11-point Cowboy lead.
Matthew Mayer and LJ Cryer were big contributors offensively for the Bears. The 6-9 senior, Mayer would give the Baylor faithful more of what they are used to by using his size and soft touch to rebound and score the ball. He would end the game with 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field and 2-for-6 from beyond the arc. Cryer would get it going in the second half giving the Bears a chance at a comeback when he and Mayer hit back-to-back threes to give the Bears a needed jump-start to their offense. The 6-1 sophomore Cryer would knock down a few catch and shoot threes and showcase some nice pull up jumpers coming off the pick and roll. This would lead to the Bears being able to pull within one point (55-54) with 1:21 left when Cryer made two free throws to finish off their 14-2 run. Cryer would finish with a team high 18 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field, 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
The Cowboys would withstand Baylor’s second half charge due to the intense play of 6-5 Kansas transfer Bryce Thompson and two late turnovers by Baylor’s Adam Flagler. Thompson would feed off the energy his team brought by their defense. He beat the Bears back in transition, connected from beyond the arc and hit free throws late to seal the deal. He finished the game with a game high 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field and going 4-for-4 form the free throw line.
Baylor missed 6-9 freshman Jeremy Sochan, who was out for his second straight game with an ankle injury. They also lost James Akinjo, their starting point guard, who took a hard fall mid-way through the second half. Akinjo was having an off-game to that point, shooting only 1-of-8 and scoring three points. Flagler was also limited to five points on 1-of-10 shooting.
Baylor will travel to challenge West Virginia on Tuesday to try to end their two-game losing streak. Oklahoma State will next play at TCU.