Stillwater, OK – On a late Monday night in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the (21-8) Baylor Bears took on the (16-13) Oklahoma State Cowboys in a game without Baylor’s Keyonte George and the Cowboy’s Avery Anderson.
It was LJ Cryer who shined early for the Bears. Meanwhile, the Cowboys would look to lean on Byrce Thompson, who saw limited minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble. Cryer scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half. Baylor dazzled in their half-court offense creating advantages off the ball for Cryer and cashing in on the pick and roll as Jonathon Tchamwa Tchatchoua had eight of his nine points in the first half. Baylor’s aggressive ball screen coverage gave the Cowboys trouble early in the game. However, Oklahoma State was able to fight back into the game by finding easy baskets off of 13 offensive rebounds in the first half, allowing the Cowboys to weather the storm until they could get Bryce Thompson back for the second half.
Then the script was flipped. The Cowboys adjusted their style of attack in the ball screen and put the Bears defense in scramble mode as the Cowboys connected on weak side spot up threes to take advantage of Baylor’s aggressive hedging. The Cowboys continued their solid rebounding, tallying a total of 22 offensive rebounds. However, they could only come away with 10 second-chance points on those 22 extra chances.
The highlight of the second half was the emergence of Dale Bonner. The 6-2 senior had a career-high 15 points on the night and helped a Baylor offense that had gone cold as Cryer’s hot start had cooled off after the intermission. Quietly, Adam Flagler steadied the boat for the Bears all game long. He filled the stat sheet with 13 points, five rebounds and six assists while committing only one turnover. Flagler never took over the game like most expected, with leading scorer George absent, but he gave the Bears a consistent presence all night as he quarterbacked the offense. He connected well with Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Flo Thamba in the pick and roll. Flagler showed poise as he made the right decisions finding the open man instead of forcing his shot while the Cowboys attempted to get the ball out of his hands.
Oklahoma State then ramped up the pressure as Baylor struggled to get the ball inbounds. The pressure sped Baylor up, forcing them to take quick shots and return the ball to the Cowboy’s offense. Oklahoma State’s shots started dropping just when the Cowboy faithful were about to give up all hope. Down 11 with 1:32 left in the game, the Cowboys’ John Michael Wright and Bryce Thompson’s three-pointers sent the Cowboys on a 9-0 run. However, it was a case of too little too late as the Bears were able to pull out of Stillwater with the 74-68 win in front of 7.965 fans.
This article was written by Hayden Hackworth, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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