Baylor-Oklahoma St. Preview
It's hard to tell which Oklahoma State team Baylor will see Wednesday night: the one that opened Big 12 play 1-4 or the one that blew out Kansas last week.
The 17th-ranked Bears might be more worried about themselves as they hope to move past a wasted opportunity when they visit the Cowboys.
Baylor (15-4, 5-2) coughed up a chance to remain alone atop the conference Saturday, coming out flat in an 82-72 home loss to top-ranked Oklahoma. The defeat snapped the Bears' five-game winning streak and brought them back to a packed conference race.
''OU was outstanding and I thought we were average, at best,'' coach Scott Drew said. ''Disappointed we didn't have a better showing for an opportunity like this.''
Baylor leads the nation with 20.8 assists per game and the Big 12 with a 1.62 assist-to-turnover ratio, but it has 48 assists and 49 turnovers in the last three. The Bears shot 45.8 percent against the Sooners while allowing them to scorch the nets at 62.0 - the highest mark for an opponent since Kansas shot 62.5 percent in January 2011. Oklahoma's 16 made 3-pointers were the most the Bears surrendered since the Jayhawks made that many in January 2005.
However, a season sweep of Oklahoma State would help Baylor match its best Big 12 start with the 2011-2012 team that finished tied for third place at 12-6.
The Bears took the first meeting 79-62 on Jan. 5 after Oklahoma State won both matchups a year ago. Baylor had lost eight straight in Stillwater from 2004-11 but has split the last four.
Al Freeman had 21 points against the Cowboys and Rico Gathers added 17 points and 17 rebounds. The pair, Baylor's top two scorers behind Taurean Prince, combined to score 12 against Oklahoma as the Bears posted their worst shooting percentage since finishing at 45.0 against the Cowboys.
That was the first of four straight losses for Oklahoma State (10-9, 2-5), planting the Cowboys toward the bottom of the Big 12.
Oklahoma State, though, snapped a six-game losing streak against ranked opponents with an 86-67 victory over then-No. 3 Kansas on Jan. 19. It was an all-around dominating performance as the Cowboys made 11 of 21 3-pointers, shot 50.0 percent overall for the first time in 12 games and held the Jayhawks to 29 points in the second half.
And then Oklahoma State backtracked, suffering an 89-73 loss at struggling Kansas State on Saturday - shooting 41.8 percent and making 6 of 21 3s.
''Both teams were teams that needed wins,'' coach Travis Ford said. ''Two different scenarios, but the question was who was going to respond, and we didn't respond.''
Jawun Evans entered on a roll, averaging 25.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in his previous three games to earn Big 12 newcomer of the week honors. However, he dealt with foul trouble against the Wildcats and finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists.
The freshman guard had eight points and a season-best nine assists at Baylor earlier this month.
The Bears have won their last two road contests after opening 0-3, and Oklahoma State has taken four of its last five at Gallagher-Iba Arena.