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Isaiah Austin and Baylor jumped out to big early lead against second-seeded Oklahoma.

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four observations from Baylor’s 78-73 victory over Oklahoma in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament:

From up big to tightening up
The Sooners’ regular-season sweep was long forgotten once Baylor (22-10) built an 21-point lead early in the second half. Isaiah Austin had scored 16 points at that point, including a personal 7-0 run that included a 3-pointer and an alley-doop dunk to make it a 52-31.

Blowout, right?

Come on, this is Baylor we’re talking about.

Austin took only two more shots over the final 17 minutes—where did he go?—and second-seeded Oklahoma (23-9) began an extreme 3-point bombardment to mount a comeback. (How extreme? Try 20 long-range attempts in the last 17 minutes.) Seven of this 3s went down and OU pulled within 72-68 at the 90-second mark, but Baylor made 6-of-8 free throws to seal it.

“The first half was fun to watch,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew.

Free-throw disparity
The Bears put up 35 free throws while Oklahoma attempted five. That’s no indictment of the officials, but rather a testament to the Sooners settling for 35 3-pointers (and only 31 two-point shots).

“I think they changed their game plan a little bit because we were blocking a lot of their shots and contesting a lot of their shots,” said Austin, who had five blocks.

Buddy Heild wound up with 15 points for Oklahoma, but he needed 15 shots to do it (including 3-of-10 from 3-point land.) Cameron Clark was 3-of-9 on 3s and scored 19 pointers.

Finally, an upset
With the conference featuring so much parity, this was billed as a wide-open tournament. But it took us until the fifth game for Baylor to become the first lower-seeded team to win.

“I thought Baylor played with more urgency,” said Sooners coach Lon Kruger. “Credit our guys for coming back and getting a look at it, but credit Baylor. They hit us first.”

Bears starting to sic’ em
That makes nine wins in 10 games for upward-trending Baylor, which appeared to have zero chance at an NCAA berth in early February.

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Comment

  • Mister Man

    Congrats to Baylor.