Baylor big man Isaiah Austin was bold enough to share his opinion and he turned out to be right on the money.
Austin was quoted in the Dallas Morning News prior to his team's big game Friday night against No. 3 Kentucky saying, "Kentucky is not better than us in any way, shape or form.” Then Austin went out and helped lead the 20th-ranked Bears to a 67-62 victory over the Wildcats at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The game was delayed by more than an hour by a four-overtime women's game between teams from the same schools. It didn't start until 11:19 EST.
Baylor's victory gave the Big 12 Conference a 6-2 record in the first Big 12-SEC Challenge with two games still to come.
Austin scored 13 points and helped the Bears dominate Kentucky on the boards, out-rebounding the Wildcats 41-25. Massive 270-pound forward Rico Gathers gobbled up 14 of them. Kenny Chery scored 18 to lead Baylor
Obviously this is an outcome from which Baylor will gain plenty of confidence. After all, a lot of people pretty much anointed Kentucky and its wonderful crop of freshman national champions before the season even started. Baylor definitely showed it can play with the Wildcats.
The fact that Baylor is a good team and probably and underrated one at this point should prevent Kentucky from panicking over the loss. It was a learning experience for the young Wildcats who surrendered a nine-point lead in the second half and couldn't buy a bucket at times. The made just two field goals in the final 13 minutes.
Coach John Calipari naturally had some pointed comments about the performance of his young team.
"Our fans just want to see a team fight and battle and compete and this team didn't," Calipari said. "As soon as this thing got rough and first two rain drops hit, it's like a frontrunning team, the rain drops hit, we stop fighting. We start looking for excuses and heads down. That's what we are right now. But we know that and that's why we have to play these kind of teams."
It was a chance to play a game in the venue where the Final Four will be staged in April.There is no reason to think either of these teams can't get back here.
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