Five overtimes seem trivial compared to how long Baylor has been trying to end its losing streak against Oklahoma.
After needing five OTs to earn a win in their last game, the 25th-ranked Bears look to snap a 26-game skid versus the Sooners when the Big 12 rivals meet Saturday.
Curtis Jerrells scored a career-high 36 points in 53 minutes to lift Baylor (16-2, 4-0) to a 116-110 five-overtime win over No. 18 Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
“That just shows the ability, the dedication and the will of this team,” said Jerrells, who tops the Bears with 14.3 points per game. “If we put our minds to it, no matter what happens we’re going to get it done.”
Baylor has won five straight, but its next matchup could easily put an end to that run. The Bears haven’t beaten the Sooners (13-5, 1-2) since Dec. 6, 1977, when they won 75-69 in Norman.
Oklahoma also has won 14 straight on the road against Baylor, and leads the all-time series 31-5.
But the Bears are enjoying one of the best seasons in school history, entering the AP poll for the first time since 1969 on Monday. They’ve already surpassed last season’s 15 wins.
“I think this has been great for our team and even more enjoyable as a coach, being able to step back and be so happy for our community and fans and everybody that waited so long for this,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
The Bears’ strength is their backcourt depth, which features a rotation of five guards that each average over 20 minutes per game.
Jerrells starts at one guard spot along with Henry Dugat and Aaron Bruce, with Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn coming off the bench. They combine to average 58.8 points per game.
Jerrells is averaging 18.0 points in his last three contests against Oklahoma, including a 23-point effort in a 68-64 loss on Feb. 10 in the teams’ last meeting.
Taylor Griffin had just four points for the Sooners in that game, but he has emerged as an important player with his younger brother, Blake, out with a sprained knee. He matched a career high with 16 points and pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season and lead Oklahoma to a 63-61 win over Texas Tech last Saturday.
The Sooners won their first game without Blake Griffin, who leads the team with 14.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He could be out as long as four weeks.
“He’s an incredible player, and we’re going to miss him,” said Taylor Griffin, who gave up his starting role after his brother arrived this season. “It’s going to be a lot harder without him. But anything that we can improve on while he’s gone is going to make us better when he gets back.”
Oklahoma lost consecutive games before Saturday. The Sooners are 2-3 against top 25 teams this season.