Scott Drew doesn’t feel like Baylor’s first loss in 6 1/2 weeks was a bad thing. In fact, the coach believes it will help his team in the long run.
The 22nd-ranked Bears look to bounce back from a tough loss Saturday when they host an Oklahoma State team that expects to have Big 12 scoring leader James Anderson in the lineup after he suffered injuries to his head and thigh earlier this week.
Baylor (13-2, 1-1) cracked the Top 25 for the first time this season in Monday’s poll, but its first game in the rankings was a bit of a letdown
The Bears lost to Colorado 78-71 on Tuesday, snapping a nine-game winning streak. It was Baylor’s first defeat since a 79-76 loss to Alabama in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 26.
Despite coming out on the losing end of its first road game in conference play, Drew feels it can be a positive for a team picked to finish 10th in the Big 12.
“This game can be a great learning tool,” Drew said. “This was the first time we have had a close road game. There are a lot of things we can go forward with and improve upon. We can use this game the rest of the season and looking back this can be a great game for us. Hopefully we will be able to take advantage of some of those things and get better.”
One area where Drew would probably like to see improvement is in the turnover margin.
The Bears forced a season-low five turnovers while committing 18, which led to 21 points for Colorado.
Baylor also needs to contest more shots after allowing the Buffaloes to shoot 50.0 percent. The Bears limited opponents to 35.3 percent shooting during their winning streak.
Coming up with a strong defensive effort might not be easy if Anderson is fully recovered from a head injury sustained in Monday’s 62-57 overtime loss at Oklahoma.
The Cowboys (13-3, 1-1) appeared to be in control, leading 42-34 with just over 13 minutes remaining, but their luck took a turn when Anderson hurt his head on the floor following a fall. Anderson, who averages a league-best 21.7 points, sat out for the next 4:40 as the Sooners went on a 13-0 run.
Anderson’s layup with 4 seconds remaining sent the game to overtime, but the Cowboys couldn’t complete the comeback.
A team trainer says the junior guard didn’t have any post-concussion symptoms and coach Travis Ford said Thursday he believes Anderson, who also was dealing with a sore thigh, is back to full strength.
Anderson scored 20 points in both games against the Bears last season with each team winning at home.
Baylor has won three straight over Oklahoma State in Waco and has won its eight home games this season by an average of 26.9 points. This includes a 91-60 victory over Oklahoma in last Saturday’s Big 12 opener, the Sooners’ most lopsided loss in 28 years.
LaceDarius Dunn had 28 points against Oklahoma and followed that up with 23 at Colorado.
Dunn, who ranks third in the conference in scoring with 18.7 points per game, averaged 10.5 points on 33.3 percent shooting against the Cowboys last season.