Crocker’s 4-point play in OT lifts Oklahoma to 92-91 win over Baylor
NORMAN, Okla. (AP)—Tony Crocker would just as soon have Oklahoma win without all the late-game dramatics.
But for the second straight game, that’s exactly what the Sooners needed.
Crocker converted a four-point play with 7.3 seconds left in overtime and Oklahoma came away with its second straight miraculous finish, beating Baylor 92-91 on Tuesday night.
Crocker was fouled by Aaron Bruce while making a 3-pointer from the left wing and then hit his free throw to put Oklahoma ahead. Curtis Jerrells missed two free throws with 1 second left that could have given the Bears the win.
Kevin Rogers got an offensive rebound on Jerrells’ second miss but was unable to put it back at the buzzer.
“When you win like that, it’s scary,” said Crocker, who hit four other 3-pointers and finished with 20 points. “I’d rather not win like that, but a win is a win no matter how you get it done, just as long as you get it done.”
In its last game, Oklahoma got a 28-foot 3-pointer from David Godbold with 1.4 seconds left to beat Texas Tech. The latest victory vaulted the Sooners (18-8, 6-5) past Baylor and into a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 standings with No. 22 Texas A&M.
“We’ve gotten very fortunate two games in a row,” Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. “We still have a lot of room to play better and we need to play better, and I think we will play better. But it’s a huge win for us, a huge game for us.”
Blake Griffin had a career-high 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds while Austin Johnson scored 19 points for Oklahoma, which squandered an eight-point lead in the final 3 minutes of regulation before overcoming a 7-0 surge by the Bears to start the overtime.
Jerrells scored 29 points and led Baylor’s comeback in regulation, but then couldn’t come through with the Lloyd Noble Center crowd cheering loudly when he stepped to the line. He said he thought both shots were good when they left his hand.
“Any loss is difficult but this one, we knew it would mean a lot to us,” Jerrells said. “It would have been nice if we’d have came up with the win.”
Crocker hit a 3 from the right wing to cut the Sooners’ deficit to 89-88 with 19.7 seconds left.
Bruce hit two free throws to give Baylor a three-point lead, but then got caught under Crocker on what proved to be the game-winner.
“I was really just trying to get a shot up and he came in the way so I had to hold it a little bit and then shoot,” Crocker said. “It just happened to go down.”
Rogers finished with 18 points, Tweety Carter scored 17 and Henry Dugat added 13 for Baylor (17-8, 5-6), which has lost its last 28 games against the Sooners. The Bears had a heartbreaking defeat in their last game, when Bruce called a timeout the team didn’t have to help Texas escape with an 82-77 win.
The Bears trailed 62-54 with 5 minutes remaining when a skirmish broke out that resulted in two Baylor players and an Oklahoma strength coach being ejected. The deficit was eight points after Griffin hit two free throws with 2:47 left in regulation.
Jerrells hit a 3-pointer to make it 70-66 and ignite the Bears’ comeback, and he also hit two tying free throws with 14 seconds left in regulation. He answered Crocker’s two foul shots by zipping past Griffin from the right wing to tie it at 75 with a layup that hung on the rim before falling through at the buzzer.
Jerrells spent the final portion of the game guarding Griffin, who is 9 inches taller, after Mark Shepherd was ejected and Mamadou Diene fouled out.
Shepherd got tangled up with Griffin during an extended scrum for a loose ball. Godbold came up with the ball, and Shepherd appeared to hit Griffin in the face with his left elbow as the two got up.
After the teams were separated following the brief skirmish, officials reviewed replays on a courtside monitor and threw out Shepherd and teammate Richard Hurd—who had been on the bench—along with Sooners strength coach Darby Rich, who left the Sooners’ bench to enter the fray.
“I think you’ve got two teams fighting to get in the upper half of the conference. If the loose ball’s down there long enough, you’re going to have some issues,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
“You’d have to look at it on replay and see exactly what happened, but I think it was just teams fighting and playing hard.”
Only the thrilling finish overshadowed the emotional confrontation.
“It was louder in here than I’ve ever heard it since I’ve been here. We were very fortunate, lucky, whatever you want to call it,” Capel said. “As good as it feels to be on this end, I hate it for the kids from Baylor because they played their hearts out and played really well. But we’ll take it.”