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Oklahoma St.-Baylor Preview

AP - Sports

After earning perhaps its most impressive victory in one major showdown, unbeaten Baylor must now avoid the temptation of looking ahead to another.

The fourth-ranked Bears will have to focus on handing Oklahoma State a 12th straight Big 12 road loss Saturday before they can worry about another important road trip.

Baylor (16-0, 3-0) has excelled at minimizing distractions as the program enjoys its highest ranking, longest-ever win streak and best start. Top-ranked Syracuse and No. 15 Murray State are the only other unbeaten Division I teams.

"We try not to pay attention to that, but it is hard not to," said forward Quincy Acy about the perfect record. "Last year we got a little fame, and we got embarrassed a couple times. Going through that last year I really stressed with our guys that we really should not get caught up in the rankings."

The Bears won 75-73 at No. 14 Kansas State on Tuesday and have another trip to the Sunflower State set for Monday against No. 10 Kansas. But first, Baylor must worry about Oklahoma State (9-7, 2-1).

There won't be any concerns about overlooking the Cowboys based on Tuesday's performance. Baylor held Kansas State to one basket in the final 5 minutes, with Acy's five straight points giving the Bears the lead for good with 2:22 left.

"That's the biggest thing, that sometimes people question our team's toughness," coach Scott Drew said. "Tonight, I think we showed, mentally, how tough we've been."

Perry Jones III led Baylor with 17 points and newcomers Brady Heslip and Pierre Jackson again shined. Heslip scored 13 and Jackson had 10 points and 11 assists.

Baylor is the Big 12's top 3-point shooting team at 40.4 percent. Heslip is at 48.5 percent and Jackson at 48.0.

The Bears are second in the conference in limiting opponents to 37.1 percent shooting and should match up favorably against the Cowboys, who shoot a Big 12-low 40.8 percent.

Oklahoma State, though, has held all three conference foes under 40 percent from the field, limiting Oklahoma to 32.4 percent shooting in Monday's 72-65 win.

"Our half-court defense is so good right now," freshman forward Le'Bryan Nash said. "We get teams frustrated. We really identify by our half-court defense."

Nash is a McDonald's All-American and Dallas native who was recruited by Baylor. He struggled to average 11.7 points in the first 13 games before averaging 18.0 in Big 12 play.

"We're wanting to try and get him in some situations where he can take guys 1-on-1," coach Travis Ford said. "He's getting better. It's just a process."

Only one conference team has more losses than Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys feel that a difficult non-conference schedule will pay dividends against the best teams in the Big 12.

"I think that the Alabamas, the Virginia Techs, the Stanfords, and those type of teams have really prepared us well for the Big 12," top scorer Keiton Page said.

These teams split two meetings last season, and the home team has won each of the last 11. Page is averaging 14.7 points in three home wins in the series and 7.0 in three defeats in Waco.

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