Oklahoma-Baylor Preview

The Associated Press

While Perry Jones III's continued struggles may not bode well for Baylor come tournament time, Quincy Acy appears to be moving past a lull and gearing up for March.

Acy looks to build on his best game of the season as the 13th-ranked Bears go for a sweep of visiting Oklahoma on Saturday.

After losing three of four, Baylor picked up a big win with a 77-72 victory at Texas on Monday. Acy scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half and had a career-high 16 rebounds - eight offensive, also a career best - to help the Bears rally from a 12-point deficit.

Acy, who also led Baylor (23-5, 10-5 Big 12) with 14 points in a 57-56 loss to Kansas State last Saturday, hadn't scored more than 11 in six games coming into the matchup with the Longhorns.

"The toughness and leadership he has brought to the team is awesome," coach Scott Drew said. "He deserves a lot of credit for the success of the team this year."

Acy's big game Monday helped make up for another disappointing performance from Jones, who scored 10 points and shot 3 of 14.

Jones, the Big 12 preseason player of the year, has turned in subpar efforts in four of his last five games. He had 18 points and seven rebounds in a 79-64 win over Iowa State on Feb. 13 but averaged 5.8 points in the other four contests, dropping his team-best scoring average to 13.3.

"I think the biggest thing is youth," Drew said of Jones' struggles. "I think he gets judged on his potential rather than where he's at right now. He's a young player who has unbelievable potential."

Playing Oklahoma could help Jones get back on track. He had game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 77-65 win over the Sooners on Jan. 24 and has averaged 21.7 points and 8.7 boards in three all-time meetings.

While the Bears are trying to build momentum going into the conference tournament, Oklahoma (14-13, 4-11) is looking for its first back-to-back wins since mid-January. The Sooners snapped a six-game losing streak with a 77-64 victory over Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

Oklahoma jumped out to a 20-5 lead and was up 30-12 at halftime, then went on a 14-5 run in the second half after the Cowboys cut the lead to single digits.

Four Sooners scored in double figures, as Romero Osby had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Steven Pledger added 17 points. Oklahoma had averaged 62.3 points the previous six games.

Strong finishes have been a problem for the Sooners, who came up short against Baylor after rallying from an early deficit.

"It's hard when you are not winning ball games," coach Lon Krueger said. "The guys want to win and we want them to have that experience of winning. But ... we haven't done the things consistently over 40 minutes that we need to do. The guys understand that and that is why it is good to see them continue to work and improve in those areas."

Pledger is looking to be more consistent. He leads Oklahoma with 16.8 points per game, but has been held to fewer than eight in two of the last four contests. He had 17 against the Bears last month.

The Sooners have lost their last two visits to Waco by an average of 22.0 points and are 1-6 on the road this season, with the victory coming over then-No. 22 Kansas State. Oklahoma has dropped four of the last six overall matchups after winning the first 26 between the teams in Big 12 play.

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