Striving to bounce back from first loss, No. 1 Baylor meets Oklahoma State

·3 min read

Top-ranked Baylor will look to rebound from its first loss in 22 games when it hosts Big 12 rival Oklahoma State on Saturday in Waco, Texas.

The Bears (15-1, 3-1), the reigning national champions, dropped a game for the first time since the Big 12 Tournament last season and had their 21-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in a 65-62 home loss to Texas Tech.

Despite Adam Flagler and James Akinjo each scoring 17 points, the Bears lost at home for only the second time in three seasons, and their win streak was halted two short of their own conference record of 23 set during the 2019-2020 season.

The Bears had won 22 games in a row at home by an average margin of 26 points.

Akinjo had a chance to tie the game as time expired, but he bobbled his dribble and launched a desperation 3-pointer that bounced off the front of the rim.

"It was very frustrating," Akinjo said after the game. "Not only we didn't score, but we gave up easies in transition. So that was more frustrating than us not scoring."

Baylor led by as many as 15 points in the first half but the lead dwindled to five by halftime, and the 19th-ranked Red Raiders jumped ahead with a quick 7-1 surge to open the second half.

"You've got to give Texas Tech a lot of credit," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "I think the first 15 minutes we did a great job, and then the last five minutes of the first half they finished on a great run and had momentum. And then in the second half they carried that momentum."

During what has been a tough season before it even started for Oklahoma State (8-7, 1-3), the Cowboys suffered another setback Thursday when they were routed by Texas Tech 78-57.

The Cowboys, who were ruled ineligible for the postseason by the NCAA before the start of the season, have dropped back-to-back games and six of their past eight contests.

Bryce Thompson led Oklahoma State with 14 points as the Cowboys continued to struggle with their shooting, going 18-for-56 from the field (32.1%). Oklahoma State battled back from an early 10-0 deficit and tied the game at 21 before Texas Tech outscored the Cowboys 21-6 down the stretch of the first half.

"The crowd did a great job of feeding energy to the team, and the team did a good job of taking advantage of that energy in the building," Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. "I was proud of our guys for not losing their composure early and fighting back to get the game in the balance. And they responded like really good teams do."

The Cowboys are amid a trip in which they play three games in five nights.

"It's much more mental than it is physical at this level," Boynton said. "I truly believe the answers are in the locker room. We have the right guys; we're doing this in short enough spurts to see that it can be done. We're just not sustaining it."

--Field Level Media