STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — LJ Cryer and Dale Bonner each scored 15 points, and No. 7 Baylor held off Oklahoma State for a 74-68 victory on Monday night.
Jalen Bridges had 14 points and Adam Flagler added 13 for Baylor (22-8, 11-6 Big 12), which earned its second straight win since dropping consecutive games at Kansas State and Kansas.
The Bears played without leading scorer Keyonte George, who sprained his right ankle during Saturday’s 81-72 victory over Texas.
John-Michael Wright scored 17 points for Oklahoma State (16-14, 7-10). Caleb Asberry and Quion Williams finished with 12 apiece. The Cowboys also lost 74-58 to the Bears on Jan. 14.
Oklahoma State trailed 67-50 after Bonner made two foul shots with 4:01 left in the rematch. But Moussa Cisse responded with two free throws, sparking a 15-2 run for the Cowboys.
Bonner made three more from the line and Flagler also made two fouls shots to help Baylor close it out in the final seconds.
Baylor coach Scott Drew credited his veteran backcourt for helping his team hold off Oklahoma State’s furious last-minute run.
“With Adam and LJ, it makes it easy to sleep at night. Dale was tremendous down the stretch,” Drew said. “It starts with your backcourt, they’ve got experience, they made free throws, they take care of the basketball, so you really trust them.”
With the Bears losing two frontcourt starters to fouls in the final minutes, Cryer said it was up to the guards to take charge.
“Just not to panic because things were going left,” Cryer said. “At the end of the day, we still had the lead and control of the game, even though they were on their run. It was like, we just have to take care of the ball and finish the game.”
The Bears got off to a solid start, taking a 41-30 halftime lead. Baylor shot 56% (15 for 27 ) from the field in the first half, including 8 for 16 from 3-point range.
Oklahoma State dropped its fifth straight, and coach Mike Boynton says it is impossible for his team not to think about their need to finish the conference season with a win at Texas Tech and then win at the Big 12 Tournament to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament.
“We don’t dance around this stuff. We show them the standings. This is where we are, this is what we’ve done, this is what we have in front of us,” Boynton said. “If you’re a basketball player, that’s what you think about and you’re one of the teams that people are talking about being on the line. That’s why I don’t pretend that it’s not a real thing.”
Baylor: George will be evaluated again before the regular-season finale against Iowa State. He is averaging 16.3 points per game this season, which ranks fifth among freshmen in NCAA Division I. He has 12 games of 20 points or more this season.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys outrebounded the Bears 40-32 and enjoyed a 34-18 advantage in points in the paint. But the Cowboys went 5 for 9 at the line, compared to 17 for 20 for the Bears.
Baylor: Hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
Oklahoma State: Visits Texas Tech on Saturday.
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