Baylor came up just shy of pulling even with Kansas State atop the Big 12 standings Saturday as a shorthanded Bears squad fell 70-63 to the Wildcats. With four projected starters out of action, Baylor will look to get back in the win column when it hosts Oklahoma on Monday night.
"I thought our effort was good enough to win (Saturday), our execution wasn't," Bears coach Scott Drew told reporters after his team lost consecutive games for the first time this season. "We'll control what we control. I love how our team competes, love how they fight for each other." Baylor had won six straight before its 0-2 week, which included handing Oklahoma its largest home defeat since 1963 in a dominant 77-47 victory on Jan. 28. That blowout loss to the Bears was the first of four straight the Sooners have endured, with their most recent coming Saturday during a 66-54 setback against No. 18 Texas Tech. "We just have to find a way to get back to what was leading us to success," Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle told the media. "But until then, the same thing is going to keep happening. If we don't play hard we're going to lose because everybody in the Big 12 is physical and they take pride in doing the right thing and all the little things as well."
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ABOUT OKLAHOMA (15-9, 3-8 Big 12): Rashard Odomes provided an efficient 18 minutes off the bench Saturday as the senior hit all five of field goals en route to a team-high 14 points. Brady Manek scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds against the Red Raiders - his first double-double since the conference opener against Kansas. Outside of a 17-point performance on Feb. 2 against West Virginia, starting guard Aaron Calixte has combined to score just eight points on 8.7 percent shooting (2-for-23) over his last four conference games.
ABOUT BAYLOR (15-8, 6-4): In the nine games since Tristan Clark's season-ending knee injury, freshman Flo Thamba and junior Freddie Gillespie have combined for 9.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 31.8 minutes per game after the pair averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.8 minutes when Clark was healthy. Gillespie started his first game since Nov. 12 on Saturday and made the most of it by posting career-highs of 13 points, nine rebounds and 31 minutes played. The Bears still lead the Big 12 during league play with a 38.6 shooting percentage from 3-point range, despite a 25 percent showing (6-for-24) during Saturday's loss to Kansas State.
1. The Sooners lead the all-time series 45-16, but have lost four of the last five meetings.
2. Baylor F Mark Vital is the only player in the country with the same number of offensive and defensive rebounds (81).
3. Oklahoma will be without its top shot blocker, senior Jamuni McNeace (1.1 blocks per game), who will miss his second straight contest Monday with an ankle injury.
PREDICTION: Baylor 79, Oklahoma 68 Bet Now
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