Jared Butler scored 22 points and No. 3 Baylor, fresh off clinching its first Big 12 title on the road two days earlier, beat No. 17 Oklahoma State 81-70 on Thursday to end the Cowboys’ five-game winning streak.
The Bears (20-1, 12-1 Big 12) seem to have their legs back under them after a three-week stretch without any games because of COVID-19 issues in the program. Their fourth game in 10 days came after winning in overtime at No. 6 West Virginia on Tuesday night for the school’s first league title since 1950 in the Southwest Conference.
Matthew Mayer and MaCio Teague both added 19 points for the Bears, and Davion Mitchell had 12. Mayer had two baskets in a 9-0 run midway through the first half that put them ahead to stay.
Freshman standout and Big 12 leading scorer Cade Cunningham had 24 points and Kalib Boone 10 for Oklahoma State (17-7, 10-7), whose winning streak was the longest active in the Big 12. The last three wins had been against Top 25 teams, including over Bedlam rival No. 16 Oklahoma twice in three days.
Cunningham was moving gingerly when he left the court with help in the final minute after colliding with Mitchell, who was called for the foul — before Oklahoma State was in the bonus.
Teague missed a free throw for Baylor with 5:43 left, but Cunningham then had a turnover. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua got the steal, then Butler passed to Teague, who weaved through traffic inside for a layup. Teague then had a steal that led to a 3-pointer by Butler that pushed the lead to 69-60 with five minutes left.
The Bears never trailed after a dunk by Tchamwa Tchatchoua put them up 16-15 with 13 minutes left in the first half. That came right after Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe had a dunk for Oklahoma State, prompting a timeout by Baylor coach Scott Drew.
The Cowboys waisted a chance to go back in front when Rondel Walker missed a layup after a nifty pass from Cunningham, and Adam Flagler’s jumper extended Baylor’s go-ahead run.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys shot 53.8% (28 of 52) but were undone by 18 turnovers that led to 26 points for Baylor. They are in a brutal stretch of five consecutive games against ranked teams and played Baylor tough for the second time this season. Oklahoma State was without guard Isaac Likekele (hand) for the fifth time in six games.
Baylor: In their first game back on Feb. 23 at home, the Bears had to rally in the second half for a 77-72 win over Iowa State, which is still winless in the Big 12. Baylor then suffered a 13-point loss at No. 13 Kansas before the two wins the last three days. After only three 20-win seasons in its first 100 seasons of basketball, Baylor reached 20 wins for the 12th time in the past 14 seasons.
Oklahoma State finishes the regular season Saturday at No. 6 West Virginia.
Baylor is home against No. 18 Texas Tech on Sunday.