Oklahoma State beats No. 22 Baylor 82-75
By MURRAY EVANS,
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) James Anderson’s nickname, “Big Game James,” shows how much Oklahoma State relies on its junior star. The Cowboys did so again Saturday, and this time, he even had some help.
Anderson matched his season high with 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, while diminutive guard Keiton Page continued his hot streak with 22 points, allowing Oklahoma State to start a four-game stretch against ranked teams by beating No. 22 Baylor 82-75.
Both Anderson and Page went 5 of 8 from 3-point range as Oklahoma State (19-7, 7-5 Big 12) matched its season high for 3s, finishing 14 of 25. The Cowboys have made 10 or more 3-pointers in their last three games, all victories.
“We just took the shots that were there,” Anderson said. “… We shoot a lot of 3s and if they’re there, we’re going to take them.”
Lately, they have been going in, a trend Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford undoubtedly hopes continues during the Cowboys’ next three games, at No. 15 Texas, at home against top-ranked Kansas and at No. 24 Texas A&M.
Ford said he thought beating Baylor (20-6, 7-5) should move his team off the NCAA tournament bubble but acknowledged the late-season run of games against conference powers is critical for the Cowboys.
“This was a big win because it was against a good team and its mid- to late February,” Ford said.
“We’ve got the youngest team in the league. I’m proud of our team for getting to this point and I hope we’ve got some left in us.”
The 5-foot-9 Page made three 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the first 4 1/2 minutes. Anderson then heated up, with his third 3-pointer putting the Cowboys ahead 28-14 less than 10 minutes into the game.
Baylor rallied and took the lead four times, but never by more than two points. The Bears finished 12 of 22 from 3-point range but never gained traction because Oklahoma State kept hitting shots, Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
“The shooters made shots, so credit them,” Drew said. “Obviously, you always want to feel a little better defensively, but they made some tough shots. … We had a hand up in several of those shots. That’s why James Anderson is a pro.”
Page has averaged 20 points over the last four games. He said Ford has told the Cowboys not to concentrate on talk about their NCAA tournament hopes, although it’s hard to avoid, especially as the regular season nears its end.
“Definitely this is a huge stretch and we’re playing our best basketball right now,” Page said. “We’re aware of how important these next couple of games are.”
Tweety Carter went 7 of 12 from 3-point range – hitting three from long range in the final 2 minutes – and scored 25 points for Baylor, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Bears had won four of their past six meetings against Oklahoma State.
“They played their best ball tonight,” Carter said of the Cowboys. “They knocked down some shots that some nights they won’t make.”
Anderson, the conference’s leading scorer, gave the Cowboys the lead for good at 60-59 with two free throws with 7:11 left. With Oklahoma State up 65-63, Obi Muonelo hit a 3-pointer and assisted on a basket by Matt Pilgrim as part of a 7-2 run that gave the Cowboys a 72-65 lead with 3:17 left.
Carter’s 3-pointer pulled Baylor within 75-69 with 1:52 left, but Pilgrim jammed home a miss by Anderson at the other end with 1:23 left.
Carter, who matched his career high for 3-pointers, hit two more from behind the arc, but Anderson responded both times by making two free throws.
Ford said Anderson, who guarded four different players at different points of the game, played one his best all-around games of the season.
“He scored like we know he can score,” Ford said. “He had his first double-double he’s had in a while. He rebounded the ball extremely well. Then we had to put him on … some bigger guys and he did a great job defending different guys.
“James just competed the whole game. He stayed focused. He stayed in that area where he knew that, ‘Hey, I’m one of the best players in this league and I’m going to affect this game in a lot of ways, not just scoring.'”
LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor’s leading scorer, missed a good part of the second half because of foul trouble. He finished with 14 points but had four 3-pointers to give him 269 for his career, breaking the school record held by Aundre Branch.
Pilgrim had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State.
Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh, of Edmond, Okla., went 3 of 15 from the field, finishing with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Muonelo, Udoh’s high school teammate, had 11 points and six assists.
Quincy Acy added 11 points for Baylor.
Updated February 20, 2010