Heslip carries Baylor past No. 8 Oklahoma State
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Baylor finally got one.
Brady Heslip scored a season-high 20 points to help the Bears beat No. 8 Oklahoma State 76-70 on Saturday and end a five-game losing streak.
Rico Gathers scored 14 points, Cory Jefferson had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Gary Franklin added 11 points for Baylor (14-7, 2-6 Big 12).
Things didn't look good for the Bears heading into the game. Baylor had scored fewer than 70 points in four straight contests and starting point guard Kenny Chery was ruled out before tip-off with a foot injury. Baylor somehow shot 52 percent from the field against OSU and outrebounded the Cowboys 32-26.
"It was a big win for us," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We needed a win. We've played well enough to win a couple games, and we haven't. And that's because the Big 12 is a great conference, and the margin for error is small. As a coach, I'm just pleased that the guys have stayed together."
Markel Brown scored 24 points and made 6 of 8 3-pointers and Le'Bryan Nash scored 19 points for Oklahoma State (16-5, 4-4). Marcus Smart added 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Cowboys, but he made just 3 of 14 field goals.
Oklahoma State had rallied from a nine-point deficit to take the lead in the final five minutes before Franklin, who had scored just two points all game, drained three contested 3-pointers in just under three minutes to put Baylor in control.
"They were good looks, and they were late in the shot clock," Franklin said. "They were blowing ball screens, so when I came off, I was pretty free. And then a big would step up, and I would just try to make a move to make him put his hands down, and I would let off a shot."
After the third triple, Royce O'Neal stole the ball and took it in for a dunk to give Baylor a 74-67 edge with 37 seconds to play.
Oklahoma State is in danger of falling into a tailspin. The Cowboys lost to rival Oklahoma 88-76 this past Monday night and hosts Iowa State on Monday.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves, because it won't do any good," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "We have to weather the storm. These are tough times. Everyone goes through them. How we respond is important. For us to have success, we need to recover as a team. If we continue to play like individuals, we will continue to struggle."
Baylor led 21-15 in the first half before Brown hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give the Cowboys a jolt. Kamari Murphy, who averages 5.8 points per game, scored three baskets in 2:20 to help the Cowboys tie the score at 27.
Gathers converted a 3-point play, then dunked to give Baylor a 32-29 edge. Oklahoma State had a chance to take the lead at halftime, but Smart was called for his second foul on a post-up with 3.9 seconds left in the first half, and Baylor led 32-31 at the break. Oklahoma State shot 52 percent in the first half but was outrebounded 17-12, missed four of nine free throws and committed nine turnovers.
The Cowboys finally took the lead on a pair of free throws by Brian Williams in the opening minutes of the second half, but Baylor gained it right back on a 3-point play by Austin.
Smart bounced the ball off a player's back while inbounding, caught it, then scored and was fouled. The free throw gave the Cowboys a 41-40 lead.
Baylor responded with a 6-0 run, including two baskets by Jefferson, to take a 46-41 lead, and the Bears extended that edge to 55-46 on a baseline jumper by Jefferson with just over 10 minutes to play.
Oklahoma State continued to battle. Smart stole the ball and went for a layup, but Baylor's 6-foot-8, 270-pound Gathers hit him hard on the way to the hoop and was called for a Flagrant 1 foul. Smart made both free throws with 7:09 remaining to cut the Bears' lead to two, then on the extra possession, Smart found Brown on a lob for a two-handed dunk to tie the score at 57. Smart finally gave the Cowboys a 64-63 lead on two free throws with just over four minutes to play.
From there, Baylor took control and shifted its focus to the future.
"We put the other games behind us," Heslip said. "We're not thinking about those. It's not like we ended a five-game losing streak, we were just on a one-game losing streak. Now we're on a one-game winning streak. So, we're just thinking about the next game now."