On an emotional night at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys very nearly were successful in reprising the spoiler role they are going to continue to take on in this year’s Big 12 race.
Baylor trailed a good share of the way in Stillwater on Wednesday before taking the lead on two Rico Gathers free throws with 1:49 to play and hanging on for a 69-65 win at Oklahoma State. The Bears moved back into a tie with Oklahoma and West Virginia atop the Big 12, while the Cowboys fell just shy of duplicating their resounding win over Kansas just over a week earlier.
Baylor did just enough to win, but that’s all one can ask of a team on the road in conference play. Okie State had a good amount of success against the Bears’ 1-1-3 zone, shooting 50%, but also committed 16 turnovers. Taurean Prince scored 17 points, Gathers added 16 points and nine rebounds, and typically low-scoring Ishmail Wainright had a big hoop in the final minute when the Cowboys were still within a point.
The game was played on the 15th anniversary of a plane crash in Colorado that killed 10 people, eight of them associated with the OSU basketball program, including two players and six members of the team. In remembrance of those whose lives were lost, Oklahoma State wore uniforms similar to those it wore back at that time, the team also sported “Remember the Ten” warmups, and a moment of silence was held before the game.
The shots of the memorial outside Gallagher-Iba Arena were haunting, and it tugged at the heart to see the television shots of family members of some of the lost who were on hand at the game. Credit to Oklahoma State for continuing to keep the memory of those ten alive, and our thoughts were with the families on what is undoubtedly still a tough anniversary to remember.
- Arkansas has lost three overtime games this year and has had its share of close shaves, so the Razorbacks earned some good vibes such as their 74-71 win over Texas A&M. The Aggies lost for the first time in SEC play, and Kentucky is now just a game behind A&M after an 88-54 destruction of Missouri.
- Clemson does not look like a team that is going away. The Tigers handled Pittsburgh 73-60, beating the Panthers in almost every way, outshooting them, outrebounding them and playing more aggressively. Jared Blossomgame continues to star and scored 22 in this one.
- Purdue had what is at first glance a disturbingly hard time at Minnesota, holding off the Golden Gophers 68-64. The Boilermakers did have some good reasons-Caleb Swanigan did not play due to a sore ankle and Kendall Stephens also missed his second consecutive game due to the death of a friend. Road win in conference=take it.
- Colorado drained 13 three-pointers-10 of them from George King and Josh Fortune-in a 91-75 win over Stanford. The Buffs are now a somewhat-quiet 16-5 and are going to be hard to keep out of the NCAA Tournament, a designation that could apply to a lot of Pac-12 teams when all is said and done.
- Utah topped California 73-64 in another unsurprising home win for a Pac-12 team. The Golden Bears look destined to be on the bubble come Selection Sunday.
- Wichita State is beating Missouri Valley foes by an average of 21 points per game, including an 80-54 rout of Loyola Chicago Wednesday. Twelve players scored, no one more than Shaq Morris’s 12 points, and the bench accounted for 39 points. Look out.
- Saint Joseph’s is now 17-3 after beating Massachusetts 78-70. Cue the “SJU is gaming the RPI” nonsense any day now, as the resume still has just two top 100 wins (sorry, but consistently beating teams in the 100-200 range still counts when similar teams aren’t doing it) but we’ll find out plenty more about the Hawks by the end of the season.
- Just when you wanted to believe in Temple, the Owls lose at East Carolina 64-61. But give credit to Jeff Lebo’s Pirates, who also won at Memphis their last time out.
- The late night snack in the Mountain West saw UNLV come back-and then hold a late lead-to beat Boise State 87-77. Patrick McCaw returned to his early-season form with 25 points.
Tonight’s Menu: Whereas last night included few heavies, this evening’s slate has plenty of high-powered options.
- Before the season, Iowa at Maryland looked like a nice game, maybe even one between two future NCAA tourney teams. Now, it is a matchup of top 10 teams, and the Hawkeyes are surprisingly the higher-ranked team. (7 p.m. EST, ESPN)
- Couple big ones in the Northeast as Cincinnati is at Connecticut (7 p.m., ESPNU) and newly ranked Notre Dame goes to the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN2).
- The best Pac-12 offerings on this night have Oregon at Arizona (9 p.m., ESPN2) and Washington on the road at UCLA (10 p.m., FS1).
- Two of the three teams tied for first in the CAA meet as UNC Wilmington is at James Madison.
- Status as the top challenger to Wichita State in the MVC is on the line when Evansville plays at Southern Illinois. D.J. Balentine against Anthony Beane is an individual matchup that is hard to beat.
- UAB puts its 14-game winning streak on the line when it travels to Western Kentucky (7:30 p.m., FS1).
- Nebraska-Omaha leads the Summit League, but South Dakota State can pull into a tie if it can beat the Mavericks at home.
- Two of the best teams in the WAC get together with Cal State Bakersfield playing at Grand Canyon.
Enjoy your Thursday.