George, Flagler lead No. 14 Baylor over Oklahoma 82-72

Feb 8, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears guard Keyonte George (1) drives to the basket against Oklahoma Sooners forward Jalen Hill (1) during the first half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

George, Flagler lead No. 14 Baylor over Oklahoma 82-72

No. 14 Baylor 82, Oklahoma 72 

The 14th-ranked Baylor Bears (18-6, 7-4 Big 12) picked up a key 82-72 Big 12 win over the Oklahoma Sooners (12-12, 2-9 Big 12) Wednesday night in Waco. The win completes a sweep for Baylor over Oklahoma, who they also defeated 62-60 on the road on Jan. 21 thanks to a late Jalen Bridges 3-pointer. 

At 7-4 in conference play, the Bears trail only Texas atop the Big 12 and are tied with Iowa State, Kansas State, and Kansas. The win is Baylor’s eighth in its last nine games, making its 0-3 start to Big 12 play feel like a distant memory. 

Guards Keyonte George and Adam Flagler led the way with 23 and 20 points respectively, combining to score more than half of Baylor’s total. Freshman Langston Love added 19 off the bench, making seven of his nine shots. 

The scoring started fast in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Ferrell Center, as the Bears and Sooners combined to make their first four consecutive shots. Baylor began the game making three of its first four 3-pointers, and five of its first seven shots en route to a 13-9 lead at the first half under-16 media timeout. 

Baylor extended its lead to seven at the 12-minute mark of the first half on a layup by freshman Keyonte George, who scored 10 of the Bears’ first 21 points. When the game arrived at the under-8 media timeout of the first half, both teams were making more than 50% of their shots as Baylor led 27-23. 

The Bears would eventually cool off significantly, especially from the 3-point line. Baylor followed its 3-for-4 start with a stretch that saw it make just one of seven, but managed to maintain a lead regardless. Eventually, Oklahoma cooled off as well – and as the Sooners missed five consecutive shots in the half’s final few minutes, Baylor extended its largest lead of the night to 39-30. 

Arguably Oklahoma’s most important moment of the first half came at the buzzer, when Milos Uzan’s 3-pointer from close to halfcourt pulled the Sooners to within six at halftime, trailing 41-35. Oklahoma’s 35 first half points matched the most the Sooners had scored in the opening half of a Big 12 game this season. 

Keyonte George’s huge 15-point first half paced Baylor at the break, while fellow freshman Langston Love scored 10 off the bench without missing a shot. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, playing just his second game of the season for Baylor after returning from an injury that held him out almost an entire calendar year, came up scoreless in nine minutes of playing time before halftime while committing three fouls. 

Baylor began the second half missing one of its key cogs in the backcourt, as L.J. Cryer was being held out for an apparent leg injury. Keyonte George picked up where he’d left off as the second half began, though, scoring four quick points to help the Bears hold on to a 47-42 lead with 15:56 to go. 

Oklahoma, which had not led since the opening moments of the game, continued to give the Bears all they could handle. After Joe Bamisile’s layup with 14:37 to go, the Sooners trailed by just a point. Moments later, Tanner Groves fought down low for a second-chance layup that made it 48-47 in favor of Oklahoma – the Sooners’ first lead since 53 seconds into the game. As it turned out, the one-point lead was also Oklahoma’s last. 

Baylor responded with a gritty 6-0 run behind several offensive rebounds and a 3-pointer by Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua for his first points of the night, retaking a five-point lead. Tchamwa Tchatchoua made his second shot from long range just a few minutes later, giving him six second half points as the big man continued to showcase a shot few outside Baylor’s program knew he could make. 

Oklahoma did not relent, refusing to allow the Bears to extend their lead to double digits as the game moved into the final four minutes – but Baylor never stopped executing at a high level. The Bears ended the night with just 7 turnovers, a significant improvement over their season average of 12.2 per game. 

Baylor earned its first double-digit lead of the night with 50 seconds left as Keyonte George converted two free throws to make it 79-68. It was all academic from there, as Baylor made free throws and picked up defensive stops late en route to an 82-72 home win. 

While Keyonte George dominated the first half with 15 points, Adam Flagler took over with 14 second half points for Baylor as George’s shooting touch cooled off. Between George, Flagler, and Love, three guards scored 62 of Baylor’s 82 points. 

The Sooners and Bears drew even with 34 rebounds apiece, but Baylor forced 14 Oklahoma turnovers and made 19 of 26 free throws. Grant Sherfield led four Sooners in double figures with 15. 

Baylor next travels to a challenging environment on the road at No. 17 TCU Saturday afternoon. 

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