STILLWATER — The Cowboys vowed to be better, no, guaranteed to be better against Baylor.
And they delivered Saturday.
To a point.
In the end, it was still unsatisfying, with Oklahoma State falling 64-60 after leading ever so briefly late, before the No. 6-ranked Bears recovered and finished off a sweep of the regular-season series.
“I wish we would play them one more time so we can get the win,” said OSU guard Brian Williams, who scored a career- and game-high 23 points. “They beat us by 41 last time and we didn't play our best ball. We didn't play our best ball tonight, but the effort was there, so I felt good about this one.
“I thought we would win it.”
So did an increasingly energized crowd of some 9,000 at Gallagher-Iba Arena, when the Cowboys rallied from nine down to pull ahead 57-56 on Keiton Page's 3-pointer from the wing with 1:42 remaining.
The feel-good moment lasted just 13 seconds — the only span in which the Cowboys led all afternoon — as Quincy Acy answered with a lay-in at the other end and the Bears made six of seven free throws down the stretch to hold on.
OSU fell to 11-12 overall and 4-6 in the Big 12, while Baylor moved to 21-2 and 8-2.
For OSU, reduced to an available roster of six full-time scholarship players, plus former walk-on Christien Sager, it was a bold effort.
Page and Michael Cobbins played all 40 minutes, with Cobbins throwing up from fatigue behind the Cowboys’ bench during one late timeout. Williams played 39 minutes. Brown and Le'Bryan Nash were strapped with four fouls for a good portion of the second half.
It was hardly an ideal scenario against a Baylor team that had popped OSU with one of the worst beatings in program history, 106-65, just three weeks earlier. And Philip Jurick and Cezar Guerrero were around for that one.
“Very proud of the effort our team put into it,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “We couldn't have played any harder. Our guys left it on the court.
Saturday's box score: Baylor 64, Oklahoma State 60