OSU's Keiton Page (12) and Marek Soucek (14) get tied up with Quincy Acy (4) of Baylor in the first half of a men's college basketball game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and the Baylor University Bears at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
We could have made so many different excuses for this game, but our guys laid it on the line.
“I wouldn't say we played particularly well, but we played particularly hard.”
This one was much different than the game in Waco, with the Cowboys playing better defensively and with more grit inside against the taller Bears. After stinging OSU with 15 3-pointers in the first meeting, Baylor made just 4-of-19 from the arc in Gallagher-Iba.
And while the Bears outrebounded the Cowboys again, the margin shrunk from a 23-board margin to 10.
Still, not good enough.
“Very proud of them,” Ford said. “Very proud of their effort.
“But very disappointed we didn't pull it out.”
OSU trailed by double digits early, with Baylor owning its biggest lead at 12 points barely halfway into the period. But the Cowboys cut it to 37-29 by halftime, then used a 10-2 run to open the second half to pull even, 39-39.
And when Page fired in his 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining, an upset was suddenly imaginable.
But playmaking point guard Pierre Jackson drove the lane and dished to Acy for an easy basket, sending Baylor back in front. And the Cowboys were out of haymakers, with Page missing 3s on consecutive trips and Bears free throws more than enough to offset Brown's 3-pointer with :09 remaining.
And when Baylor did miss from the foul line, with Brady Heslip off on the front end of a one-and-one with :06.9 showing, Acy grabbed the offensive rebound, setting up two more made free throws.
“I felt like we played extremely hard,” Page said. “We did a lot of the right things and made steps in the right direction. Late in the game we didn't make a few big plays like we needed.”