MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OSU

February 18, 2014

Baylor hands Smart-less OSU its seventh straight loss

WACO, Texas — Cory Jefferson scored 25 points and Baylor overcame a buzzer-beater that forced overtime to hand Oklahoma State its seventh straight loss with a 70-64 victory Monday night in the Cowboys’ last of three games without suspended guard Marcus Smart.

The Bears (17-9, 5-8 Big 12) won in overtime at home for the second time in three days. Baylor’s Brady Heslip hit a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation in a double-overtime victory against Kansas State on Saturday.

The Cowboys (16-10, 4-9) can finish no better than .500 in conference but will get Smart back from his three-game suspension for pushing a heckling fan late in a loss at Texas Tech. He returns Saturday at home in the rematch with the Red Raiders.

Markel Brown and Phil Brown tried to make for Smart’s absence. Brown scored 26 points and Forte, Smart’s high school teammate in the Dallas area, added 20.

Isaiah Austin had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Bears, who won for the fourth time in six games in a run that started with a win at Oklahoma State that snapped a five-game skid.

This was supposed to be a high-profile Monday matchup between a pair of teams that were 12-1 and ranked in the top 10 nationally when Big 12 play started. Instead, it was a battle for postseason survival, and it played out that way.

Baylor, which trailed by 10 early in the second half, went ahead 56-55 on a dunk by Jefferson after a missed free throw by Austin and was up by three and had the ball with 3.5 seconds left.

But Gary Franklin’s inbound pass was intercepted by Leyton Hammonds, who dribbled around a defender and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime at 58-all.

Jefferson, who also had a game-high 13 rebounds, made a 3-pointer from the left wing to start overtime and put Baylor ahead for good.

The Bears missed some free throws in overtime to give the Cowboys a chance to stay close, and they got within two on a 3-pointer by Brown. But Kenny Chery made a driving layup for a four-point lead with less a minute left, and Brown missed a 3 at the other end.

The Cowboys went up 10 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Forte, who was scoreless in a home loss to Baylor earlier in the month. The Bears rallied and went ahead on a dunk by Isaiah Austin with 5 minutes remaining.

Forte put Oklahoma State ahead 55-54 on a 3-pointer, but Hammonds’ tying shot was the only basket for the Cowboys in the final 3 minutes of regulation and the first 3 1/2 minutes of overtime.

Brown and Forte were the only Oklahoma State players with more than six points.

Baylor shot 38 percent but stayed close in regulation with a huge edge in offensive rebounding and some tenacious defense that included consecutive shot-clock violations by the Cowboys, who shot just 37 percent.

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