Oklahoma basketball: Sooners come oh so close, but lose 61-57 to No. 1 Baylor

NORMAN, OK - MARCH 1: Lester Medford
NORMAN, OK - MARCH 1: Lester Medford /

Oklahoma basketball came closer than five other Big 12 teams of beating No. 1 Baylor, but fell four short, losing 61-57 in the Bears’ first home game in their history as the country’s top-ranked team.

Trailing 59-57 with under 15 seconds to go and the ball in hand, the Sooners had a chance to win the game, but a three-ball by OU’s Austin Reaves bou,nded off the rim and rebounded by Baylor’s Devonte Bandoo to preserve the win for the Big 12 leaders. Bandoo was fouled immediately by the Sooners’ Kristian Doolittle and closed out the victory with a pair of free throws at the other end.

Brady Manek had another terrific shooting game, leading the Sooners with 21 points and four-of-eight from three-point range, including a clutch three-ball that brought Oklahoma within two points late with 41 seconds left in the game. Manek also grabbed 10 rebounds and contributed four steals.

No other Sooner scored in double figures.

MaCio Teague delivered a team-high 16 points for Baylor. His 16 points, along with 13 by Davion Mitchell and a dozen by Freddie Gillespie, accounted for 41 of the Bears’ 61 total points.

Oklahoma’s only lead in the game was 14-13 at the 11:47 mark in the opening half.

As suffocating as the Baylor defense was, Oklahoma actually had a better shooting percentage (34.9 percent) than the Bears (34.9), but Baylor owned the boards, pulling down 10 more rebounds than the Sooners, including 18 offensive rebounds that kept plays alive and led to a number of second-chance points that proved to be the big difference in the game.

Perhaps the biggest play in the game came with 6:33 to go in the second half. Manek appeared to have made a three-point shot at the same time Baylor’s Mark Vital was whistled for a foul. The initial ruling on the floor was that the foul had occurred while Manek was in the act of shooting, which by rule would have counted the three points by Manek, making it 53-47 in favor of Baylor and awarded Oklahoma the ball out of bounds as a result of the personal foul away from the ball.

The referees went to the monitor at the scorer’s table to review the play, however, and ended up overturning the call on the floor, which took away the three-points from the Sooners. In retrospect, things might have turned out differently for Oklahoma had the play been allowed to stand.

Baylor improved to 16-1 on the season, 6-0 in the Big 12, while Oklahoma dropped to 12-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play.