Saturday's Top 25: Butler's 22 lead No. 2 Baylor past Oklahoma State 81-66

Cliff Brunt
Associated Press

Stillwater, Okla. — Baylor’s depth and experience eventually overwhelmed an Oklahoma State team that was missing star freshman Cade Cunningham due to COVID-19 protocols.

Jared Butler scored 22 points, and the second-ranked Bears rallied from a halftime deficit to beat Oklahoma State 81-66 on Saturday.

Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) goes to the basket in front of Oklahoma State forward Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, rear, in the first half.

Cunningham, the Big 12 Conference’s leading scorer, hasn’t been practicing. He was cleared for activity on Saturday, but coach Mike Boynton said Cunningham wasn’t ready to play. Key reserve Rondel Walker also sat out with an arm injury, leaving Oklahoma State with eight players available.

The Cowboys still pushed the Bears, leading in the early minutes of the second half before Baylor took control. The Bears shot 53% after the break.

“That’s the difference in a player-led team, an experienced team,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “You have to feel what’s going wrong. And they knew defensively we weren’t as good as we normally are and rebounding, we weren’t as good as we normally were. So credit them for taking care of that.”

Mark Vital scored a career-high 19 points and Davion Mitchell had eight points and nine assists for Baylor (14-0, 7-0). Gonzaga also has started the season 14-0, making this the first time the preseason Nos. 1 and No. 2 each won their first 14 games of a season since the preseason poll began in 1961-62.

Kalib Boone scored a career-high 21 points and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State (9-4, 3-4).

It was a quality effort for roughly 30 minutes for Oklahoma State.

“There’s no doubt that part of it is we were gassed,” Boynton said. “We weren’t able to sustain it. That’s not an excuse, it’s reality.”

The Cowboys looked ready to perhaps follow their upset win against Kansas on Jan. 12 with an even bigger stunner. A dunk by Boone on a lob from Moncrieffe gave the Cowboys a 21-17 lead, causing Drew to call a timeout.

A 3-pointer by Bryce Williams put the Cowboys up 26-20, and another 3 by Williams minutes later pushed Oklahoma State’s lead to 34-25.

The Cowboys, paced by Boone’s 11 points, led 36-32 at the half. 

Baylor tied the game at 36 on a layup by Vital in the first minute of the second half, and a 3-pointer by Butler put the Bears up 39-38.

Three consecutive 3s by Butler in a 75-second span put the Bears up 63-51, and they controlled the game from there.

“Man, he’s ridiculous,” Mitchell said of Butler. “He can really play the game of basketball. He’s not cocky with it. He loves playing with us. And when he was making those shots, he was telling us ‘good pass.’ It’s just like, he didn’t really care about himself. He cared about his teammates playing.”

More Top 25

(At) No. 1 Gonzaga 95, Pacific 49: Drew Timme scored 22 points and freshman Jalen Suggs came close to a triple-double, helping top-ranked Gonzaga to its 19th consecutive victory dating to last season.

Corey Kispert had 16 points, and Joel Ayayi added 12 for Gonzaga (15-0, 6-0 West Coast Conference), which won its 47th consecutive home game – the longest streak in the nation. Suggs finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Daniss Jenkins scored 17 points for Pacific (5-3, 2-2), which tried to play its slowdown game but was undone by poor shooting.

Gonzaga shot 49% while Pacific made just 27.9% of its attempts, including 2 of 16 from 3-point range.

Timme scored 11 points as Gonzaga jumped to a 26-5 lead in less than eight minutes. Pacific made only two of its first 14 shots, while Gonzaga shot 60% in that span.

►(At) No. 3 Villanova 71, Providence 56: Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore scored 15 points apiece and Villanova beat Providence for its eighth straight victory.

Caleb Daniels added 12 points and Jermaine Samuels had 10 for Villanova (10-1, 5-0 Big East).

Alyn Breed scored 18 points for Providence (8-7, 4-5).

Villanova was back on the court for just the second time since Dec. 23 due to multiple COVID-19 stoppages. The Wildcats eked out a 76-74 home win over Seton Hall in their return Tuesday.

►No. 19 Missouri 73, (at) No. 6 Tennessee 64: Xavier Pinson scored 27 points to lead Missouri past Tennessee.

Pinson became the first opponent to score more than 20 points against the Volunteers this season. Dru Smith added 18 for the Tigers (10-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference).

Yves Pons led Tennessee (10-3, 4-3) with 20 points. Victor Bailey and Josiah-Jordan James each scored 12 points.

►No. 8 Houston 68, (at) Temple 51: Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes each scored 15 points and Houston rolled to its sixth straight victory, beating Temple.

The Cougars (13-1, 8-1 American Athletic Conference) also beat the Owls on Dec. 22. Grimes and Sasser hit consecutive early 3s to build a 19-point lead. Jake Forrester led the Owls (3-4, 2-4) with 15 points, and Khalif Battle had 14. 

►(At) Oklahoma 75, No. 9 Kansas 68: De’Vion Harmon scored 22 points and Oklahoma beat Kansas for its second victory of the month over a Top 10 opponent.

Oklahoma (9-4, 5-3 Big 12) has won three of its last four games against Kansas (10-5, 4-4) in Norman and is 8-1 at home this season – including a victory over then-No. 9 West Virginia on Jan. 2.

Coming off losses at Oklahoma State and No. 2 Baylor, Kansas has lost three straight games for the first time since February 2013. Marcus Garrett had 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jayhawks.

►(At) No. 11 Creighton 74, No. 23 UConn 66: Denzel Mahoney scored 20 points and Creighton broke open a close game in the last 10 minutes to beat Connecticut.

The Bluejays (11-4, 7-3 Big East) shot 58% in the second half to avoid their first three-game losing streak since February 2019. Mahoney made 8 of 14 shots from the field.

R.J. Cole scored 14 points for UConn (7-3, 4-3).

►(At) No. 13 Virginia 64, Georgia Tech 62: Sam Hauser scored 11 of his 22 points during a 15-2 second-half run and Virginia survived a scare before rallying to beat Georgia Tech.

Kihei Clark scored only two points for Virginia (10-2, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), but they came on a short jumper with 1:09 left that broke a 62-all tie.

Jose Alvarado scored 20 points and had eight assists, and Jordan Usher scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half for the Yellow Jackets (7-4, 3-2). They had their five-game winning streak snapped.

►No. 14 West Virginia 79, (at) Kansas State 47: Miles McBride scored 18 points to help West Virginia beat Kansas State in the Mountaineers’ first game in two weeks because of COVID-19 protocols..

Jalen Bridges added 12 points and Taz Sherman had 10 for West Virginia (10-4, 3-3 Big 12).

Mike McGuirl led Kansas State (5-11, 1-7) with 15 points The Wildcats had 28 turnovers, the most by a Big 12 team this season and the most in a game under coach Bruce Weber.

►(At) Syracuse 78, No. 16 Virginia Tech 60: Quincy Guerrier had 20 points, Marek Doelzaj added 18 and Alan Griffin had 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks to help Syracuse beat Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech closed to 47-44 on a lay-in by David N’Guessan with 13:45 to go, then Syracuse (9-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) outscored the Hokies 31-9 to build its biggest lead of the game at 78-53. 

Nahiem Alleyne led the Hokies (11-3, 5-2) with 20 points.

►(At) Florida State 80, No. 20 Clemson 61: Balsa Koprivica had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Florida State pulled away early to rout Clemson for its fourth straight victory.

Sardaar Calhoun added a career-best 13 points for Florida State (9-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). He made 4 of 5 3-pointers.

John Newman III scored 12 points for Clemson (9-4, 3-4).

Oregon State 73, (at) No. 21 Oregon 61: Ethan Thompson scored 19 points, Warith Alatishe had 14 points and 16 rebounds and Oregon State beat Oregon.

Jarod Lucas added 13 points, and the Beavers (8-5, 4-3 Pac-12) had a 43-23 rebounding edge en route to their third straight victory.

Thompson, a senior guard, joined Gary Payton as the only players in school history with at least 1,400 points and 400 assists. He was 3-for-11 from the field, but made 12 of 14 free throws

Eugene Omoruyi had 15 points and nine rebounds for Oregon (9-3, 4-2), playing without four projected starters. Freshman guard Jalen Terry had 13 points.

(At) Stanford 73, No. 24 UCLA 72, OT: Oscar da Silva scored off an inbound pass as time expired in overtime to lift Stanford over UCLA, ending the Bruins’ unbeaten streak in the Pac-12.

Da Silva finished with 26 points, the last coming on a layup off a set piece with 0.8 seconds remaining. Da Silva cut down the lane, received Michael O’Connell’s feed from under the basket and banked the winning shot in with his left hand.

Jaiden Dalaire added 19 points for the Cardinal (9-5, 5-3 Pac-12) . Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 27 points for the Bruins (12-3, 8-1).