Saturday's college basketball: No. 1 Baylor hands No. 8 Iowa State first loss
Ames, Iowa – Baylor has a new cast of players, but its depth and defense showed up as usual in one of the most anticipated games of the season so far.
James Akinjo scored 16 points, LJ Cryer had 10 of his 13 in the second half, and the top-ranked Bears beat No. 8 Iowa State 77-72 on Saturday for the Cyclones’ first loss.
Baylor (13-0, 1-0 Big 12) never trailed in only the fourth Division I matchup of 12-0 teams in 40 years and the first game between top-10 teams at Hilton Coliseum since 2014.
The defending national champions got the tough game they expected and had to overcome 19 turnovers and foul trouble.
“First and foremost, it shows we have a great rotation,” coach Scott Drew said. “Different people stepped up at different times, and you need that because not everybody has great shooting nights and great games.”
The defending national champion Bears extended their win streak to 19 games and are among three remaining unbeaten teams. Southern California and Colorado State are the others.
Tristan Enaruna scored a career-high 23 points for the Cyclones (12-1, 0-1), who were off to the second-best start in program history under first-year coach T.J. Otzelberger after winning two games last season.
The Cyclones managed to turn in a game effort on a day they shot 1 of 14 on 3-pointers and Gabe Kalscheur, their second-leading scorer for the season, was held without a point and committed six of the Cyclones’ 17 turnovers.
“The areas we talk about after every game, when they show up to the best of our ability, I don’t think anybody can beat us,” Otzelberger said. “Our ball pressure wasn’t at the level it needed to be, we got outrebounded and our ball toughness wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Izaiah Brockington added 18 points for the Cyclones, who dropped their 24th straight Big 12 game, the longest conference losing streak among Power Five teams.
“We understood the magnitude of the game,” Otzelberger said. “What I’m more interested in with our group is how we respond, how we bounce back, how we come to the practice floor, how intentional we are and how excited we are to continue improving and getting better.”
Baylor was up 41-33 at halftime and built its lead to 14 points in the second half. The Cyclones wouldn’t fold, cutting it to five points three times in the last three minutes.
“It was really loud,” Carr said. “Every time they made a big play, you could barely hear yourself talk. It was really energetic in the building.”
The Bears had to get creative when big men Flo Thamba and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua got into foul trouble. Forwards Jeremy Sochan and Kendall Brown each played some center for the first time this season. Sochan had seven rebounds to go with his 12 points, and Brown had five boards.
Adam Flagler and Akinjo each hit a pair of free throws in the last 30 seconds to hold off the Cyclones and send Baylor to a ninth straight win against a top-10 opponent.
“Big 12 road games are very tough and very hard to win, and whenever you get one you’re blessed,” Drew said. “We could have executed better down the stretch, but other than that couldn’t be more pleased.”
More Top 25
►No. 22 Villanove 73, (at) No. 15 Seton Hall 67: Justin Moore hit a go-ahead jumper with 1:36 to play and Villanova beat short-handed but gutsy Seton Hall.
Collin Gillespie scored 21 points, Brandon Slater added 17 and Moore had 13 for the Wildcats (9-4, 2-1 Big East). Jermaine Samuels added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Villanova, which dominated the boards 42-28 with Seton Hall missing two key big men because of COVID-19.
Backup guard Bryce Aiken had 22 points to lead Seton Hall, which has lost the last two games playing with only eight players because of COVID-19 issues. Jared Rhoden added 13 points and Jamir Harris had 12, all on 3-pointers, for Pirates (9-3, 0-2).
►(At) No. 6 Kansas 76, George Mason 67: Jalen Coleman-Lands came off the bench to hit five 3-pointers and score 20 points, reserve Mitch Lightfoot added 14 points, and Kansas held off George Mason.
The game was put together earlier this week when Kansas had its Big 12 opener against TCU postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. George Mason was willing to play anywhere after it had four straight games canceled or postponed.
The Patriots were up for the challenge. Kansas led 66-61 with 3 minutes left when Christian Braun rattled in a 3-pointer to extend the lead. George Mason came up empty on its next two possessions, and Ochai Agbaji converted a three-point play with 1:48 to go to put the game out of reach.
Braun finished with 14 points and Agbaji had 11 for the Jayhawks (11-1), who never led by more than 12.
D’Shawn Schwartz had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Davonte Gaines also scored 15 for George Mason (7-6).
Saturday's Big Ten
►(At) Rutgers 79, Central Connecticut 48: Clifford Omoruyi had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Rutgers built a 45-point lead early in the second half. The Scarlet Knights led 44-14 at halftime then went on a 20-5 run to open the second half before weary Central Connecticut found any consistency on offense.
Geo Baker scored 11 points for Rutgers (7-5) and had seven of the Scarlet Knights’ 25 assists. Paul Mulcahy had eight points and eight assists. Backup forward Aundre Hyatt had nine points and nine rebounds.
Rutgers opened the game with a 15-3 run and closed the first half with a 15-0 run for its 44-14 lead. Central Connecticut shot 14% in the first half and made only one 2-point field goal.
Stephane Ayangma had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (4-11). Joe Ostrowsky also scored 12 points.
Central Connecticut finished at 27% shooting. Rutgers shot 50% and had a 49-31 rebounding advantage.
Rutgers was playing just its third game since upsetting then-No. 1 Purdue on Dec. 9. The Scarlet Knights originally scheduled Central Connecticut on Dec. 23 but had to reschedule due to COVID protocols in the Rutgers program. The new game day meant the Blue Devils had to play on back-to-back days after defeating St. Francis (New York) on Friday.
Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell was an assistant coach at CCSU from 1997-2001.