WACO, Texas – Jared Butler and No. 3 Baylor certainly seem to be getting their legs back after a three-week stretch when the Bears couldn't play any games games because of COVID-19 issues in the program.
Two days after the Bears clinched their first Big 12 title with an overtime win at No. 6 West Virginia, Butler had two impressive dunks while scoring 22 points in an 81-70 victory over No. 17 Oklahoma State on Thursday night, ending the Cowboys' five-game winning streak.
“We're overcoming the COVID assault against us," Butler said.
Baylor (20-1, 12-1 Big 12) played its fourth game in 10 days since returning to action and was home after securing its first league title since 1950 in the Southwest Conference.
“You want to be content with winning the Big 12, but at the same time you don’t want to lose a game,” Butler said. “It’s a hard line to maneuver in.”
Matthew Mayer and MaCio Teague both added 19 points for the Bears, and Davion Mitchell had 12. Mayer had two baskets in a 9-0 run midway through the first half that put them ahead to stay.
Freshman standout and Big 12 leading scorer Cade Cunningham had 20 of his 24 points after halftime for Oklahoma State (17-7, 10-7), whose winning streak was the longest active in the Big 12. The last three wins had been against Top 25 teams, including over Bedlam rival No. 16 Oklahoma twice in three days.
Cunningham, considered by most as the potential No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, was moving gingerly when he left the court with help in the final minute after colliding with Mitchell, who was called for the foul — before Oklahoma State was in the bonus. Cunningham didn't return to the game but was able to walk off the court afterward without any assistance.