WACO, Texas — Manu Lecomte scored 17 points, Johnathan Motley had 13 and second-ranked Baylor closed in on the school’s first No. 1 ranking with a 61-57 victory against Oklahoma State on Saturday night.
The Bears (15-0, 3-0 Big 12), one of two unbeaten teams in the nation along with No. 5 Gonzaga, are in position to reach the top of the poll after No. 1 Villanova’s 20-game winning streak ended Wednesday — the same night Baylor beat Iowa State on a late jumper from Lecomte.
A rowdy crowd that included new Baylor football coach Matt Rhule in the first row of the student section chanted “No. 1, No. 1” in the final seconds of the Bears’ 11th straight home victory.
Phil Forte had 17 points to lead the Cowboys (10-5), who started 0-3 in conference for the first time since 1995-96, the last year of the Big Eight before it merged with the Big 12.
Al Freeman, who hasn’t hit a field goal in two games, made a pair of free throws to put the Bears ahead for good at 50-48 with a little more than six minutes remaining.
The Cowboys were within two in the final minute and had a chance to tie down three when leading scorer Jawun Evans, who was 2 of 12 from the field, missed a jumper and Lecomte got the rebound.
Oklahoma State shot 35 percent.
Motley had a game-high 10 rebounds with three assists and three blocks.
The Bears had just seven offensive rebounds to 19 for the Cowboys, but one of them came from Jake Lindsey after a missed 3 by Motley with the Bears leading by four with 1:48 remaining. Two minutes earlier, Lindsey hit a 3 with Baylor leading by one.
Jeffrey Carroll scored 14 for the Cowboys, but just three after halftime when Oklahoma State shot 32 percent.
Oklahoma State: It’s been a tough early conference schedule for first-year coach Brad Underwood, with an opening loss to No. 7 West Virginia. And it won’t get easier with Kansas looming. But Underwood knew that. He had a close-up view of the Big 12 while leading Stephen F. Austin to prominence in East Texas.
Baylor: The Bears didn’t have an easy time at home with a pair of unranked teams in Iowa State and Oklahoma State. But coach Scott Drew knows it’s just about winning in the Big 12, and plenty of ranked opponents are coming soon.
Oklahoma State: Iowa State at home on Wednesday before a trip to No. 3 Kansas next Saturday.
Baylor: The long trip to West Virginia on Tuesday before a visit to Kansas State next Saturday.