WACO, Texas — Mark Vital blocked Kamar Baldwin’s potential go-ahead shot with 1.5 seconds left and No. 11 Baylor held on to beat previously undefeated No. 18 Butler 53-52 on Tuesday night.
It was the second win in a row, and third this season, for Baylor (8-1) over a Top 25 team.
Butler (9-1) was the third team to lose for the first time, after No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 Maryland lost earlier Tuesday night. That left five undefeated Division I teams.
The Bulldogs never led, but had the ball after Aaron Thompson rebounded Davion Mitchell’s missed shot before a timeout with 7.9 seconds left. After Baldwin inbounded the ball, he got it back and drove for a layup that was swatted away and out of bounds and last touched by the shooter.
After MaCio Teague missed a free throw for Baylor, the Bulldogs had 0.7 seconds left. A desperation shot by Baldwin, who finished with 19 points, wasn’t close — and likely came after the buzzer anyway.
Teague and Devonte Bandoo each had 10 points for Baylor, whose coach, Scott Drew, is a 1993 Butler graduate and faced his alma mater as a head coach for the first time.
Sean McDermott had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Bulldogs.
Butler, after trailing by 16 points in the first half, had a chance to tie the game with 3:46 left after Baldwin — whose 15-footer had just gotten the Bulldogs within a basket — rebounded a missed 3 by Baylor. But Baldwin had his potential tying shot blocked by Mark Vital, who then scored on the other end to make it 53-49.
The Bulldogs had gotten within 44-40 midway through the second half after Baldwin’s third consecutive basket came in a stretch when they made seven shots in a row.
Butler: The Bulldogs were trying to get to 10-0 for the first time since 2006-07. They were still good defensively, having come in allowing only 56.2 points a game — and holding Baylor to under that.
Baylor: The Bears are one bad stretch from being undefeated. Their only loss was to Washington in the second game of the season in Alaska, when they had a 10-point lead before not making another field goal in the final five minutes.
After five games in a row against teams from major conferences, Butler is home Saturday against Southern University.
Baylor has only two more games in December. The Bears play UT-Martin on Dec. 18 in Houston, then are home against Jackson State on Dec. 30 in their last game before opening Big 12 play.