LUBBOCK, Texas — Second-ranked Baylor knows there will be more games like this, instead of all those double-digit wins. The Bears got the job done on the road.
Davion Mitchell had 17 points, Jared Butler finally scored late and the Bears stayed undefeated when they overcame No. 15 Texas Tech 68-60 on Saturday in their closest game this season.
“It’s definitely a good thing. It will build confidence,” guard Adam Flagler said. “It just shows that we’re more than capable playing these types of games and finishing out strong. It’s about all of us being poised and being mature team.”
Butler, the preseason AP All-American coming off a season-high 28 points in the last game, was 0-for-9 shooting with six turnovers before hitting consecutive 3-pointers for the Bears (12-0, 5-0 Big 12) in the final five minutes.
“One thing about Jared Butler . when the game is on the line, his game goes to another level,” coach Scott Drew said. “His two 3s were huge.”
Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 5:38 left to stretch Baylor’s lead to 49-45 after the Red Raiders failed to score on a possession when they missed three consecutive putback chances. Butler scored all seven of his points after that and Texas Tech (11-4, 4-3) missed a chance to follow its 79-77 win at No. 4 Texas on Wednesday night with another huge victory.
“I think we can play with teams like this, I think we can beat teams like this,” Tech coach Chris Beard said. “But we have to play well in the 40-minute game to get that done.”
Flagler had 15 points and MaCio Teague 14 for the Bears, who saw the end of their school-record streak of 11 consecutive double-digit wins – their closest game had been an 11-point win at Iowa State on Jan. 2.
Mac McClung had 24 points for Texas Tech, while Kevin McCullar had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Texas Tech led 45-44 after Marcus Santos-Silva made a free throw with 7:14 left. The Bears went ahead to stay when Flagler penetrated and made a floater, almost falling down when the shot went in before Mitchell’s 3.
“We know we didn’t play our best, we still had a close game with them … this one hurts,” Santos-Silva said.
“When you get to that point, similar to any kind of NCAA Tournament, March-type game, you’ve got to go win the game,” Beard said. “We had a plan in the last eight minutes and we just didn’t execute it. I think you’ve got to give Baylor credit for making it hard on us.”
This was the 141st meeting between the teams who first met in 1937 and have played annually since 1958. This was the first game with both ranked in the top 15.
Baylor: The Bears played for the first time since a 67-49 win at TCU last weekend. Their scheduled home game Tuesday was postponed because of COVID-19 issues in West Virginia’s program. They never trailed by more than three points, but reached a double-digit lead only once – at 61-51 on two free throws by Mitchell with 2:51 left.
Texas Tech: After beating a top five team on the road for the first time in school history, the Red Raiders were trying to win consecutive games over top five teams for the first time. But they are 1-3 in Big 12 home games this season, with the other losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State. They are 3-0 on the road in conference games.
NOT AS FREE
Texas Tech entered leading the nation with 368 free throw attempts. The Red Raiders didn’t get to the line before halftime, but were 10 of 14 in the second half. They also finished with nine blocked shots and outrebounded Baylor 42-37.
“The effort was there, the grit was there. We played with a lot of toughness,” Beard said.
Baylor will be in the top five for a school-record 20th consecutive poll when the new AP Top 25 comes out Monday – the Bears had been in the the top five only 12 total polls before this streak. Texas Tech missed a chance for its highest ranking this season (that was 13th last month).
Baylor is home against No. 6 Kansas on Monday night.
Texas Tech plays at TCU on Wednesday night.