WACO, Texas — In its first game as conference champions in more than 70 years, the Baylor Bears looked the part of a champion, building a sizable lead before holding off an Oklahoma State comeback to win 81-70.
After looking sluggish their last three games after a three-week layoff due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the Bears jumped out to a 29-19 lead with 6:30 left in the first half.
Matthew Mayer was a spark off the bench for the Bears, scoring nine points in his first seven minutes of action to help the Bears extend the lead to 10.
Baylor would push the lead to 11 points by halftime, going into the break ahead 42-31.
In the second half, the Bears would maintain the double-digit lead until there were less than seven minutes remaining. Oklahoma State cut the lead to four with 3:25 left in the game.
The Bears would make eight consecutive free throws to extend the Bears lead and put the game out of reach.
After getting significantly out-rebounded Saturday against Kansas in Lawrence, the Bears dominated the glass against the Cowboys. Baylor finished the game with a 30-25 rebounding advantage. Baylor grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.
The Bears also returned to their stellar shooting form, going 29-58 from the field and 41 percent from three.
In addition, the Bears largely shut down Oklahoma State freshman phenom Cade Cunningham in the first half. The presumptive No. 1 pick in this year's NBA Draft was held to just four first half points on eight attempts.
In the second half, he was more involved, going 8-11 for 20 points.
The Bears forced 18 turnovers, including one with less than two minutes remaining that helped seal the game for the Bears.
With the win, Baylor moves to 20-1 on the season and extends their lead in the Big 12 conference standings.