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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Poking Along: OSU Falls At Home To Baylor

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The Oklahoma State men's basketball team is searching for answers.

It didn't find any on Saturday.

No. 8 OSU fell at home to unranked Baylor 76-70 and has now lost three of its past four games.

It was a back-and-forth contest throughout with 13 ties and 14 lead changes but OSU faltered late and BU's Gary Franklin got hot, delivering the Cowboys unquestionably their worst loss of the season so far.

The Bears had lost five-straight games coming in but took full advantage of the Pokes' weaknesses on the glass, bench depth and in the half-court offense to hand OSU its first home loss of the year.

BU (14-7, 2-6 Big 12) used its height advantage to limit Oklahoma State to countless one-and-done possessions and packed the lane to force OSU into a hesitant jump-shooting offense, which didn't go overly well with 46 percent shooting and a 6-of-21 outing from the 3-point line.

And that decisive size advantage was readily apparent on the offensive end, as well. Baylor knew OSU couldn't contend with its height and it worked the ball inside routinely. At 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds, Rico Gathers bludgeoned the Cowboys inside for 14 points and six rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting, while 6-foot-9 Cory Jefferson turned in 11 points and 13 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds (OSU had just seven as a team).

And that interior dominance eventually led to open looks from 3, and Baylor didn't let that opportunity slip past it. Sharpshooter Brady Heslip led the Bears with a season-high 20 points, hitting 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.

And as efficient as Heslip was, it was Franklin's 3-point shooting that did the Cowboys in late.

Franklin had just two points in the first 16 and a half minutes, but drilled all three of his 3-point attempts in the final 3:36 to keep OSU at arm's length until his last 3 and an immediate steal-and-slam by Royce O'Neale put the finishing touches on this disappointing day for the Cowboys, turning a two-point deficit into a seven-point hole in just seven seconds with 38 seconds remaining in the contest.

Markel Brown and Le'Bryan Nash both had excellent outings but it wasn't enough to overcome an abysmal and excessive shooting performance from Marcus Smart – 3-of-14 shooting and 0-of-7 from 3 – and being outscored 20-0 in bench points.

Brown scored a game-high 24 on 9-of-12 shooting, including 6-for-8 from 3, with four steals in 38 minutes. Nash was also highly effective with 19 points and six rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting, while reining in his recent foul issues in the process.

The loss drops OSU to 16-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play. Next up for the Pokes is a tough one when they play host to No. 16 Iowa State on Tuesday in Stillwater.

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