Oklahoma St. 71, Baylor 68
Thursday, March 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ It wasn't pretty, but Oklahoma State will take a win anyway it can get one as the Cowboys fight for an NCAA tournament bid.
The Cowboys twice led by as many as 15 in the first half, but had to hold off Baylor in the second half to win 71-68 Wednesday.
``These four games, the bottom line is to win,'' OSU coach Eddie Sutton said. ``You're 19-7 and 10-5 and I don't think anybody thought we'd be here at this stage in this season with everything that has happened.''
The Cowboys have won four straight, but haven't been impressive in those wins, which have come against teams near the bottom of the Big 12 standings.
OSU won at Texas A&M, at home against Kansas State and on the road at Texas Tech _ the game that was rescheduled because of the Jan. 27 plane crash that killed two reserve players and eight others.
``The bottom line is that we did win the last four games,'' said OSU center Fredrik Jonzen. ``Even though we haven't played very good, we got the four wins and now we have 19 wins and 10 are in the conference.''
The less than perfect performances against the lower echelon teams may in some part be attributed to fatigue. The Baylor game was the fourth in a week for the Cowboys.
``It was another gut-check type of game,'' Sutton said. ``In the first half, I really thought we had played well. But when you get a lead like that and you're playing at home, you ought to be able to keep that in double figures.''
Baylor (16-10, 5-10) rallied to tie the score at 55, then nearly pulled off the victory after falling behind by eight with 2 1/2 minutes left.
``Their post play in the first half, we let them get away and they dominated us inside,'' Baylor coach Dave Bliss said. ``Had we been in a little bit more of a position to grab a rebound we could have had a chance to dictate our own fate.''
Maurice Baker scored 20 points and Jonzen had 17 for Oklahoma State. The Bears were led by 23 from DeMarcus Minor.
Terry Black and Minor scored back-to-back baskets off turnovers to tie the score at 55 with just over six minutes remaining.
After a timeout, Jonzen made four free throws and Baker hit a two-foot jumper during an 8-3 run that pushed the lead to five. A basket by Matt Sayman made it 63-60 before the Cowboys scored five in a row to take a 68-60 lead.
But Minor hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot, and Sayman sank a 3 to get the Bears within 68-66.
After Jonzen made one of two free throws, Minor scored on a tip to make the score 69-68 with 47 seconds left.
The Cowboys missed on their next trip, but Williams grabbed the loose ball and was fouled. He sank both free throws, then Logan Kosmalski missed a 3-point try in the closing seconds.