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No. 6 Oklahoma holds off No. 19 Baylor after concerning collapse

Ishmail Wainright, Buddy Hield

Baylor guard Ishmail Wainright, left, drives to the basket as Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)


Oklahoma got off to a hot start and was able to hold off No. 19 Baylor, 73-71, on Tuesday night as the Sooners almost blew a massive lead.

The No. 6 Sooners (23-6, 11-6) were ahead 30-9 in the first half and 46-25 at the half before the Bears made a furious second-half comeback. Baylor was able to force turnovers and get quick scores and take advantage of Oklahoma’s lackluster second-half start as they rallied to take a 68-67 lead late in the second half. After Oklahoma re-gained the lead, Baylor had a chance to tie down three points with under 15 seconds left, Oklahoma fouled Baylor’s Taurean Prince with 2.4 seconds left. Prince made the first and intentionally missed the second free throw and the Sooners ran out the clock from there.

Buddy Hield led the Sooners with 23 points as he went 8-for-19 from the field. Ryan Spangler came up big on the interior for Oklahoma as he finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.

Baylor (21-9, 10-7) had a tremendous comeback on the road but ultimately fell short. The Bears’ pressure defense and effort in the early second half when they seemed completely out of it is a good trait to have for March. Freshman King McClure played a good game with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting while Taurean Prince also finished with 17 points while adding nine rebounds.

For Oklahoma, maintaining enough control to win and coming back after blowing that lead is important. But the consecutive games with long stretches of terrible play is a very troubling sign for the Sooners this late in the season. Does this team get tired or complacent? Are they not hitting jumpers because they don’t have enough legs? Oklahoma lost to Texas on the road for playing terribly the final seven minutes and they played a similar poor stretch early in the second half that almost cost them this game.

And this sort of thing is happening against top-25 teams for Oklahoma. So it’s not like someone is sneaking up on them at this point. The Sooners close the Big 12 schedule with TCU but we’ll have to see if this trend of long stretches of poor play continues in the last few games before the NCAA tournament.