After dropping its first three Big 12 games, Baylor looked like it could be headed toward an extended skid.
But over the last two weeks, the Bears (13-5, 3-3 Big 12) have bounced back with three consecutive wins.
No. 21 Baylor looks to continue its momentum when it takes on Oklahoma on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.
“I know we started off slow, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Bears junior guard LJ Cryer said. “This isn’t the finish line, but we’re working toward that. And starting a win streak is really good for us.”
The biggest difference for Baylor over its current winning streak is limiting turnovers.
The Bears averaged more than 15 turnovers per game during their three-game losing streak, with defeats to Iowa State, TCU and Kansas State.
During their three-game winning streak – against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech — the Bears have turned the ball over just eight times per game.
In Tuesday’s 81-74 road win over Texas Tech, Baylor had just three turnovers. The Bears hadn’t turned the ball over fewer than nine times all season.
“That’s amazing,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “To have three turnovers, that’s an eclipse. Normally, if that happens, it’s at home. To happen on the road, it’s a double eclipse.”
Now, the Bears will face a Sooners team that is last in the league at forcing turnovers.
Oklahoma is turning teams over just 10.1 times per game — 3.5 fewer than the next-closest team in the Big 12.
Over the last three games, the Sooners haven’t forced more than seven turnovers.
Jalen Hill, Oklahoma’s top defender, shouldered the responsibility after Oklahoma State scored 48 points in the second half to knock off the Sooners 72-56 on Wednesday.
“That’s on me,” Hill said. “Gotta be a better leader out there and pride ourselves on those first four minutes of the second half, just gather the team and just make us play better, really.”
Oklahoma was outscored 15-5 during that four-minute stretch.
The Sooners (11-7, 2-4) have plenty of chances remaining on their schedule for resume-building wins, with 10 of their 13 remaining games against ranked opponents, but Oklahoma needs to start winning those games to make their case for the NCAA Tournament.
Sooners guard Jacob Groves called Saturday’s game “another opportunity.”
“Every single game we’re in from here on out is going to be a massive resume builder,” Groves said. “It’s a matter of finding a way to put that one in the bank and move on from it.”
But Sooners coach Porter Moser said he wants his team to focus on the issues that have led to them dropping three Big 12 games by a combined eight points.
“There are still so many games left, so I’m not going to get into this every single game, talking about the urgency of resume wins,” Moser said. “We’re disappointed we lost, no question. We’ve got to bounce back.”
Baylor has won eight consecutive regular-season meetings against the Sooners, dating back to 2018.
The Sooners did beat the Bears 72-67 in last year’s Big 12 Tournament.
–Field Level Media