No. 3 Baylor Beats No. 17 Oklahoma State Despite Cade Cunningham's 24 PointsMarch 5, 2021
Baylor is having one hell of a week.
Two days after winning the school's first men's basketball conference championship since 1950 with a thrilling overtime win over West Virginia, the No. 3 Bears knocked off Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State, 81-70.
Worse for Oklahoma State than the loss was the fact that Cunningham limped off the court late in the contest:
On the other sideline, Big-12 Player of the Year candidate Jared Butler and the Bears (20-1) continue to look like serious national championship contenders with March Madness on the horizon. They looked excellent at home against No. 17 Oklahoma State (17-7), which itself is fighting for a high seed in the NCAA tournament depending on the outcome of their appeal of a one-year postseason ban.
An NCAA tournament without Cunningham would be a major bummer for college basketball fans. One thing is for certain—Baylor will be in the tournament, and it will be a major threat.
Jared Butler, BU: 22 points, five assists, three steals
Matthew Mayer, BU: 19 points, seven rebounds
MaCio Teague, BU: 19 points, five assists
Cade Cunningham, OSU: 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists
Kalib Boone, OSU: 12 points
Avery Anderson III, OSU: Nine points
Matthew Mayer Provided a Huge Boost Off the Bench
Butler, Teague and Davion Mitchell normally get the headlines. But Mayer was fantastic coming off the bench, with arguably his best performance of the season.
Like the rest of his teammates, he's having quite the week. His 18 points, five rebounds and four steals were huge against West Virginia. He's playing some of his best basketball at the perfect time of year. He's a sneaky NBA draft prospect:
The Bears will go as far as Butler can take them, but if Mayer keeps playing like this, look out—these Bears might be unbeatable.
Cade Cunningham's Big Second Half Wasn't Enough
Cunningham didn't do much early, with just four first-half points. But he caught fire in the second half and was the best player on the court, valiantly attempting to keep the Cowboys in the game.
It wasn't enough, in large part because Cunningham just didn't have much help, with only Boone exceeding double-digit points. Being without the team's third-leading scorer, Isaac Likekele, didn't help.
Beating this Baylor team is no small task, especially in Waco. Doing so would have required a Herculean effort from both Cunningham and his teammates. The freshman did his part. The rest of the Cowboys weren't quite up to the task.
Oklahoma State rounds out its season at No. 6 West Virginia on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. Baylor does the same when it hosts No. 18 Texas Tech on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET (ESPN).