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OU basketball: Sooners fall to No. 1 Baylor 84-74 in first conference road game

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Jalen Hill

Junior forward Jalen Hill during the game against Kansas State on Jan. 1.

Oklahoma (11-3, 1-1 Big 12) fell to No. 1 Baylor (14-0, 2-0 Big 12) 84-74 in Waco on Tuesday.

Senior forward Tanner Groves led the Sooners with 13 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Umoja Gibson and junior forward Jalen Hill added 12 points each.

OU was torched by Baylor guards James Akinjo and Adam Flagler who combined for 49 points in the game. 

Both Oklahoma and Baylor shot above 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first half, despite Baylor ranking No. 4 and Oklahoma ranking No. 32 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency.

However, the Bears would have two five-point runs and four four-point spurts throughout the first half. Baylor brought in seven offensive rebounds and five steals, resulting in 11 second-chance points and 10 points off turnovers. OU finished the first half with only four total rebounds and no second chance points, contributing to its halftime deficit.

Oklahoma had another fast start in the first four minutes of the second half, going on a 9-0 run capped by an and-1 layup by senior forward Ethan Chargois. Akinjo then responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to push Baylor’s lead back to 11 with 13:28 to play.

OU kept the Baylor lead small leading to the final media timeout. The Sooners were unable to trim the deficit to less than six points but didn’t trail by more than 11 from 18:32 in the half to the end of the game

Oklahoma kept the game close in the final four minutes. Tanner Groves threw a perfect full-court pass to Umoja Gibson to cut the lead back down to five before forcing a turnover, but Gibson missed a 3-point shot on the ensuing possession.

The Sooners cut the lead back to five once more, but Baylor went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to seal the win.

Next, Oklahoma will take on No. 11 Iowa State at 5 p.m. Jan. 8 in Norman.

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