BAYLOR BEARS (18-13)
vs. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (23-7)
Big 12 Conference Tournament - Quarterfinals
Sprint Center Ė Kansas City, MO
Tip-off: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma State -2.5, Total: 135
Two high-powered offenses take the court in Kansas City when No. 14 Oklahoma State and Baylor clash in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals.
The Bears, who score 74.5 PPG this season (30th in nation), have had a rough stretch lately with just four wins in their past dozen games. But one of those victories was a 23-point pounding of No. 7 Kansas on Saturday in which they lit up the Jayhawks for 81 points on 58% shooting. Oklahoma State scores 72.8 PPG (57th in D-I), and has been red-hot since its 64-54 loss at Baylor on Jan. 21. Since that defeat, the Cowboys are 11-2 SU (7-5-1 ATS), which included a 69-67 home win when Markel Brown scored on a lay-up with 0.2 seconds left in overtime. The Bears are 9-9 SU (8-10 ATS) in Big 12 action this season and 7-7 ATS in non-home games, while Oklahoma State is 13-5 SU (8-9-1 ATS) in conference play with an 8-5 SU (7-5-1 ATS) mark in non-home games, including a perfect 3-0 SU (2-0-1 ATS) record on a neutral court. Oklahoma State is also 10-1 SU all-time in neutral-site games versus Baylor, including two Big 12 Tournament wins.
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The Bears donít have a real weakness, as they shoot 45.3% FG (35.0% threes), with 37.7 RPG and 15.3 APG (27th in nation). And they are riding high after crushing Kansas, thanks in big part to PG Pierre Jackson (19.4 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.6 APG) who scored 28 points on 11-of-13 FG, while adding 10 assists. Jackson had a team-high 18 points in the win over OSU earlier this season, and then poured in 24 points and eight assists in the OT loss in Stillwater. However, Jackson committed 11 turnovers in that defeat. Junior SF Cory Jefferson (12.1 PPG, 8.2 PRG) has posted double-doubles in both meetings with the Cowboys this season, tallying 11 points and 11 boards (with six blocks) in the Jan. 21 win, before scoring 18 points with 11 boards in the Feb. 6 loss to OSU. He also played big against the Jayhawks with 25 points on 11-of-13 FG, seven rebounds and three blocks. Freshman C Isaiah Austin (13.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG) added 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks on Saturday, marking his fifth straight game in double-figures. He has pulled down 13.0 RPG in the two meetings with Oklahoma State this season, but his offense has been lacking with 8.5 PPG on 7-of-24 shooting (29%). For the Bears to win this game, they will need both guards Brady Heslip (8.5 PPG on 39% FG) and A.J. Walton (7.2 PPG on 42% FG) to get hot. Heslip shoots 38.4% from three-point range, but Walton has gone six games without a made three (0-for-3).
Oklahoma State shoots just 44.4% from the field (112th in nation) and is not a great ball-handling team with a mere 12.3 APG and 12.5 TOPG. But the team is propelled by its backcourt of Big 12 Player of the Year PG Marcus Smart (15.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.3 APG) and SG Markel Brown (15.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG). But the duo combined to make just 5-of-19 shots (26%) in the loss in Waco on Jan. 21, and followed that up with an 8-of-38 FG clip (21%) in the overtime win last month. However, Smart still managed to average 13.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 7.0 APG in the season series. Sophomore swingman Le'Bryan Nash (14.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is coming off a huge performance in Saturday's 76-70 win over No. 11 Kansas State, when he scored 24 points on 10-of-12 FG. Nash kept the Cowboys in the game in Waco earlier this season with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting. The team's final double-digit scorer is freshman SG Phil Forte (10.4 PPG) who is shooting just 37% FG (34% threes) this season. This includes a dreadful 29.7% FG clip in his past six games. Forte has made just 4-of-16 shots (2-of-13 threes) against Baylor this season.