KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Isaiah Austin scored 18 points and Baylor held on after blowing most of a 21-point lead for a 78-73 victory over No. 17 Oklahoma on Thursday night in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.
Cory Jefferson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the No. 7 seed Bears (23-10), who became the first lower-seeded team to win in this year's tournament. They advanced to face the winner of Texas-West Virginia in the semifinals on Friday night.
Cameron Clark scored 19 points and Buddy Hield had 15 for the second-seeded Sooners (23-9), who spent most of the second half frantically rallying from a 52-31 deficit.
They got within 72-68 on Hield's 3-pointer with 1:27 left, and had a chance to get even closer when Royce O'Neale turned it over for Baylor. But a 3-pointer by Jordan Woodard with about a minute left was off the mark, and O'Neal came through with a pair of free throws.
Oklahoma had a couple of open layups on the ensuing possession, but opted to toss it out to Clark for a 3-pointer. He missed it, the Sooners had to foul again and Brady Heslip - one of the best free-throw shooters in the Big 12 - knocked down two more to help the seal the win.
O'Neal wound up with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears. Kenny Chery added 12 points and seven assists, and Heslip also finished with 12 points.
It was the ninth win in 10 games for Baylor, which has gone from NCAA tournament bubble to knocking on the door of the Big 12 title. The Bears are in the semifinals for the fifth time after ending a four-game skid against the Sooners that included a pair of losses this season.
• Tonight's win is Baylor's 9th in its last 10 games (since Kenny Chery returned to starting lineup after turf toe injury).
• Head coach Scott Drew recorded his 201st career win, tying Bill Henderson as winningest coach in Baylor history.
• Sophomore C Isaiah Austin scored 18 points, his 20th double-figure scoring game of the season & 47th of career (BU is 33-13 in such games).
• Austin's 5 blocks moved him past teammate Cory Jefferson into third on BU's all-time list with 164.
• Baylor shot 50.0% tonight, the Bears are now 14-1 this season when shooting 50 percent or higher.
• Senior F Cory Jefferson recorded a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double, his 13th of the season & 24th of career (BU is 20-4 in such games).
• Junior F Royce O'Neale recorded a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double, his 3rd of the season (BU 3-0 in such games) and second straight.
• Junior G Kenny Chery had 7 assists and moved into a tie for 9th on Baylor single-season list with 161 (passed Vinnie Johnson's 159 in '78-79, matched Nelson Haggerty's 161 in '93-94).
• Chery scored 12 points, his 17th double-figure scoring game of the season (BU is 13-5 in such games).
• Senior G Brady Heslip scored 12 points, his 20th double-figure scoring game of the season & 54th of career (BU is 41-13 in such games).
STAT OF THE GAME
Baylor outshot OU 50%-42%. BU is 22-3 this season when outshooting its opponent.
TWEET OF THE GAME
"A lot more happier coach today from the standpoint I thought our guys really defended a lot better. First half was fun to watch. I thought we really executed well." - Baylor head coach Scott Drew
Baylor advances to the Big 12 Championship semifinals (for fifth time in 17 tournament appearances) and will face the Texas-West Virginia winner Friday at 8:30 p.m.