Oklahoma hopes to end slump at expense of No. 5 Baylor
Scott Drew, the coach of No. 5 Baylor, was talking about his team after the Bears' 77-68 win at West Virginia on Tuesday.
He might as well have been talking about Oklahoma, the team Baylor will face Saturday in Norman, Okla., in another Big 12 contest.
"I can tell you that this league is one of those leagues that you don't want to be on a losing streak because nobody feels sorry for you," Drew said. "And no matter what you say, you can pick any sport: You lose, you make errors, you lose confidence. And you want to get back to winning as quick as you can."
Baylor (16-2, 4-2 Big 12) did that, snapping a two-game losing streak with the midweek win.
The Sooners (12-6, 2-4) are still looking to break out of their slump, coming into Saturday's game having lost three consecutive games and four of their past five.
Oklahoma's past two losses have come by a combined four points, including a 67-64 home defeat against No. 7 Kansas on Tuesday.
"You can't forget that feeling," Sooners coach Porter Moser said. "This feeling sucks. You have to be sitting there in your belly and think about it as you lift, watch film, train, practice. You can't forget how this feels because this is where we want to go. We want to win these games."
The Bears head into Saturday's contest a half-game behind Kansas for the Big 12 lead. The Jayhawks are the only conference team without multiple conference losses this season while every team has at least two Big 12 wins.
"We're just a really deep team and we're well-coached," said senior Matthew Mayer, who is coming off a career-high 20-point performance against West Virginia. "We know we've got a lot of guys who can step up.
"Three losses in a row would have been tough. It just gives us confidence that we can get back on track and win the Big 12."
The Bears are 3-0 on the road in conference play, the only league team without a road loss.
Saturday's meeting is the second between Baylor and Oklahoma this season. The Bears won 84-74 on Jan. 4 in Waco, Texas.
Baylor dominated that game on the glass, outrebounding Oklahoma 34-16. The Bears outscored the Sooners 19-0 on second-chance points.
In that game, James Akinjo tied a season high with 27 points while Adam Flagler set a season high with 22.
Akinjo is Baylor's co-leader in scoring (13.9 points per game) and tops the team in assists (5.7) and steals (2.1), but he could miss Saturday's game because of a tailbone injury he sustained Jan. 11 against Texas Tech. After playing 23 minutes and scoring just three points against Oklahoma State four days later, Akinjo missed Tuesday's game.
The Sooners could be without their top two scorers off the bench, Ethan Chargois and C.J. Noland. Chargois has missed the past two games due to injury while Noland suffered a concussion late in the first half Tuesday.
Baylor could be without reserve forward Jeremy Sochan, who has missed three consecutive games with a sprained left ankle.
The Bears have won seven consecutive meetings with Oklahoma, dating back to the 2017-18 season.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 21, 2022