After four straight weeks with a new No. 1, Baylor basketball avoids a fifth straight week.
Baylor basketball passed the first true road test of the season behind a great offensive effort in the second half, 78-70 in Eugene, Oregon.
Offensively, it was junior guard Adam Flagler that carried the load with his five made three’s out of six attempts in the first half.
Defensively, Baylor was behind throughout the half but finished the first half strong. They finished on an 11-5 scoring run to cut the deficit to four at 39-35. Oregon shot 58.3% during the first 20 minutes and game-planned perfectly against the Bears.
After making one of his first four shots, senior guard James Akinjo was able to find his stroke in the second half, with nine points in the first seven minutes of the period.
Freshman forward Kendall Brown would get in the action in the second half, propelling an 8-0 run to give Baylor basketball a 59-51 lead with eight minutes left, the biggest lead of the game.
Takeaway #1: The defensive intensity from the Villanova game escaped against the Ducks
Baylor basketball gave up 36 points over the span of 40 minutes against the Wildcats. Oregon eclipsed that mark within the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s contest.
Oklahoma transfer guard De’Vion Harmon was a big reason behind the Ducks’ success on offense. After combining for 13 points in his three previous games against Baylor, he finished with 18 on 7-13 from the field.
Oregon finished 54% from the field and outrebounded the Bears 30-28. An intensity for 40 minutes has been shown from the gentlemen from Waco, but not on Saturday. That will need to change if they want to keep the top spot in the rankings for a long time.
Takeaway #2: Baylor basketball had big plays from big players at timely times
Brown and Akinjo came into the second half with two points each. Yet they were the catalyst behind the offense in the second half.
The freshman phenom made all six of his shot attempts in the second half, mostly through high-flying alley-oops and extreme athleticism. Brown ended with 17.
Akinjo made just one of his first four in the first half but made five of 10 in the second and tied for a team-high in points with 17 and led the team with six assists.
Takeaway #3: Free throws were a major problem on Saturday
Especially in single-digits games, free throws are keys behind victories. That was not the case against Oregon, going 8-of-18 from the line.
The Bears have shot 67% from the line this season but had an off night. It didn’t cost them on Saturday, but very well could against an above-average Big 12 team on the road.
Baylor basketball will return home for a Monday night game against Alcorn State at 6 p.m.