On a day when Jared Butler missed his first nine shots and didn’t score until the last five minutes, second-ranked Baylor got its stiffest test of the season from a Texas Tech team trying to knock off its second-straight Top-5 opponent. Not this time.
Butler buried a pair of 3-pointers in a 14-4 run as the Bears (12-0, 5-0) remained unbeaten with a 68-60 victory over the Red Raiders (11-4, 4-3) Saturday afternoon before a season-high crowd of 4,250 at the United Supermarkets Arena.
“One thing about Jared Butler, when the game is on the line, his game goes to another level. His two 3’s were huge,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Credit his teammates for helping him get those opportunities. And credit Jared for rising to the occasion.”
A perfect 4-for- 4 from the floor in the first half, Davion Mitchell hit three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 17 points to take up the slack for Butler. Adam Flagler bounced back from a scoreless game against TCU to pour in 15 of the Bears’ 26 bench points, while MaCio Teague added 14 points while playing all but two minutes.
“I knew eventually they were going to fall,” said Mitchell, who was 0-for-4 from 3-point range in each of the previous two games. “Most of my shots eventually roll in. I wasn’t really worried about my shot. My teammates kept encouraging me, the coaches kept encouraging me to shoot the ball. That’s what I did, and today it was falling.”
In a first half dominated by defense, Baylor forced 11 turnovers, held Tech to 27 percent shooting overal l and 2-of-12 from outside the arc and limited the Red Raiders to their fewest points in a half this season in taking a 26-18 lead.
Mitchell scored 10 of the Bears’ first 19 points, draining a 3-pointer that put them up 19-10 at the 8:53 mark in the first half. Answering a 6-0 run by Tech, Baylor closed the half by scoring nine of the last 11 points and going into the
break leading by eight.
The second half was a much different story as the Red Raiders surpassed their first-half scoring output in the first seven minutes and took their first lead since the opening bucket with a second-chance free throw by Marcus Santo-Silva. Micah Peavy finished off a 7-0 run to put Tech up, 37-34, with 13:03 left in the game.
“In the first half, our defense was good and our offense wasn’t very good,” Drew said. “In the beginning of the second half, our defense wasn’t very good. In the last eight minutes, we put it all together.”
Facing a rare second-half deficit, Baylor trailed 45-44 with just over seven minutes left in the game. Flagler put the Bears back on top with a runner, and then Butler found Mitchell for a back-breaking 3-pointer from the corner after Tech failed to score despite grabbing three offensive boards.
“Jared found me, and I feel like that turned things around,” Mitchell said. “We got a little separation.”
After scoring a season-high 28 points in the 67-49 win over TCU, Butler was scoreless until hitting a pair of 3-pointers in a 70-second stretch that gave the Bears a 56-49 lead with 3:50 left. Tech never got closer than five the rest of the way.
“I would tell you that they are as good as advertised,” Tech coach Chris Beard said. “They’ve got that poise to them. They’ve got five guards, and any of them can take a college basketball game over. We saw that today.”
After seventh-ranked Michigan’s 75-57 loss at No. 23 Minnesota, Baylor is now one of only four remaining undefeated teams and the only unbeaten team from a Power 5 conference. This is the fifth 12-0 start in program history and the third in the last 10 years.