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Oklahoma State defeats No. 2 Baylor to advance to Big 12 Championship Game

Bye Bye Baylor.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Oklahoma State vs Baylor Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 ranked team in the country won’t finish as one of the final two teams in its own conference tournament.

A big second half from Cade Cunningham powered Oklahoma State past Baylor 83-74 to send the Cowboys to the Big 12 Championship Game. Cunningham finished with a game high 25 points to pace the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State led by five points at halftime before losing the lead and ultimately trailing 60-52 with around 7:30 remaining in the game. A free throw from Issac Likekele, two from Matthew- Alexander Moncrieffe and a three point jumper from Rondel Walker cut the Bears lead to 60-58 with 6:41 remaining in the game.

Baylor got its lead back up to five points at 65-60 on a MaCio Teague three point shot before Cunningham answered with back-to-back three point shots to give Oklahoma State its first lead since the 15:48 mark with 4:22 left to play.

Avery Anderson III finished a layup through the foul and connected on the free throw to give Oklahoma State a 73-72 lead with 2:09 remaining in the game. A Rondel Walker three point play and two Cunningham free throws gave the Cowboys a 78-72 lead to put the game out of reach.

Anderson III finished with 20 points to give the Cowboys two players above the 20-point threshold. Walker finished with 11 points and Kalib Boone added 10 points, six rebounds and six blocks.

Star Baylor guard Jared Butler was held to 16 points on just 1-7 from the three point arc. MaCio Teague led Baylor with 17 points and Davion Mitchell added 13 points for the Bears. Mark Vital finished with nine points and 15 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Rebounding was an issue for the Cowboys for a stretch, and keeping Vital off the offensive glass was a problem for Oklahoma State in the 2nd half.

Oklahoma State will face No. 3 seed Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Longhorns advanced to the championship game after beating No. 6 seed Texas Tech 67-66 on a pair of Matt Coleman III free throws with two seconds left. Texas never got the chance to play No. 2 seed Kansas after COVID issues ended the Jayhawks tournament early. Kansas is expected to be included in the bracket on Selection Sunday as of Friday night.

Oklahoma State has now won eight of its last nine games after handing Baylor its second lost of the season on Friday night. The Cowboys will have the opportunity to make nine wins out of 10 on Saturday night against the Longhorns, and four ranked wins in the span of a week.