WACO, Texas (AP) — Adam Flagler scored a season-high 22 points, Jared Butler had 15 of his 18 points after halftime and No. 2 Baylor finally overcame the rust of a three-week break and Iowa State for a 77-72 victory Tuesday night, making the Bears 18-0 for the first time in school history.
The Bears (18-0, 10-0 Big 12) played for the first time since an 83-69 win at then-No. 6 Texas on Feb. 2 when they had matched the best start in school history. They then had six consecutive games postponed because of COVID-19 issues in the program, and hadn’t even had another full practice until Sunday.
Iowa State (2-17, 0-14) jumped out to a 15-4 lead in less than 6 1/2 minutes on a jumper by Tre Jackson. Their biggest lead was 32-15 when Harris made his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 6:24 left in the first half.
Tyler Harris had 22 points for the Cyclones with five 3-pointers, while Rasir Bolton had 21 points and Jalen Coleman-Lands 13.
The Bears never led until MaCio Teague made two free throws with 4:26 left for a 66-65 advantage. They never trailed again, but needed a go-ahead basket by Teague after Jalen Coleman-Lands made a tying 3 with 2:53 left. Teague and Butler combined for the last nine Baylor points.
Teague finished with 14 points, and Mark Vital had 15 rebounds.
It was the closest game of the season for Baylor, which had won all of its previous games by at least eight points — and had only two games decided by fewer than 10 points.
Butler hit two 3s in the first 1:15 of the second half to get Baylor within 39-38, and the Bears had the ball back after Mitchell rebounded a bad shot by Harris. They got four shots on their next possession, but couldn’t get any to fall before Iowa State got the ball back on alternation possession after a held ball on another rebounds.
After coming into the game second in the Big 12 averaging 17 points, Butler had three turnovers and took only one shot before halftime.
The standout guard had some uncharacteristic mistakes, including turnover on an inbound violation right after Flo Thamba had drawn a charge to give Baylor the ball, with the crowd still buzzing from Thamba’s two-handed slam.
Iowa State quickly took advantage of Butler’s miscue with Bolton’s short jumper off the ensuing inbound pass for a 20-8 lead.
Iowa State is home against TCU on Saturday.
Baylor plays at No. 17 Kansas on Saturday, then has three makeup games in a six-day span next week.
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