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WACO (AP) – Rico Gathers became the first Baylor player with 1,000 career rebounds, and was barely outrebounded by Oklahoma State in his milestone game.
Gathers had 17 points with 17 rebounds, one less than the Cowboys had as a team, and joined seven other Big 12 players in the 1,000-rebound club Tuesday night as Baylor won its 13th consecutive home game, 79-62 against the last opposing team to win in Waco.
“It means a lot. One of the areas for me coming back for my senior year was to cement my legacy here,” said Gathers, the 6-foot-8 senior forward now with 1,005 rebounds. “Just being able to reach the 1,000 milestone is definitely a blessing. I never thought I would be able to reach something like that in my college career. I’m real proud and thankful to God that that happened.”
Al Freeman had 21 points for Baylor (11-3, 1-1 Big 12), which bounced back from its Big 12-opening 102-74 loss at No. 1 Kansas on Saturday. Taurean Prince added 14 points while Lester Medford had 11 points and seven assists.
“That’s life in the Big 12. One game, you start out like crud, and the next game you start out well,” coach Scott Drew said. “I’ll sleep better tonight than I did the other night. But I really thought that Rico set the tone inside and was tremendous on the glass. That was, to me, the difference.”
After Oklahoma State (9-5, 1-1) got within three points midway through the second half, Baylor scored 17 consecutive points. That game-clinching spurt included a 3-pointer by Freeman and, appropriately on this night, a run-ending tip-in by Gathers for a 76-56 lead with just over 3 minutes.
“I ran into him one time and almost fell on the ground. He’s a strong, physical dude. He has that want and that go-get-it,” Cowboys guard Jeffrey Carroll said. “A body like that, you can’t really stop that.”
Gathers had his seventh double-double this season, and the 31st of his career. He had 12 offensive rebounds.
Jeffrey Carroll led the Cowboys with 15 points, and Jeff Newberry had 10. Freshman point guard Jawun Evans had eight points and nine assists.
Freeman had 14 points and Gathers 13 before halftime when Baylor led by as many as 18 points. There were consecutive 3-pointers by Freeman in the first half as part of a quick 10-2 run that ended with him assisting on the second of Gathers’ consecutive baskets.
Oklahoma State was within 59-56 midway through the second half after Carroll made a 3-pointer, and then had a steal that led to a layup by Chris Olivier. Terry Maston responded with consecutive baskets for the Bears to start their 17-0 run.
“This team (Baylor), you could see, was ready to respond from their game on Saturday. They played with a little chip on their shoulder,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford said. “They sustained a pretty good run by us then went on an unbelievable run by themselves.”
PLENTY OF PAINT
Baylor scored 44 points in the paint, and already had 24 by halftime against an Oklahoma State team that was allowing only 24 per game before then. The Cowboys trailed 45-33 at halftime after their previous two opponents finished the game with 43 and 48 points.
Oklahoma St.: The Cowboys are playing the first of consecutive Big 12 road games for the only time this season. The only other time the rest of the season they play back-to-back games on the road will be when they play at Auburn and then Texas Tech. … Oklahoma State still leads the overall series 54-23.
Baylor: The Bears won their 13th consecutive home game. Their last loss in the Ferrell Center had been 74-65 to then-ranked Oklahoma State last Feb. 9. … Baylor has won 24 straight home games against unranked teams since Northwestern won there Dec. 4, 2012.
Oklahoma State: at No. 17 West Virginia.
Baylor: at No. 13 Iowa State on Saturday night.
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