Baylor Bears

Jalen Bridges’ Near-Perfect Game Didn’t Help Baylor

Jalen Bridges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For a while, Baylor forward Jalen Bridges couldn’t miss. And it was fueling a potential Bears victory over Iowa State.

Then, all of a sudden, the run seemed to end.

The Bears fell to Iowa State, 78-72, in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. For about 30 minutes, Bridges was THE story of the event.


Bridges made his first nine shots, six of which were 3-pointers. He made a free throw. He drained a 3-pointer in rhythm with 16:31 left in the second half that gave Baylor a 50-42 lead. That ended up being Baylor’s biggest lead of the game.

What was working? Everything.

“I was just trying to try with energy, affect the game, and credit to my teammates for finding me when I was open, getting me easy looks,” Bridges said. “And I just knocked them down today.”

Iowa State needed a time out after that Bridges 3-pointer. He made one more basket, another 3-pointer, with 10:06 left in the game. That gave Baylor a 56-54 lead.

After that? Bridges didn’t attempt another shot.

What happened? Iowa State defensive adjustments to hear head coach T.J. Otzelberger tell it.

“We switched more,” Otzelberger said. “We were more conscious with our effort, getting a stick hand up early, trying to make him play inside the 3 (point line). He got going even early in the second half in transition off an offensive rebound. It comes down to being more intentional, sprinting off and  finishing plays. He had a hot hand. We were fortunate in the last 10 minutes or so that we were able to do the job.”


Bridges had a different take. He took 11 shots in the game and made 10 of them. For him, it’s all about shot selection. And the shots that he wanted weren’t there.

“I don’t want to say that they did anything in particular,” Bridges said. “I don’t know. I feel like I don’t try to force shots. Even if I am making shots, I’m going to play within myself. If I only took two shots, then I thought I only had two good ones.”

Good or not, Bridges tailed off at the end of the game, and as the ISU defense clamped down on the rest of the Baylor guards, the Cyclones were able to pull away.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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