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Top Three Takeaways From Tuesday’s Big 12 Basketball Games

Here are three takeaways from Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball on Tuesday, as there were three men’s games and one women’s game on the schedule.

So what happened? We had another Top 25 matchup in Provo, two Texas-based teams were fighting for seeding and the OU women got back on track.

Here are three thoughts on the day.

 

Cougar Town

We know what BYU is about at this point — it’s the 3-point shot. When BYU is firing from the arc the Cougars are hard to beat.

Well, guess what? The Cougars beat the Baylor Bears, 78-71, on 39% 3-point shooting, including some key 3-pointers late in the game.

It wasn’t the only reason the Cougars won the game. They outrebounded Baylor, 39-30. The Cougars also owned second-chance points, 20-4. The Bears shot 49% from the field.

That’s why what the Cougars did from the arc was so important. When BYU shoots better than 35% from there, it tends to win. Below that, it tends to lose. Since BYU is so 3-point dependent, it’s a clear line of demarcation.

 

BYU was well above the line on Tuesday. Jaxson Robinson hit some key free throws late and finished with 16 points. Aly Khalifa hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points, while Trevin Knell scored 13 points, including a key late 3-pointer.

Jalen Bridges led Baylor with 15 points, while Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter each had 13 points. Jayden Nunn had a somewhat human game by his recent standards, fouling out with nine points.

This was a key result in the conference and you’ll see why below.

Drama in Lubbock

TCU’s game with Texas Tech in Lubbock on Tuesday was important. The winner would move into a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 standings. Or at least that how’s it looked going into the game. As Baylor’s loss wrapped up, it meant the winner would move into a tie for third place.

The game came down to the wire. TCU cut Texas Tech’s lead to one point, 80-79, with 14 seconds left and Texas Tech’s Pop Issacs was fouled to stop the clock with 12.7 seconds left. Isaacs made both free throws and pushed Tech back to a 3-point lead. TCU’s Jameer Nelson Jr’s 3-pointer aired out and JaKobe Coles made the basket to cut it to one point with 1.4 seconds left.

But that wasn’t enough. Isaacs took the inbounds pass and held it to finish the game as Tech won, 82-81.

Isaacs ended up with 19 points for Tech, including an 11-for-12 night at the free-throw line. Darrion Williams, Joe Toussaint and Kerwin Walton had 14 points each.

 

TCU had six players in double figures — Emanuel Miller and Avery Anderson III with 15 points each, Nelson with 14, and Micah Peavy, Coles and Essam Mostafa with 10 points each. TCU had the edge in many statistical categories, except at the free throw line, where Tech went 24-of-28 and TCU went 16-of-21. That proved to be the difference.

Meanwhile, out in Morgantown, West Virginia defeated UCF, 77-67. RaeQuan Battle scored 24 points, Jesse Edwards had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Quinn Slazinski had 14 points.

What really hurt UCF was 33% shooting and 24% from the 3-point line, as Darius Johnson led UCF with 29 points, including five three-pointers. UCF made only four additional 3-pointers. UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said after the game that the Knights settled for too many 3-pointers.

Sooners Outlast Bearcats

Oklahoma rebooted its winning streak on Tuesday, but Cincinnati did all it could to keep up with the Sooners before falling, 95-87.

OU is used to scoring points like this. But Cincinnati? The Bearcats scored 87 points against Howard in non-conference. But the most points the Bearcats scored against a high-major program before Tuesday was their 72 points in a loss to TCU last weekend.

Keeping up with Oklahoma offensively is hard to do, but the Bearcats did so behind 20 points from Jillian Hayes, 18 points from Malea Williams, and 18 points from A’riel Jackson.

But OU is a green-light team offensively and the Sooners led nearly the entire game. Skylar Vann scored 22 points, with six assists and five rebounds. Sahara Williams and Lexy Keys added 17 points each, while Aubrey Joens added 10 points. The Sooners held the Bearcats at bay thanks to 50% shooting and, possibly more importantly, 24 points off 19 Cincinnati turnovers.

The win kept the Sooners a game up on the Big 12 no matter what happens during Wednesday’s games. Oklahoma also clinched one of the four double-byes in the Big 12 Tournament, and if the tournament started now the Sooners would be the No. 1 seed.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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