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Baylor Basketball

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

November 21, 2022

When giving thanks later this week, don’t forget to shout out Scott Drew and Baylor Men’s Basketball. As campus hits Thanksgiving break, hoops bring hope, while football brings more heartbreak. 

Here’s a look at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from last week in Baylor Athletics. 

The Good 

Fun Atmosphere — That wasn’t the sendoff anyone would have liked for Baylor Football on Saturday, but even with some empty seats and plenty of purple, I enjoyed the fun atmosphere at McLane. The Bears fans in attendance did their thing and understood the need for energy and support. To whom it may concern, that mattered to many people and this team, even if the final score was a bummer. That was good college football. 

Big Hoops Win — Scott Drew and the Bears went 2-1 on the week, bouncing back from their first loss by earning a top-ten win over #8 UCLA in Las Vegas on Sunday. LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler led the way. In addition, there were positive contributions across the roster, from freshmen Keyonte George and Josh Ojianwuna to transfer newcomer Caleb Lohner and veteran Dale Bonner. The Virginia loss was frustrating and under some unique circumstances. But, overall, a productive trip for the Bears, who will take on McNeese State this Wednesday at the Ferrell Center. The UCLA victory was a much-needed palette cleanser after a rough couple of weeks for Baylor Athletics supporters.

Elsewhere Around Campus: 

Baseball — First-year head coach Mitch Thompson signed 13 players in his first class at the helm, including 12 from the state of Texas. 

T&F — Michael Ford’s track program announced six new signees joining the rosters next fall. 

WBB — #17 women’s hoops earned a close win over SMU thanks to a critical corner three from freshman Bella Fontleroy after losing star transfer Aijha Blackwell to injury earlier in the game. And while this program is beyond moral victories, with Blackwell out, the Bears nearly took down #19 Maryland on Sunday at home. They’ll next take part in the Gulf Coast Showcase out in Florida. Up first, a matchup with Saint Louis at 11 am on Black Friday. 

Equestrian — #8 EQ defeated Fresno State, 11-7, to close their fall schedule. 

Volleyball  — #15 VB beat Iowa State 3-1 in Ames before falling on the road against #1 Texas, 3-1. Ryan McGuire’s team will close the regular season with Senior Day on Saturday afternoon vs. Kansas State. 

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad 

TCU Loss — That was brutal. Not only did your arch-rival keep their perfect dream alive, but they did so at your expense, again, at your place, on your Senior Day, with prominent FOX in town. Kansas State was ugly; this was heartbreaking. The effort was there, the opportunity within reach, and they couldn’t close the deal. This team couldn’t make one more play, one more first down, one more stop — several missed opportunities. You’d hope this serves as a valuable learning lesson for the future of this club, but what exactly, I don’t know. 

Shapen & Grimes — I understand some of the criticisms, although not so much the vitriol and demands I occasionally see in the fandom. But yes, I agree there was plenty of room for disappointment and frustration after Saturday’s loss, thanks to some questionable strategy or poor execution in key moments. It wasn’t a day without any success, however. After all, Baylor had opportunities to win this game in multiple ways at different times, and no side or player, or coach could seal the deal. 

Virginia — MBB was up at the break and had their opportunities against the #16 Cavaliers but were overwhelmed in the second half, particularly during the Cavs’ 21-2 scoring stretch. The definition of a contest directly impacted by real emotions as the Cavs competed days removed from the tragic campus shooting that left three UVA football players dead. These are truly awful circumstances, but hats off to Virginia and the Bears. Superficially, a big win you missed out on by not playing your best. However, they turned around and responded well. 

Aijha Blackwell  — The Bears’ pivotal star transfer from Mizzou suffered an undisclosed lower leg injury against SMU. Nicki Collen disclosed that Blackwell has yet to sign an injury waiver allowing her to discuss the official diagnosis. I’m beyond trying to translate the tweets of college athletes or high school recruits, but Blackwell did tweet this.

At some point, we’ll have to hear word on the injury and what could be an extensive time on the sideline, if not all season. Once we get the word, depending on the outcome, this could get moved to The Ugly category. 

Home Field Disadvantage — The effort was there on Saturday, and the Bears should, could, would have walked away with a victory if one or two things had gone differently. But that’s not how it works. We’ll see what happens in Austin, but ultimately, Aranda’s Bears were able to handle most of their business on the road in 2022. In that way, offseason focus and prep paid off. But, this team’s lack of home-field success was hugely disappointing, to be sure, as they finished 3-3 with two crushing losses to close the schedule at McLane. Albany and Texas State gave them a 2-0 home start, but Kansas was the only conference W. The three losses were all Top 25 opportunities, losing by 11 to #9 Oklahoma State, by 28 to #19 Kansas State, and by *sigh* just one point to #4 TCU. Unfortunately, the crowd’s got little return results-wise for their efforts in the more significant contests at McLane Stadium this season, but that makes the next big victory that much sweeter when it does finally happen again. 

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

The Ugly 

End-of-Game Execution — There are many words already written about the closing stretch for the Bears, particularly the final two offensive drives — both three and outs — and the inability to make a play elsewhere on defense. The last several minutes of this game were just a slow death. The Bears’ offense had two drives to salt away the game but couldn’t get one more first down, and the defense couldn’t bail them out with one final stop. 

TCU Dominance — If the roles reversed, TCU would have won that game by double digits, smashing Baylor’s hopes and dreams, and we all know that to be true. At this point, the Horned Frogs’ current run of football success in this rivalry is beyond embarrassing. In some ways explainable, and in other ways, wholly perplexing and frustrating. 

Uncatchable — That was a completely bogus pass interference call on Mark Milton in the second quarter. That was a timely decision that can make me question everything and assume the worst were I to give in to conspiracy brain. Quentin Johnston is a great receiver, but unless he’s secretly Mr. Fantastic or had a jetpack, there was no chance he could catch the ball Max Duggan threw his way. A total bailout for TCU on third down that resulted in a touchdown in a game they won by one point. 

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

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