WACO, Texas: Freddie Gillespie and the Baylor Bears can now say they have been No. 1 during the season.
“Outside of that, guys have bigger goals,” Gillespie said. “That’s nice, thank God for it, but now just move forward.”
MaCio Teague had 16 points, fellow transfer Davion Mitchell had 13 and Gillespie had a double-double as the Bears won their first-ever home game as the No. 1 team. They held on to beat Oklahoma 61-57 on Monday night, after leapfrogging Gonzaga for the top spot in the new AP Top 25 poll released earlier in the day.
“The Big 12, if you want to win a championship, you’ve got to win your close games. You’ve got to win your homes games, and we did and that’s all that matters,” coach Scott Drew said. “Thanks to everyone for praying on that last shot.”
The Sooners, down by 11 early after halftime, pulled to 59-57 on 3-pointers by Brady Manek and Austin Reaves, and had the ball when Kristian Doolittle got a steal against Baylor guard Jared Butler. But Reaves missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer from the left corner in front of the Oklahoma bench with 6 seconds left.
Baylor (16-1, 6-0 Big 12) won its 15th game in a row, second only to No. 4 San Diego State’s 19 in a row. The Bears are 6-0 in conference play for the first time since winning their first 10 Southwest Conference games in 1948, when they made the national championship game.
Manek had 21 points to lead Oklahoma (12-6, 3-3), following up his career-high 31 points only two days earlier against TCU.
The only other time the Bears reached No. 1 was in the poll released Jan. 9, 2017, and they lost by 21 the next night at No. 10 West Virginia. They rebounded with a win at No. 25 Kansas State, but had slipped to No. 6 by time they returned home the following week.