- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Baylor nearly pulled off one of the great comebacks of the college basketball season.

The 19th-ranked Bears trailed by 26 points in the first half, rallied to take the lead late in the second half, then lost a 73-71 heartbreaker to No. 6 Oklahoma on Tuesday night.

“I was proud of our comeback,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “A lot of teams would have given up or not come back, divided. Credit our leadership, players for keeping everybody focused and keep ‘em confident. I thought it was a great team effort to come back.”

Buddy Hield scored 23 points, Ryan Spangler had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Isaiah Cousins scored 10 points for Oklahoma (23-6, 11-6 Big 12), which broke a tie with the Bears for third place in the conference and swept the regular-season series.

Taurean Prince and King McClure scored 17 points each for Baylor (21-9, 10-7), which outscored the Sooners 46-27 in the second half. The Bears shot 67 percent in the second half and made 6 of 10 3-point attempts.

Even that wasn’t quite enough.

“What had gotten us the lead was transition, and we stopped pushing when we got the lead,” Drew said.

Oklahoma went on an early 18-0 run and roared to a 26-3 lead on 9-for-13 shooting. Baylor didn’t make its second field goal until more than 9 minutes had passed in the first half.

Baylor rallied to cut Oklahoma’s lead to 32-17, but the Sooners responded with an 8-0 run to regain momentum. The Sooners led 46-25 at halftime after shooting 50 percent overall and from 3-point range. Oklahoma scored 16 points off turnovers before the break.

The Sooners began turning the ball over in the second half and allowed the Bears back into the game. Baylor took a 68-67 lead on a layup by Al Freeman.

The Sooners regained the lead on a jumper by Cousins and a layup by Hield. With the Sooners up 71-68, Baylor turned the ball over, and Hield made two free throws with 17.5 seconds left.

McClure quickly made a layup for Baylor, then Hield missed a free throw, giving the Bears one last chance. The Sooners fouled Prince with 2.4 seconds left. He made the first and missed the second intentionally. Hield got the ball in a scramble, and time expired.

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STAR POWER

Former Oklahoma star Blake Griffin’s jersey was raised in a ceremony at halftime. Griffin was named the AP National Player of the Year in 2008-09 after averaging 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per game and leading the nation in rebounding and double-doubles. … Clark Beckham, last season’s American Idol runner-up, sang the national anthem.

TIP-INS

Baylor: Committed 11 turnovers in the first half and 16 in the game. … Prince made 4 of 8 shots in the first half, but his teammates made just 5 of 19. … Prince moved from 17th to 14th on Baylor’s career scoring list. He has 1,241 points.

Oklahoma: Defeated Baylor 82-72 in Waco on Jan. 23. … Three other seniors were honored during the pregame ceremony - reserves C.J. Cole, Austin Mankin and Dinjiyl Walker. … Hield surpassed Darryl Kennedy and moved up to fourth on Oklahoma’s career list. He has 2,099 points.

UP NEXT

Baylor hosts No. 10 West Virginia on Saturday.

Oklahoma plays at TCU on Saturday.

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.

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