The Dallas Morning News

Chuck Carlton: Terry Maston scored 24 points to help Baylor remain hot, beating Texas Tech 59-57.

Senior from DeSoto puts up 24 points as Bears earn crucial win

- CHUCK CARLTON Twitter: @ChuckCarlt­onDMN

WACO — In his college career, Terry Maston has shown the ability to score — at least for a game.

Duplicatin­g it has been the problem for the Baylor senior from DeSoto, a point that coach Scott Drew made before Saturday’s game with Texas Tech.

“You’ve had big games before,” Drew told Maston, “but coming back and now having back-to-back and being consistent with it, that’s the next level. We’re running out of time, big fella, so we need that consistenc­y.”

Maston delivered 24 points, including the go-ahead basket late, as Baylor took another significan­t step toward the NCAA tournament with a 5957 win over No. 7 Texas Tech.

The Bears (17-10, 7-7 Big 12) have won five straight after a 2-7 start in conference play. A win over Tech will provide a major RPI boost for Baylor, which hosts West Virginia on Tuesday.

“That’s our goal,” Maston said of the NCAA tournament. “We have a couple of games left.”

Texas Tech (22-5, 10-4) saw its seven-game win streak come to end and fell into a tie for first in the Big 12 with Kansas.

More important, point guard and team leader Keenan Evans didn’t play in the second half after suffering what is believed to be a toe injury.

“You’re always concerned,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I hate that. You always want the best players on the floor. … We’ll hope for the best.”

Tech has a short turnaround before playing at Oklahoma State on Monday, then returns home to face Kansas on Feb. 24 with ESPN’s College GameDay headed to Lubbock. Any extended absence for Evans, the second-leading scorer in the Big 12, would be problemati­c.

While Tech played hard, the Red Raiders did not play well, especially in the decisive final few minutes when Evans is typically the focal point of the offense.

Tech missed its final six shots and was scoreless for the final three minutes. After Maston’s jumper gave Baylor a 58-57 lead with 1:26 to play, Texas Tech had three possession­s to regain the lead and really didn’t generate a good look on any of them.

“Just late in the game, our offensive execution just wasn’t good enough,” Beard said. “A lot of that is Keenan not being out there, but other guys have to make that play at the end. And we have to coach better, too.”

Baylor’s performanc­e isn’t bound for the Louvre for framing, either. The Bears shot 25 percent in the second half, and leading scorers Manu Lecomte and Jo Lual-Acuil were a combined 5 of 20 from the field.

Maston’s offense gave Baylor the boost it needed.

“I had a really good first half and then I got cold in the second half, but my teammates still trusted me to give me the ball,” Maston said. “They called a couple of plays for me and I ended up executing down the stretch. I’ve been playing pretty good basketball lately.”

Well, in spurts. This was the first time Maston had reached double-figures scoring in consecutiv­e Big 12 games this season. His previous four games: 23, 6, 4 and 26.

“He’s a guy who looks to me like it’s the end of his career and he’s trying to play another day,” Beard said. “I’ve coached guys like him, and when you find another level at this point of his career, special things happen.”

 ?? Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press ?? Baylor’s Manu Lecomte drives past Tommy Hamilton IV during the second half. The Bears overcame a 3-of-14 shooting night from Lecomte.
Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press Baylor’s Manu Lecomte drives past Tommy Hamilton IV during the second half. The Bears overcame a 3-of-14 shooting night from Lecomte.
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