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Baylor beats Butler 53-52, snaps Bulldogs’ nine-game winning streak

A last-second desperation shot — one that might have come after buzzer — missed the mark as eighteenth-ranked Butler (9-1) lost for the first this season, dropping a hard-fought 53-52 contest to No. 11 Baylor in a Big East/Big 12 Battle at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, on Tuesday night. 

Butler, which never led in the game and trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half, had a chance to pull ahead with under two seconds remaining, but Kamar Baldwin’s potential game-winning shot was blocked by Baylor’s Mark Vital, a 6-5 redshirt junior from Lake Charles, La.  The Bulldogs, who fouled immediately, attempted one final desperation shot as time expired, but Baldwin’s hurried and awkward shot at the buzzer wasn’t close.

It was Baylor’s third victory this season over a nationally-ranked team.  The Bears had beaten then-17th ranked Villanova 87-78 in the championship game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Nov. 24th and upended 12th-ranked Arizona 63-58 this past Saturday.

The Bears, who could be undefeated were it not for the fact that they went scoreless and squandered a late 10-point lead against Washington while failing to score a field goal in the final five minutes against the Huskies earlier this season, improved to 8-1.

Baldwin, a 6-1 senior guard, led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds while 6-6 senior forward Sean McDermott tallied 16 points, including four 3-pointers, for the visiting Bulldogs, who were trying to improve to 10-0 for the first time since 2006-07.

MaCio Teague and Devonte Bandoo each scored 10 points for Baylor.  Freddie Gillespie, a former walk-on, cleaned the glass for a game-high nine boards for the Bears, who have won seven straight.

Coupled with Louisville’s stunning setback to Texas Tech in the Jimmy V Classic in New York and Maryland’s loss to Penn State earlier Tuesday evening, Butler’s loss leaves only five undefeated teams in Div. I. 

The remaining teams with spotless records are Auburn (8-0), Duquesne (8-0), Liberty (11-0), Ohio State (9-0) and San Diego State (10-0).

Darcy G. Richardson is a historian and the author of more than a dozen books. His latest is Loyola's Improbable Ramblers: 55 Years in the Making, available now on Amazon.

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