Mario Kegler scored 17 points and Baylor won its fourth straight game by outlasting Alabama 73-68 on Saturday afternoon in SEC/Big 12 Challenge play in Waco, Texas.
The contest featured 12 lead changes and a dozen ties, the last of which came at 61 with 3:34 to play after a floater by the Crimson Tide’s Donta Hall.
Makai Mason pushed Baylor to the lead with a jumper on the ensuing possession, and Devonte Bandoo hit back-to-back buckets to expand the Bears’ advantage to 67-61 with 2:01 remaining.
Two free throws by Kira Lewis Jr. brought the Crimson Tide to within 67-63, but Baylor responded with a dunk by Freddie Gillespie to push the lead back to six. Alabama’s Riley Norris canned a 3-pointer from the corner to make it a one-possession game.
Mason, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, sank a pair of free throws with 24.5 seconds left to give the Bears a five-point cushion.
Baylor (13-6) won by outrebounding the Crimson Tide 35-31, including a 16-9 edge on the offensive glass.
Norris led the Crimson Tide with a season-high 16 points on 4 for 4 shooting from beyond the arc. Tevin Mack and Lewis added 15 points and Hall hit for 11 for Alabama (12-7), which is 2-2 over its last four games.
After a back-and-forth first half, a jumper by Damon Ingram gave Alabama a 26-24 lead with 5:30 remaining until halftime. Baylor responded by scoring 12 of the final 16 points in the half, capped by a dunk by Mark Vital with 22 seconds left, to grab a 36-30 lead at the break.
Kegler led all scorers in the first half with 11 points as the Bears hit just 41 percent of their shots from the floor over the first 20 minutes of play.
Mack paced the Crimson Tide with eight first-half points. Alabama shot 54 percent before the break, but converted only 1 of 7 3-point attempts.
The Crimson Tide opened the second half with a 10-2 run over the first four minutes to take a 40-38 lead.
Baylor returns to the floor on Monday at Oklahoma while Alabama heads home to host No. 22 Mississippi State on Tuesday.
—Field Level Media