WACO, Texas (AP) Freshman Ja’Kobe Walter scored all 14 of his points in the second half to lift No. 14 Baylor to a 62-59 win over Cincinnati on Saturday night to stay atop the Big 12 standings with a 3-0 record.

Walter helped seal the win for the Bears (14-2, 3-0 Big 12) with a pair of free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining after drawing a foul following Simas Lukosius’ missed 3-pointer. Lukosius also missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

“It was a big key defending him,” Cincinnati coach Wes Miller said of Walter. “Defending him at the 3-point line was a massive key. I thought John Newman was terrific on him. Then we made some errors getting through some screens later in the game and gave him some good looks.”

Baylor withstood a 24-point performance by Cincinnati’s Dan Skillings Jr. and Day Day Thomas added 15.

Langston Love contributed 14 points for Baylor and RayJ Dennis collected 11 points and nine assists.

“We just got the rebounds and we made free throws when we needed to make them down the stretch,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to learn a lot during this season and the Big 12 helps you do that. Hopefully if you’re blessed to get to postseason, you’ve seen and experienced tight games and you know what you need to do. Doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win, but at least that experience is something that is beneficial.”

Tied 27-27 at halftime, the Bearcats (12-4, 1-2) took the ball to the basket forcefully to open the second half as Viktor Lakhin got in the paint twice for baskets while Thomas and Skillings also scored inside to open up a 38-31 lead.

But the Bears answered with an 11-0 run to grab a 42-38 edge as Walter scored his first points of the game by nailing a pair of free throws and driving inside for a basket.

Baylor switched into a zone defense that seemed to baffle the Bearcats, who didn’t score for more than six minutes before Skillings drained a 3-pointer to cut Baylor’s lead to 44-41 with 10:01 remaining.

After the Bears stretched their lead to 59-50, Skillings scored seven straight points for the Bearcats as he nailed a 3-pointer, drove for a basket and buried a pair of free throws with 2:20 remaining.


The Bearcats managed to slow the tempo against the Bears, who came into the game leading the Big 12 with an 87.6 scoring average. Baylor shot 46% compared to Cincinnati’s 39%.

Baylor matched the Bearcats 32-32 on the boards. The Bearcats entered the game as the Big 12’s top rebounding team with a plus-12.8 margin.

“Just had to focus, we’ve been doing a lot of drills because we know how physical they are,” said Walter, who collected seven rebounds. “We just had to not only match it but be tougher than them. Our motto is toughest team wins. We just had that mindset every time on defense and we just knew we had to box out and get the rebound.”


Cincinnati: Hosts TCU on Tuesday.

Baylor: Visits Kansas State on Tuesday.


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