Baylor got an eyeful of what made Shannon Bogues so special at McLennan Community College for two seasons.
In the final 40 seconds, Bogues drained a heavily guarded 3-pointer and then drove nearly the length of the court for a layup at the buzzer as Stephen F. Austin stunned Baylor, 59-58, on Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center.
Three days after snapping Arizona’s 52-game home nonconference winning streak, the Bears (6-4) didn’t play with nearly the same energy and passion against SFA (6-4), a team that’s been banged up by injuries all year.
“As exciting as the last game was, this is as disappointing,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew. “We couldn’t throw it in the ocean, we couldn’t hit free throws and we turned it over. You’re not going to win close games unless you hit free throws, and that’s something we have to get better at.”
SFA coach Kyle Keller felt the Bears would be vulnerable after such a big road win at Arizona.
“We played them after they beat Arizona there, and how many people patted them on the back?” Keller said. “The hardest game they played this year is this one. They’ve got nine new players and they had never experienced anything like that. It just went our way. This isn’t going to happen one in 100 times.”
The Lumberjacks have made the NCAA tournament four of the last five years, and Bogues was a key component for last year’s team that won the Southland Conference tournament title. The former Killeen Ellison star played for MCC for two years before signing with SFA last season.
Against the Bears, the senior point guard collected 21 points and five assists while draining four of nine 3-pointers. His last two baskets were his biggest.
With Baylor leading 58-54, Bogues buried a long 3-pointer over Baylor guard Makai Mason with 40 seconds remaining.
Baylor worked down the clock before Mason missed a jumper that was rebounded by Kevon Harris, who got the ball to Bogues. With the Bears failing to get back on defense, Bogues drove down the left side of the court and scooped a bank shot off the backboard for the game winner with no time remaining.
“It’s special,” Bogues said. “I got to see a whole bunch of family. It felt like home as soon as we touched down.”
The Bears lost despite a 24-point performance by forward Tristan Clark, who hit all nine of his field goal attempts. But the rest of the team hit just 12 of 46 shots. The Bears hit 12 of 21 free throws and committed 18 turnovers.
“We definitely weren’t as energized as we were at Arizona,” Drew said. “As a coach, you know how good SFA is and know the margin of victory is thin at any level of basketball. That’s why we hoped to get a big enough lead where something at the end of game doesn’t affect you.”
With Clark hitting five of six shots and scoring 13 points, the Bears went into halftime with a 33-25 lead.
The Bears and Lumberjacks traded baskets throughout much of the first half until the Bears took command with an 11-0 run to grab a 29-21 edge.
Clark started the stretch with a pair of free throws and then stepped outside and nailed a shot. Mason followed with a runner from the baseline.
After Mason missed a layup, Mark Vital was there for the offensive rebound and basket. King McClure followed with a 3-pointer near the top of the arc to give the Bears an eight-point lead.
But the Bears went cold to open the second half and watched Bogues get hot.
Bogues scored the first nine points of the second half to give the Lumberjacks a 34-33 lead.
After driving for a basket and drawing a foul, Bogues hit the free throw to complete the three-point play. Then he stepped outside and drained a pair of 3-pointers before the Bears scored their first point of the second half.
Clark continued his remarkable shooting by taking an inbounds pass from Mason and hitting an off-balanced shot. Matthew Mayer followed with a 3-pointer to stretch Baylor’s lead to 38-34.
But the Lumberjacks kept coming back as Davonte Fitzgerald scored eight straight points on three baskets in the paint and a pair of free throws to take a 42-40 lead.