Baylor's season hit a low point on Tuesday night. The Bears lost at home to West Virginia, their fifth defeat in a row, to drop to 1-6 in the Big 12. Having a chance to defend last season's NIT title wasn't even a guarantee.
And this was the upcoming schedule: at Oklahoma, vs. Kansas, at Oklahoma. A 1-9 league start wasn't remotely far-fetched.
And then on Saturday morning, word came down that point guard Kenny Chery was injured and wouldn't play against Oklahoma State. Things looked bleak.
Of course, in a season of surprises, Baylor went into Stillwater and came out with a 76-70 win – a win that could save the Bears' season and turn things around in Waco.
Brady Heslip knocked down six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points, while Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers combined for 25 points and 19 points down low. Baylor shot 51.9 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from 3-point range.
Baylor isn't out of the woods yet, obviously. The Bears could just as easily still lose to Kansas at home on Tuesday and then at Oklahoma next Saturday. With that said, this win has to give Baylor confidence moving forward – and that confidence is much-needed with the Jayhawks coming to town. The Bears lost by 10 in Lawrence a couple of weeks ago, but there were positive signs. Isaiah Austin and Jefferson have the size inside to compete with Joel Embid and Perry Ellis, although they cant allow Kansas to shoot 68 percent from 2-point range again.
Point guard play will be a key going forward, especially if Chery misses another game with his foot injury. Gary Franklin knocked down three 3-pointers and dished out five assists – he and Chery have to take care of the ball and make good decisions.
If Baylor can win one of its next two games, there's a pocket to go on a little bit of a run. The Bears travel to TCU, and then host Kansas State and Oklahoma State. It's not an easy stretch, but Baylor obviously has far more optimism than it did going into the weekend.