No. 2 Baylor returns with 77-72 win to stay undefeated

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Baylor guard Adam Flagler (10) drives the ball against Iowa State guard Tre Jackson (3) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

WACO, Texas – Baylor coach Scott Drew figures it will take his team some time to get back to normal after a three-week gap between games.

Even so, the No. 2 Bears are still undefeated. They finally overcame some of the rust and Iowa State for a 77-72 victory Tuesday night that made them 18-0 for the first time in school history.

“Really excited to win, really excited to be back,” Drew said. “Obviously does three weeks affect your play? 100 percent.”

Adam Flagler scored a season-high 22 points and Jared Butler had 15 of his 18 points after halftime for the Bears (18-0, 10-0 Big 12), who trailed by 17 in the first half, and never led until MaCio Teague made two free throws with 4:26 left in the game.

They hadn't played since an 83-69 win at then-No. 6 Texas on Feb. 2, when they had matched the best start in school history. Baylor then had six consecutive games postponed because of COVID-19 issues in the program, and hadn't even had another full practice until Sunday.

“The best way I can explain what was going on, guys were out for numerous reasons,” Flagler said. “Spending time apart makes it difficult to practice and everything."

With 6-foot-8 forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua out of the Baylor lineup, Mark Vital had 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Iowa State (2-17, 0-14) jumped out to a 15-4 lead in less than 6 1/2 minutes on a jumper by Tre Jackson. Their biggest lead was 32-15 when Tyler Harris made his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 6:24 left in the first half.