Texas Tech's smothering, relentless defense frustrated Baylor star Jared Butler for most of the first 35 minutes on Saturday when the two teams collided in a top-15 matchup in Lubbock.
Butler didn't let his entire day get ruined, though, and helped make sure the 2nd-ranked Bears remained unbeaten this season.
In a gritty defensive showdown, Baylor scratched out a 68-60 victory to stay alone in first place in the rugged Big 12 Conference. It was the Bears' first victory of the season that wasn't settled by double digits.
Held scoreless much of the day, Butler triggered a timely burst for the Bears (12-0, 5-0 Big 12) when he zipped a pass to Davion Mitchell for a fast-break 3-pointer that gave Baylor a 49-45 lead with 5:38 to go. Moments later, Butler ended his personal drought by burying a 3-pointer, then hit another stepback trey off the dribble at the 3:50 juncture that gave the Bears a 56-49 advantage.
Mitchell led Baylor with 19 points and MaCio Teague contributed 12. Those two combined to knock down 12-of-23 floor shots. Adam Flagler had 15 points, and Butler finished with seven.
Mac McClung remained red-hot for 15th-ranked Texas Tech (11-4, 4-3) with 24 points and was 4-for-11 from 3-point territory. But McClung was the only Red Raider who made more than one long-range jumper as they went 6-for-24 from outside the arc. That was part of a tough 35.5 percent shooting day (22 of 62).
Despite those shooting woes, Texas Tech charged back to erase a 26-18 halftime deficit and took a 35-34 lead on Marcus Santos-Silva's free at the 14:16 mark. Micah Peavey hit a driving layup for a 37-34 advantage -- matching Baylor's biggest deficit this season -- before the Bears regained their footing.
Teague scored six of Baylor's next eight points, with his jumper putting his team back in front 42-40. It wasn't until Butler's late burst that the Bears finally carved out some breathing room.
Baylor carved out the halftime advantage in a defensive slugfest for the opening 20 minutes. The Bears shot only 35.7 percent (10 of 28) but did connect on 5-of-13 from deep. Texas Tech struggled even more, missing 22 of 30 floor shots and turning the ball over 11 times.
--Field Level Media