TUCSON, Ariz. — Makai Mason scored 22 points and Baylor dominated the glass to end Arizona’s 52-game home nonconference winning streak with a 58-49 victory at McKale Center Saturday night.
Baylor (6-3) overcame its second straight shaky first half with an overwhelming performance on the boards in coach Scott Drew’s 500th game leading the Bears. Baylor outrebounded Arizona 50-19 and scored 19 second-chance points on 18 offensive rebounds.
Mark Vital had 16 rebounds, including eight offensive, and the Bears made 14 of 21 shots in the second half to pull away.
Arizona (7-4) struggled against Baylor’s zone and couldn’t keep the Bears off the glass to lose at McKale Center for the first time since San Diego State beat the Wildcats there in 2011.
Brandon Randolph had 15 points for Arizona, which was outscored 32-18 in the paint.
These new-look teams were coming off disappointing losses.
Arizona coach Sean Miller criticized his team following Tuesday’s 76-73 loss to Alabama, calling it the Wildcats’ worst game of the season after they had trouble stopping the Tide in transition and cleaning up the defensive glass.
Baylor had an awful first half in an eight-point loss to Wichita State last Saturday, falling into a 33-point hole before rallying within five with 3½ minutes left.
Neither team was sharp in a disjointed first half in the desert.
Baylor had trouble shooting, hitting 8 of 29 from the field.
Arizona had trouble boxing out, allowing the Bears to grab 13 offensive rebounds even with big man Tristan Clark limited to eight minutes due to foul trouble.
The Wildcats led 23-20 after Mason got a short jumper to roll in at the buzzer.
Baylor continued to snare rebounds over the Wildcats and found their shooting range to open the second half, making eight of its first 12 shots to build a 37-31 lead.
The Bears kept making shots and kept Arizona at arm’s length the rest of the way to pick up a huge win.
Baylor’s rebuilding project took a big step forward with a victory in one of college basketball’s toughest road environments.
Arizona’s defensive and rebounding deficiencies were exposed for the second straight game.
Baylor hosts Oregon on Tuesday.
Arizona hosts Montana on Wednesday.