By SCHUYLER DIXON , AP Sports Writer
WACO, Texas (AP) — Mario Kegler scored 17 points, Makai Mason had 13 along with the bucket that put Baylor ahead for good and the Bears beat Alabama 73-68 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
Mason, the former Yale player and first graduate transfer at Baylor, hit a fadeaway jumper that broke the last of nine ties in the second half and gave the Bears a 63-61 lead.
Baylor (13-6) pushed the lead to six when Devonte Bandoo hit a jumper directly off an inbounds pass after a close possession call went to the Bears. Bandoo then stole a pass and hit a layup in transition. Those were all four of Bandoo’s points.
Riley Norris made all four of his 3-pointers and scored 16 points for the Crimson Tide (12-7), including a 3 that kept it a one-possession game at 69-66 with 31 seconds left. Tevin Mack and Kira Lewis Jr. had 15 apiece for Alabama.
Mason made two free throws to get the lead back to five, and Lewis missed a layup at the other end as the Bears won their fourth straight game and improved to 5-1 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. It was Alabama’s first loss in three challenge games.
Baylor’s Jared Butler hit two quick 3s early against the school he chose but never played for after getting his release from Alabama last year and the chance to play right away as a freshman for the Bears. But he had just three points the rest of the way, finishing with nine, while leading the Bears with five assists.
Donta Hall had 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide answered a Baylor surge at the end of the first half by scoring the first seven points of the second half for a 37-36 lead. Neither team led by more than four until the Bears’ 6-0 run for the 67-61 lead with 2:01 remaining.
Baylor: With a boost from Butler joining the starting lineup because of Tristan Clark’s season-ending knee injury, the Bears went in on a strong three-game run of 3-point shooting at 42 percent after being at 29 percent through 15 games. It was back the old form against the Crimson Tide at 6 of 22 (27 percent).
Alabama: No. 22 Mississippi State at home Tuesday.
Baylor: At Oklahoma on Monday.