The Bears won an incredible and hard-fought game in Provo against a gritty BYU team. Despite playing poor defense the first half and at one point being out-rebounded 14-0, the Bears survived to get a huge victory that will surely pay dividends down the road. Here are five rapid reaction observations after the game.
1. The Bears can fill it up from outside. Baylor shot 52% (13-25) from beyond the arc. The Canadian Brady Heslip led the way hitting 6 of 10 and transfer Gary Franklin hit two huge 3s in his first action this season.
3. Perry Jones III is an absolute beast. Finishing with 26 pts., 8 rbs, and 4 asts, PJ3 showed the whole package today hitting two 3s, consistently hitting mid-range shots, and converted several second chance points, including a critical tip-in that put the Bears up by 3 with under 30 seconds left. He was much more aggressive and showed why he will be a top 3 lottery pick.
4. The Bears depth is going to cause teams fits. Not only are we rotating a ton of guys in in the front court, but our depth in the back court received a big boost with Gary Franklin becoming eligible. The Bears can now play 3 PGs and rotate Heslip, Walton, and Bello at the 2.
5. The Bears have got to do a better job of blocking out. BYU simply out-hustled the Bears in the first half, but Baylor played much stronger D in the second half and turned several offensive rebounds into points down the stretch.
These Bears are resilient. Baylor only won 2 games on the road last year. Winning in Provo is next to impossible and this game will prepare the Bears for playing at the PHOG, Bramlage, and Mizzou in Big XII play. The Bears took a giant step today, but there is plenty to work on before Big XII play opening Big XII play against the Aggies (who are getting torched in Evansville) in Waco on January 2nd