The Baylor Bears came out and punched Xavier in the mouth, and for the rest of the game Xavier just kept trying to get up off the ground. The Bears led this game throughout, but this was no cake walk. They held off several Xavier runs after extending the lead up to 18 points at one time in the first half. A 5 minute drought let the Musketeers right back into the game, but the Bears always seemed to do just enough to keep the game out of reach.
Baylor was led by Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson, each getting double doubles (Acy - 20 points, 15 rebounds, Jackson- 16 points, 10 assists). There have been quite a few commentators out there saying that Perry Jones III needed to step up after the first two games, but Quincy Acy had struggled in Albuquerque as well. Acy totaled just 11 points and 13 rebounds (Perry had 9 points and 15 rebounds.
However, in this game, the big men came through on both sides of the court. In addition to the stellar line Acy had, Jones III had a wonderfully efficient night, shooting 7-8 from the floor for 14 points to go along with 5 rebounds, and some pretty good defense.
Baylor started the game on a 22-4 run, showing the country exactly how good they could be. They came out in a very active man defense and forced 4 quick turnovers. They also moved the ball extraordinarily well, and had 5 assists on their first 6 shots. They made 10 of their first 12 shots. They moved ball in transition and got the ball to the open man.
Xavier however, would not be going away easily in this game. They attacked the Baylor guards on defense, especially Brady Heslip, and got into the paint and to the line. Before the Musketeers started having to foul, they were +10 on points from the free throw line. They also got their big boy, Kenny Frease, open down low several times and put the Bears into foul trouble. When Quincy Acy went out of the game with his second foul, Xavier made its run.
Everytime though, the Bears answered. Xavier would get it to within 4 a few times before the final minute, but Baylor always had an answer. Either it was a Pierre Jackson 3-pointer from the top of the circle, a Anthony Jones 3-pointer from the wing, a Perry Jones III jumper, a Quincy Acy dunk, or even 4 perfect Brady Heslip free throws late; the Bears answered.
Taking a look at the keys, I don't know if I have ever guessed a score so closely, and yet gotten almost all of the keys wrong. I was just 1-point off (guessed 75-69, final was 75-70).
Keys to the Game:
1. Convert those 3-pointers
Baylor ended up 5-15 this game from behind the 3-point line, but held Xavier to just 3-15. However, Xavier started 0-11 and did not get it going until the last minute of the game. The Musketeers did an excellent job of chasing Brady Heslip all around the court, and working around all of our different types of screens.
We run so many types of plays to get Brady open, that sometimes it is really fun to just re-watch the game and follow Brady on offense only. Well, maybe it is just fun for me. Brady was just 1-3 from behind the arc. The Bears ended up only getting 2 more three-pointers than Xavier, but it felt like a lot more to me.
2. Get Perry going Early
Perry played within himself for most of the game, and took what Xavier gave to him. However, for a brief stretch in the 2nd half, he took over the game. He had 6 points in a row for the Bears, 4 of which came on dunks. He had a few rebounds and some good defensive plays as well in that stretch and showed how great he can be. While he did not do it early, his impact was on this win.
We can beat a lot of good teams with this version of Perry. However, the tantalizing thing about his game is, there is more there for him to offer.
3. Win the glass
Baylor extended their lead on the glass late, while Xavier really hung around and even outrebounded the Bears for a good part of the game. They ended up +6 on the glass, and had just 7 offensive rebounds. It was tough for Baylor to get too many offensive rebounds early, as they just weren't missing any shots, which is never a bad thing.
When the bears needed a big rebound though they got them. Quincy Acy had several large ones late, especially off of a missed front end free throw from Tu Holloway. the Bears always seemed to get the most important ones.
4. Keep Holloway under wraps
Holloway ended up with a game high 22 points, however 10 of those points came in the last 1:29 of the game. The Bears really held him in check, and credit goes to Deuce Bello and AJ Walton. Deuce played a very effective 15 minutes, almost exclusively covering Tu Holloway, who was held to just 6-13 from the field, but 9-10 from the charity stripe. We saw how dangerous Holloway can be in the last 90 seconds, so it was a good thing he was very quiet before that.
The Musketeers really attacked whoever Heslip was guarding. They would run a simple isolation play and have Mark Lyons take him off the dribble. Lyons really did this well in the middle part of the second half, but once the Bears switched A.J. Walton or Bello on him, the Bears were able to extend the lead back up to 13, before the late game barrage of turnovers brought the lead back down to three.
5. Zone it up Bears!
Well, I was just wrong on this one. The Bears played maybe 1-2 minutes of zone the whole game. Their man defense was really good at times tonight, however it did foul a bit more than you would like and let Xavier get to the free throw line, where they shot 19-24.