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Daily Bears Report 11/16

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OBF’s 100th DBR brings us more Baylor sports stuff.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Baylor
7’0” Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Women's Volleyball, at TCU, 7:00 PM, Listen

Volleyball

  • Baylor volleyball (20-8, 8-4) treks north to face the TCU Horned Frogs (11-12, 4-9) today at 7 p.m. in the University Recreation Center in Ft. Worth. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Baylor will go for the season sweep over TCU, a first for the program since the 2012 season.

With TCU checking in at No. 28, the Bears can add a crucial win for its standing in the RPI, as the program continues to strive for its first postseason berth since 2011.

With a 16-game conference schedule, BU could pick up its ninth Big 12 win of the season, locking in a winning record in conference play for the first time since going 11-9 in 2009, and for just the third time in the program’s history.

The two sides faced back on Oct. 5 of this season, with BU securing a three-set sweep over the Horned Frogs.

BU holds the advantage in the all-time series, leading 11-6 overall, but trailing 3-4 in Ft. Worth.

For this and all other Baylor road matches, fans can tune into the live internet radio broadcast on BaylorBears.com/allaccess.

  • Baylor volleyball has three student-athletes represented on the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Volleyball Team. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Jana Brusek, Ashley Fritcher, and Katie Staiger were all named to the 49-member first team, with Baylor placing at least three on the first team list for the fifth-consecutive season.

Staiger (Sports, Sponsorship, & Sales), a redshirt junior, earns her third Academic All-Big 12 first team honors, while Brusek (Biology), a junior, earns her second.

Fritcher (Speech Pathology), a sophomore, earned her first Academic All-Big 12 honors in her first year eligible for the award.

All three student-athletes earned spots on the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie team in their respective freshman seasons.

First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA while the second team selections hold a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.

To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team’s scheduled contests.

Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.

Basketball

Scott Drew has pieced together a bona fide team.

Throughout the game the Bears displayed excellent teamwork on both ends of the floor that helped Johnathan Motley, Manu Lecomte, and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. to stand out. Motley (17 Pts, 6 Rebs) and Lecomte (18 Pts, 4-5 3PT, 7 Ast) came away as Baylor’s only double-digit scorers, but 6 players recorded assists while as a team the Bears assisted 19 of their 25 makes.

On the other end, Lual-Acuil tallied 7 blocks, a number that surpassed Baylor’s team steal total by 2. He paired that with 14 total rebounds, 8 on the defensive end. Last season, the Bears dearly missed an inside defensive presence. Lual-Acuil might be the key to reestablishing Baylor’s zone defense.

Beating No. 4 Oregon, 66-49, Tuesday afternoon as part of the ESPN College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon is the gift that will keep on giving all year long.

"It really helps RPI-wise for the rest of the year," Drew said, "because Oregon is a team that's going to win a lot of games. So, this is one of those wins that helps you all year long. We've been ranked in the top 25 the last nine years. This year, we haven't gotten a single vote (in the polls). I think people out there will know that we've still got a pretty good team. Now, you've got to deal with handling some success."

Oregon (1-1) was playing without preseason All-American Dillon Brooks, but the Ducks returned three other starters from last year's Elite Eight team that handed Baylor (2-0) a 74-67 loss 367 days ago in Eugene.

"There's no doubt he's a good player," Oregon coach Dana Altman said of Brooks, who had offseason foot surgery, "but we've got some other good players that didn't play very well. . . . We've got to do a better job, we've got to play better, guys have got to make plays."

At No. 4, Oregon is the highest-ranked non-conference opponent Baylor has ever beaten at home. The Bears beat then-No. 3 Arkansas, 82-77, on Feb. 10, 1990 in a Southwest Conference game.

"This is what you live for," said 7-foot junior center Jo Lual-Acuil, who had eight points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks. "If you're not going to be excited about this, you should be doing different things."

Football

“They have always done a nice job being able to prepare young guys in their program at the quarterback position,” Coach Bill Snyder said. “You get a chance to watch him (Smith) in a number of ballgames that he has played and look at some of the things he has done in regards to throwing the football and I was impressed with the velocity he can put on the ball. His accuracy is not bad. He has thrown the ball in some good places.

“The key element is he looks like he plays with a great deal of poise, he doesn’t rush himself and he seems to be mentally into the ballgame so it might be a little bit easier for him than it might be for others (true freshmen).”

Coach Jim Grobe also cited Smith’s poise upon entering the Oklahoma game in an emergency situation.

“The thing I like about him is he didn’t look like a freshman, as far as his demeanor on the field,” Grobe said. “He has a lot of work to do this week in getting comfortable with everything we’re going to ask him to do, but the thing I liked best about him is he didn’t have that deer-in-the-headlight look. Sometimes you put a true freshman out there in that situation and they are a little gun-shy but I thought he seemed very mature for a young kid and seemed to handle the position he was put in really well.”

  • At this time last year, Grandview’s Zach Smith was getting ready to lead the Zebras into a Class 3A area high school playoff game against East Chambers. From the Cleburne Times Review dot com.

Now, Smith is preparing to make his first college start for Baylor against Kansas State on Saturday.

In emergency relief following Russell’s injury against the Sooners, Smith showed impressive poise as a true freshman in front of more than 86,000 fans in Norman. Smith went 6-of-15 passing for 144 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown pass to KD Cannon, as well as a one-yard rushing touchdown.

“Nerves were high as usual,” Smith told reporters after the game. “But I prepared for it all off season and fall camp, knowing something might happen. It’s a lot different than practice. But when you go in there and get some snaps down everything calms down.”

Smith says he'll be nervous Saturday when he makes his first college start against Kansas State. His teammates have a lot of confidence in him, citing his strong arm, maturity, and intelligence as reasons they think he can have success even as a freshman.

Baylor acting head coach Jim Grobe echoed those thoughts on Monday and says Smith's maturity gives him confidence going forward.

Baylor, which spent the first half of the season amassing a head of steam, has run out of gas. And now it’s up to Jim Grobe, who has limited history with this roster, to find a way to motivate these Bears down the stretch. The team has lost three straight, the last two to Oklahoma and TCU in lopsided fashion. K-State is coming off a bye week that allowed the team to recharge and refocus on the remainder of the regular season. The Cats have three shots to win the one game needed to qualify for a seventh bowl game in a row under Bill Snyder.

Bryce Petty

Bryce Petty is preparing to put on his cowboy boots and head back to Texas.

The Jets quarterback, and former Baylor star, is focused right now on spending time with his family, and he insists he’s not anxious about the looming quarterback decision.

“I’m here to play football. Again, for me, it’s control what you can control,” Petty said Tuesday when asked about his status when the Jets return from their bye week. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, to be a good teammate, I have to be a better quarterback than I was yesterday, today. That part doesn’t change, whatever is going on.”

The 25-year-old went from the No. 2 to first-time NFL starter this past Sunday against the Rams because of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s sprained left knee. But with a week and a half until their matchup with the rival Patriots (7-2), Fitzpatrick might very well be healthy enough to play.

Baylor Regents to Publish Future Meeting Agendas and Minutes On-Line

  • Baylor University’s board of regents will publicize agendas and minutes for all future quarterly meetings, Chairman Ron Murff said yesterday. From the Waco Tribune Herald.

Murff said the decision to post agendas and minutes came out of internal conversations between the board’s executive committee and governance committee. Past agendas and minutes will not be posted, and the new protocol will start with the board’s February meeting.

The change comes days after the first meeting of Bears for Leadership Reform, a group of powerful Baylor donors and alumni who criticized regents for their response to a sexual assault scandal that has rocked the university for more than a year.

“From my perspective and from our perspective, we take seriously the input that they can provide,” Murff said of the group. “We recognize that many of them are former board members. Many of them are very accomplished in their fields. We know they love Baylor. We know they have Baylor’s best interest in their minds.”