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Daily Bears Report 11/23

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Battle for Atlantis starts at 1:30 p.m CT.

NCAA Basketball: Florida Gulf Coast at Baylor Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events,

Baylor Athletics Update (From Tuesday)

Men’s Basketball

The Baylor men’s basketball team will celebrate Thanksgiving in the Bahamas, but the players won’t be spending most of their time partying on the beach. WacoTrib’s John Werner has this story at BearsExtra.

“It’s one of the premier exempt tournaments in the country, one of the hardest to get into,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew. “Every year, the teams that are in there have chances to win a national championship, go to a Final Four. It’s so highly thought of in the coaching realm of things, they really run it first class.”

If the Bears beat VCU, they’ll play Thursday at 11 a.m. against the No. 24 Michigan State-St. John’s winner. The first-round losers will play at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Wednesday’s other first-round matchups are Wichita State against LSU and No. 10 Louisville against Old Dominion. The championship game is set for Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Baylor’s hot start has been led by a pair of newcomers – point guard Manu Lecomte and 7-0 center Jo Lual-Acuil. After sitting out last year following his transfer from Miami, Lecomte is averaging a team-high 16.7 points and 7.3 assists while nailing eight of 18 3-pointers.

Lual-Acuil, a junior college transfer who sat out last year due to a heart issue, is averaging 10.7 points. But his chief contribution has been as a defensive presence as he’s averaging a team-high 10 rebounds and five blocks.

But the key to winning this tournament might be Baylor’s bench as nine players are averaging more than 8.7 minutes.

Baylor opened the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis with an 81-72 win over Florida Gulf Coast in Waco on Friday. • The Bears trailed 58-55 points with 10 minutes remaining, marking the first time this season BU has faced a second-half deficit. BU finished the game on a 26-14 run, holding FGCU to 4-of-18 shooting in the last 10 minutes. • Five Bears scored in double figures, led by Manu Lecomte's 19 points, the second straight game he's led BU. • Al Freeman added 18 points, while Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. and Johnathan Motley had 12 apiece.

Baylor faces VCU in Wednesday's first round action of the 6th-annual Battle 4 Atlantis. • Wednesday is the 4th series meeting between the teams, which last met on Nov. 27, 1998. • Wednesday is the 4th series meeting between Baylor and VCU. • Baylor last faced VCU on Nov. 27, 1998, in Honolulu, a game VCU won 81-61. • The teams also met on Dec. 7, 1974 in Waco (BU won 83-61) and Dec. 13, 1975 in Richmond (VCU won 68-64).

Baylor has led for 94% of game time over its first three games (112:22 of 120:00). • BU is 3-0 for the 9th time in the last 10 seasons. The lone exception was a 2-1 start last year. • Baylor is ranked No. 20 in this week's AP Top 25, after receiving no votes in either the preseason or week 1 polls. • It was the first time since 2009-10 that Baylor did not receive any votes in either the AP or coaches preseason polls. The Bears went to the Elite Eight that season. • Baylor has now been ranked in each of the last 10 seasons - one of 13 teams nationally to make that claim. (Visit Baylor Bears dot com.)

Volleyball

Baylor volleyball (21-9, 9-5) enters the final week of the regular season, facing the Iowa State Cyclones (16-10, 8-6) on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. in the Ferrell Center. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Baylor has posted a historic season in the program’s history, with a chance to add to a growing list of firsts, including a season sweep over the Cyclones for the first time since 2004.

BU is chasing its 22nd win of the season, a first for the team since the 2009 squad.

The two sides met in Ames on Nov. 23 earlier this season, with Baylor clawing out a five set win.

ISU holds the edge in the all-time series, leading 23-20, including a 12-9 mark in Waco.

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

Baylor volleyball can maintain sole possession of third place in the Big 12 with a victory over Iowa State in the Bears’ penultimate game on Wednesday. From BearsExtra.

Baylor (21-9 overall, 9-5 Big 12) trails only Kansas and Texas in the conference standings. The Bears defeated Iowa State in five sets in Ames, Iowa, on Oct. 19.

The Cyclones (16-10, 8-6) have won eight of their past 10, and are receiving votes in the AVCA national poll. Iowa State also has a tendency to stretch matches to their limit. Only West Virginia, with nine five-set matches, has played more than the Cyclones’ eight.

Following this match, Baylor will close out the regular season with a home battle with fourth-ranked Kansas on Saturday.

Lady Bears’ Basketball

There might still be some unknowns about the Baylor women’s basketball team after five games — things like what the rotation will end up looking like and how the Lady Bears will play when they find themselves in another tough road game. From WacoTrib’s Tony Adame at BearsExtra.

What’s certain, however, is that whoever coach Kim Mulkey decides to put on the floor, the points will come in bunches. The latest example being No. 5 Baylor’s 109-38 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday night.

It was the third time Baylor has scored over 100 points this season and the second game in a row following Sunday’s 101-36 win over Mississippi Valley State. In the last three seasons, Baylor cracked the 100-point mark a combined three times.

“I don’t put much stock into breaking 100 points as much as trying to figure out my team,” Mulkey said. “Figure out who needs to play together, who I need to substitute for and who I’ll need when we get into those tough, tough games.”

Southeastern Louisiana coach Errol Gauff says he "would be shocked if (Baylor) was not playing in the Final Four in Dallas later this year." Story by Baylor Bear Foundations’s Jerry Hill from Baylor Bears dot com.

That's certainly the goal for the No. 4/6 Lady Bears (4-1), who topped the 100-point mark for the third time in their first five games in rolling to a 109-38 win over the Lady Lions (1-3) Tuesday night before a crowd of 5,564 at the Ferrell Center.

"If we ever get these kids on the same page, it could be really a fun team," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "It may not happen before conference, it may happen in February and March. I don't care when it happens, but I do want it to happen before the playoffs, because they could really do some good things."

Four players scored in double figures in Tuesday's game, led by senior guard Alexis Jones with 24 points and a career-high six 3-pointers. She missed just one shot all night, hitting 6-of-7 from outside the 3-point arc, 7-of-8 overall and 4-of-4 from the line.

"It was what they were giving me," Jones said. "It was just one of those nights."

Freshman forward Lauren Cox, who had scored 17 points combined in her first four games, had easily her best night. The 6-4 freshman was one rebound shy of a double-double with 21 points and nine boards, hitting 11-of-14 from the line and 5-of-9 from the floor.

"It seems like she's getting a lot more comfortable," Jones said of Cox, who had nine points in Sunday's 101-36 win over Mississippi Valley State. "She's a great player and she wants to be out there on the floor with us. We're seeing progression in her every single day."

Senior guard Alexis Prince scored 10 points and didn't miss a shot, while sophomore post Beatrice Mompremier was 8-of-9 from the floor and finished with 18 points in just 19 minutes.

With the visiting Lady Lions starting just one player over 5-8, they were no match for a Baylor team that had 6-7 Kalani Brown on the court at the same time with Cox and the 6-4 Mompremier. The Lady Bears dominated the boards, 43-14, and finished with a 48-16 edge in points in the paint.

"They have experience, they have perimeter play, and they definitely have size and post play," Gauff said. "Then, she has subs to go along with that. It's a well-balanced team, and we knew the size was going to be a challenge for us. And it was. We said, `They're going to have to make jump shots,' and they did."

With Jones and Mompremier each scoring eight, Baylor took a 28-12 lead in the first quarter, scoring 10 points off the Lady Lions' eight turnovers.

They stretched that lead out to 56-19 by the halftime break by scoring six points in the last 6.4 seconds. Jones hit four straight free throws, the last two coming on a flagrant foul on Charliee Dugas, and then Cox hit a follow shot when she rebounded her own miss.

"Look, freshmen are that. Heck, sophomores are that - they're up and down," Mulkey said. "Just keep playing hard and play through your mistakes. Don't get too high, don't get too low."

One of the only negatives out of the game was Baylor's free-throw shooting. The Lady Bears were just 12-of-22 in the third quarter and 33-of-50 for the game, hitting 66 percent.

"When miss 17 shots, that's not a positive, that's for sure," Mulkey said. "Get up there and make your free throws. Getting to the line that many times is a positive thing, but missing 17 is not a positive. I still think that we're a team that can score a lot of points, but in the tight games we've got to be a team that can be really, really disciplined on the defensive end."

Baylor takes off for Estero, Fla., next, facing Kent State (2-2) at 10 a.m. CST Friday in the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Football

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