Baylor knocked off Prairie View 91-80. The Bears are now 2-1 and take on Nicholls State at 11:00 A.M. on Friday at the Ferrell Center.
This game seemed to be yet another too close for comfort contest when Prairie View A&M brought the score to 59-57 midway through the second half. Their trapping flummoxed the Bears, and Baylor couldn’t get the ball pasts half-court.
Luckily the Bears responded with a giant run. Jared Butler, starting for an injured Makai Mason, dropped 20 points and helped Baylor break the press. He did a nice job getting to the hoop and was excellent from the perimeter. King McClure had 21 points and was 5-of-8 from deep. Devonte Bandoo was wonderful as well—finishing with 16 points and 2-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Tristan Clark came alive late in the second half and finished with 17 points. He continued to struggle with foul trouble. Baylor did as well. The Bears had 13 fouls in the first half, which impacted all their rotations.
The Bears will have to decide if they can keep hard hedging pick-and-rolls. That defense has led their big men to pick up too many fouls. But Baylor’s guards have been unable to contain dribble penetration, which makes it understandable that Baylor wants a strategy to slow down the ball-handler.
Baylor did a poor job on the defensive glass. Prairie View A&M entered the game 169th in offensive rebounding rate. They nabbed 15 offensive boards. With so many shots, Praririe View A&M threw up 22 threes and hit 11 them. That kept them hanging around for too long.
There are plenty of reasons to like this Baylor team. Their guards are athletic and can shoot. Clark is a monster in the paint, and the defense can move pretty quickly.
But Baylor sure has some room to improve. The team can’t be this bad on the defensive glass and let guards from the SWAC burn them. The competition is going to get much better quickly, and if the Bears keep missing so many free throws, then they’ll lose a lot of games.
Still, the Bears are missing two of their best players, and they managed to get another victory. Those guys will be back soon. Baylor needs to ensure they keep winning until they do.