Ending the game on a 12-0 run, Baylor (5-2) knocked off South Dakota (3-3) 63-57. Baylor takes on Wichita State at 7:00 on Saturday in Wichita. That one will air on CBS Sports Network.
The first 15 minutes of the game went terribly for Baylor. They started just 4-of-24 from the field. Mario Kegler—playing for the first time after a six game suspension to start the season,—began 0-of-5 from the floor. During the first 12 minutes, Baylor scored just .433 points per possession. Over the full season, that number would be far worse than the nation’s worst offense averages (.852 PPP).
Makai Mason with a great pass to Mark Vital for the bucket: pic.twitter.com/FtZ8mRa8Iv— Kendall (@kendallkaut) November 28, 2018
Baylor made a big run to end the first half, which brought the game within two points. Baylor trailed by as many as nine points in the period. Matthew Mayer played exceptionally well. He finished the half with nine points and was 2-of-3 from three.
The Bears experimented with Mark Vital at center. That’s what I’ve dubbed the Fival lineup (Vital at the five). That lineup let Baylor switch many ball screens and dribble hand-offs. South Dakota made some tough shots against that defense. Baylor played that lineup because Tristan Clark couldn’t get much going offensively against South Dakota’s defensive decision to double anytime he touched the ball.
South Dakota took the lead in the second half by dominating the offensive glass. The Coyotes grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the first 12 minutes of the second half. Despite shooting just 9-of-27 from the field during that stretch, they scored 1.21 PPP, which would rank 1st nationally over the full season. The Coyotes benefited from some friendly bounces, but the Bears didn’t give great effort on the defensive glass enough.
With a 55-49 deficit late in the game, Baylor seemed destined for another bad early loss. But Kegler started creating some big plays. King McClure also found the hoop, and he finished with 15 points. Baylor retook the lead at 59-57 and never looked back. Mason drained a three to extend Baylor’s lead to 62-57 with one minute remaining to seal the game.
Baylor has a long way to go. But they did a nice job coming back tonight.