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Offensive Explosion: Baylor Beats Louisiana 112-82

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1-0!

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

With Jerome Tang at the helm—as Scott Drew completes his quarantine with COVID-19—the Bears knocked off Louisiana 112-82. Baylor takes on Washington at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. The game airs on flohoops.com.

Baylor started Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Mark Vital and Flo Thamba. Mitchell had 18 points on just nine shots. He finished with six assists and led the Bears with a plus 30 rating.

The Bears had a great performance from their guards. After the game, Tang noted that the offense performed well because they made open shots. He mentioned that he wasn’t trying to be smart by saying that, but it was just that simple. The Bears finished with 1.4 points per possession, which is an incredible mark. They did that by shooting 15-of-27 from deep. Freshman LJ Cryer added 17 points, Butler had 17 and Teague led the team with 21.

Adam Flagler also proved a revelation. The Presbyterian transfer scored 12 points and had seven assists. Tang mentioned that after Flagler took a charge, they called a play for him. But Flagler told Tang to call it for Cryer, which led to a triple for the freshman.

Baylor’s defense wasn’t perfect. Some of that is due to the first game in the pandemic. Some of that is due to replacing Freddie Gillespie, one of the country’s best defenders. Tang said they didn’t get any rim protection tonight. Baylor finished with one block. They let Louisiana get to the line too much as well, as they shot 16 free throws, including 12 in the first half.

Baylor controlled the game though. The Bears aren’t going to shoot 56% from three most nights, but they’ll also be a bit better than they were at their worst moments on defense. In an unpredictable world, Baylor beat the spread and moved up on KenPom. With Villanova’s loss tonight, we’re assured Baylor-Gonzaga next Saturday will be No. 1 v. No. 2. But first, the Bears have a real test against Washington. Then they’ll get top 10 Illinois as well. It’s good to have basketball back.