Baylor (4-0) knocked off Stephen F. Austin (3-1) 83-52.
The Bears take on Texas at 2:00 on Sunday in the Ferrell Center. That game airs on ESPN.
Here are five takeaways:
1) Baylor’s defense played exceptionally well:
They held SFA to .675 points per possession, which is the lowest total in the 12 years of tracking data on Bart Torvik’s website (though the road game at Texas last year might overtake it when the adjusted data gets posted).
The Bears forced 35 turnovers. They took a bevy of charges. And before inserting the 2023 Bears in the final four minutes, they had an even bigger defensive edge.
2) Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua looks more comfortable:
With Flo Thamba in foul trouble, the Bears relied on him more. He finished with 13 points on six shots and hit 3-of-4 from the line.
He also provided solid rim protection. While that didn’t show up in his block numbers, he deterred several attempts.
3) The return of the Fival:
Baylor ended the first half with the Fival (Mark Vital at the five). That lineup had better spacing and went on a 9-0 run to end the half.
I asked Drew about that lineup after the game, and he mentioned they’ll continue to look at the analytics on which lineups are most effective, but that group show that it will space the floor and get out and run.
That unit also played well because Matt Mayer did a nice job contesting shots inside. Drew pointed out that Mayer needs to grab a rebound while he’s on the floor, but he played well defensively contesting shots and didn’t get beyond himself offensively. The Taurean Prince progression continues for him.
4) Adam Flagler keeps being the sixth man that Five Guys wanted:
Flagler finished with 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep. He’s an absolute monster off the bench.
5) LJ Cryer is hard to keep on the bench:
The Bears will probably play eight men against Texas on Sunday, but Cryer is going to be a monster next season. He runs the floor well and gets to his spots on offense.