Week In Review
Baylor 92 Norfolk State 51
Waco, Texas • Attendance: 5,138
The Bears put a nice bow on an 11-1 non-conference portion of the schedule with an emphatic 41 point win over the Norfolk State Spartans out of the MEAC. Baylor got off to a sluggish start in the first game back from the Christmas break and Norfolk took advantage in route to an early 21-16 lead. As the Bears' zone clamped down on the Spartans' 3 point shooting, the offense began to click and a Taurean Prince 3 right before the half gave the Bears a 5 point lead. The game quickly became a rout as Baylor ran off a 23-2 run to start the second half. Royce O'Neale had 15 points in that stretch including 3 pointers on four consecutive possessions that put the game out of reach. Baylor shot 69% in the second half and put up a season high 92 points for the game. Four different players had at least 13 points led by a career high 23 from O'Neale. The Bears also had a very encouraging 28 assists to just 10 turnovers. This was definitely a nice win to lead into the 18 game gauntlet of Big 12 play.
Oklahoma 73 Baylor 63
Norman, Okla. • Attendance: 7,560
Jonathan Motley had a career day with 24 points and Taurean Prince added 17 but the Bears couldn't slow down TaShawn Thomas, Buddy Hield and the Sooners as Oklahoma gave Baylor its second loss of the season, 73-63 in Norman. The Bears were unable to overcome poor shooting days from their guards. Kenny Chery, Lester Medford, Royce O'Neale and Al Freeman combined for just 18 points on 5-28 (18%) from the field. Oklahoma is a great passing and shooting team and they were able to exploit Baylor's improved zone defense in a way that few teams have been able to thus far this season. At the end of the day, it was always going to difficult to win in Norman against a top 15 Oklahoma team. There are certainly areas for improvement but the Bears will have plenty of opportunities to pick up big wins in the coming weeks.
Kansas at Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
Jan. 7, 8:00 PM CT
Baylor's conference home opener comes against the 10-time defending Big 12 conference champions in Kansas. The Jayhawks are coming off of a home win on Sunday against UNLV so this will be the first conference game at all for KU. If you are into KenPom numbers, then this game should be an extremely competitive one. Kansas is 15th in overall rank, 19th in adjusted offense and 45th in adjusted defense. Baylor is 16th, 21st, and 43rd in the same 3 categories. Kansas is led by junior forward Perry Ellis, averaging over 12 points and 6 rebounds per game. Point guard Frank Mason is the only other double digit scorer for KU but they have spread the wealth nicely amongst vets Wayne Selden and newcomers Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre among others. One stat that stands out is that the Jayhawks are only 228th in field goal percentage at 42.6% so the Bears will need to be strong on the boards as they've been most of the season. Kansas has the length to cause problems for Baylor but they have also been a hard team to figure out in the early going, evidenced by a 25 point loss to Temple in late December. For the Bears to make another NCAA tournament appearance this season, they will need to take care of the home court in conference play. It would be nice if that trend could start against the top program in the league.
Baylor at TCU
Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center (Fort Worth, TX)
Jan. 10, 3:00 PM CT
The Revivalry moves from the gridiron to the hardwood as Baylor takes on TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday. The Horned Frogs made some waves by going 13-0 in non-conference, albeit against the 351st ranked non-conference schedule in Division I. However, TCU was overmatched by an West Virginia team without on Saturday in taking their first loss of the season. There is still just a lot we don't know about this Frog team. What we do know is that they're led by Kyan Anderson, one of the more underrated point guards in the country. TCU has gotten more production out of their bigs this year with the return of Amric Fields and an improved Karviar Shepard among others. What remains to be seen is how Trent Johnson's club will perform against a team that makes them shoot a bunch from the outside, which Baylor's zone will do. As of this writing, TCU has lost 21 consecutive games against Big 12 opponents but I would not at all be surprised if they knocked off a struggling Kansas State team in Manhattan during mid-week. This should be an interesting game in Fort Worth. Those of you in the DFW area should make an effort to get to this one if you can.
Big 12 Update
|#17 West Virginia||1-0||--||1.000||13-1||.929||W6|
|#9 Iowa State||0-0||.5||.000||10-2||.833||L1|
|Strength of Schedule||NCSOS|