Scott Drew's Baylor Bears opened the season with a wire-to-wire victory over a team that has seen back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Six Bears scored in double figures, including freshman guard King McClure, who looked as good as advertised in his debut game.
Rico Gathers led the way in scoring, totaling 18 points alongside 7 rebounds. He went an efficient 8-9 from the floor and 2-3 from the free throw line. Gathers earned his points with his usual gritty play, but also managed some nice baseline cuts from the short corner.
Johnathan Motley had a fairly similar game off the bench both spelling Gathers and playing a few minutes alongside him. Motley finished the game with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and the Bears' lone block. If he can continue to take advantage of his strength with physical interior play, he could be quite an impactful player off the bench.
Speaking of off the bench, Taurean Prince, the reigning Big XII Sixth Man of the Year, has moved into a starting role this season. He struggled to shoot the ball tonight, but still managed to reach 10 points. He also handed out a career-high 7 dimes, which included one particularly pretty pass to a cutting Gathers leading to a dunk. Prince finished 1-4 from three-point land, but he should improve as the season goes on.
Baylor's back court put on a solid performance, as Lester Medford, Al Freeman, King McClure, and even Jake Lindsey all played solid minutes in the game. The quartet totaled 42 points shooting a combined 16-20 from the field. While they permitted the offense to stagnate a bit in the first half, they were much better at swinging the ball from side-to-side in the second half, which opened up cracks inside for the big guys and off-ball cutters.
My favorite part of the night, though, was Ish Wainright. Skinny Ish finished the night with 8 points, 6 assists, and a team-high 9 rebounds, 3 of which came on the offensive glass. When he was on the floor, Baylor's offense flowed just a little bit better thanks to his smart passing and good movement. He opened up the night's scoring with a corner three (!!), a shot that proved to be available much of the night for the Bears. Skinny Ish demonstrated excellent court awareness throughout the game with skip passes to the opposite corner and well played bounce passes in transition. He was everything I have dreamed of for the past two years.
Those should be enough thoughts from me for this game. If you've got your own or if I left anything out (like any discussion of the Bears' excellent defense in a possibly new 3-2 zone), head to the comments! I'll post the game stats below.
|Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks|
|T.J. Holyfield, F||5-8||1-1||1-3||1||4||5||1||1||0||4||4||12|
|Demetrious Floyd, G||4-8||2-6||2-4||1||1||2||2||0||0||1||1||12|
|Thomas Walkup, G||4-8||0-2||4-7||0||0||0||2||1||1||3||3||12|
|Trey Pinkney, G||0-4||0-3||0-1||0||1||1||1||0||0||2||1||0|
|Ty Charles, G||0-6||0-2||3-3||0||1||1||2||0||0||1||4||3|
|Jovan Grujic, C||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|C.J. Williams, F||1-2||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||3||0||0||0||0||2|
|Clide Geffrard, F||0-5||0-2||3-4||0||5||5||2||1||0||0||3||3|
|Dallas Cameron, G||1-5||0-3||3-4||2||4||6||2||0||1||2||1||5|
|Lasani Johnson, G||1-2||1-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3|
|Jared Johnson, G||1-3||1-3||0-2||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||5||3|
|Rico Gathers, F||8-9||0-0||2-3||0||7||7||1||0||0||0||3||18|
|Taurean Prince, F||4-10||1-4||1-2||1||2||3||7||1||0||1||3||10|
|Al Freeman, G||4-5||1-1||2-2||0||3||3||2||0||0||0||1||11|
|Ishmail Wainright, G||2-6||1-3||3-4||3||6||9||6||1||0||0||3||8|
|Lester Medford, G||5-7||1-2||2-3||0||2||2||9||2||0||4||3||13|
|Terry Maston, F||0-0||0-0||4-4||0||2||2||1||0||0||1||3||4|
|John Heard, F||1-1||1-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Johnathan Motley, F||5-10||0-0||2-5||1||4||5||1||0||1||1||1||12|
|Austin Mills, G||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||2||0||0||1||0||0|
|Wendell Mitchell, G||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Lindsey, G||3-3||1-1||0-0||0||2||2||2||1||0||0||3||7|
|King McClure, G||4-5||3-4||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||4||11|