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The Shootaround: Taking Care of Business

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The Bears continue their non-conference slate with a top 25 Vanderbilt coming to town on Sunday night

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Week In Review

Baylor 100 Savannah State 61
61
SAVANNAH STATE
(3-2, 0-0)
1ST 2ND F
33 28 61
51 49 100

Box Score |  QuotesNotesUSATSI Photo Gallery

Waco, Texas • Attendance: 4,717

100
BAYLOR
(3-1, 0-0)

The Bears began the week with some offensive fireworks on Monday night in a 100-61 beatdown of Savannah State, putting up 100 points against a D1 opponent for the first time since March 20, 2013 against Long Beach State. Much like they did in the previous game against Jackson State, Baylor got off to a slow start defensively but were able to keep the Jaguars at bay as the offense was humming from the jump. Baylor shot 50.7% from the field for the game and had 5 players in double figure scoring, led by a monster night from Johnathan Motley with 21 point and 10 rebounds. Taurean Prince also had his first real solid offensive game of the season, scoring 20 points on 6-13 shooting. Baylor will need this Taurean Prince to see its full potential in 2015-16. The most encouraging sign though came from the Bears’ ability to take care of the ball against an aggressive Savannah State defense and get great shots as a result of crisp ball movement. Baylor had 28 assists on 35 made baskets against just 10 turnovers. I don’t care who the opponent is. Those numbers will do.

Baylor 94 Arkansas State 72
72
ARKANSAS STATE
(2-4, 0-0)
1ST 2ND F
32 40 72
48 46 94

Box Score |  QuotesNotesUSATSI Photo Gallery

Waco, Texas • Attendance: 4,768

94
BAYLOR
(4-1, 0-0)

All was not lost on the Friday after Thanksgiving as the Baylor basketball team took care of business at home against Arkansas State, cruising to a 94-72 win. The Bears jumped out to a 41-17 lead but struggled at the close of the 1st half and opening minutes of the 2nd half, allowing the Red Wolves to close within 7 before a couple of big runs helped the Bears pull away for good. Taurean Prince led the team in scoring with a season high 25 points and Al Freeman continued his strong start to the season with 19. Rico Gathers also pitched in with his second double-double of the season. Arkansas State was picked to finish 4th in the Sun Belt, typically a fairly strong mid-major conference, so it was nice to see the Bears put away an opponent who had the ability to hang around if given the opportunity. Baylor is still trying to figure itself out on the defensive end as Scott Drew has flipped between the hybrid zone that the Bears ran last season and a man-to-man defense that has been more successful so far in a small sample size with this team. Drew probably wasn’t happy with the number of easy buckets the Bears allowed in the 2nd half in this game. That will certainly be an area of focus in the week ahead.

Looking Ahead

Prairie View A&M at #25 Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
Dec. 2, 8:30 PM CT
FSSW

The Bears return to action Wednesday night against Prairie View A&M. I’ll be honest and say there’s not a whole lot that we’re going to learn from this game against a Prairie View squad that is 0-6 so far and has rarely even been competitive. The Panthers only have one player on their roster who is taller than 6’8 so Baylor should be able to dominate the game in the paint. Hopefully the Bears come out focused and can get off to another quick start offensively and allow some of the reserves to get minutes in the 2nd half. The much bigger test comes later in the week…

#16 Vanderbilt at #25 Baylor
Ferrell Center (Waco, TX)
Dec. 6, 7:00 PM CT
ESPNU

Vanderbilt comes to Waco on Sunday night for Baylor’s second big non-conference test of the season. The Commodores come in ranked #16 in this week’s AP poll, making this the highest ranked non-conference opponent that Baylor has hosted at the Ferrell Center since #6 Washington State played in Waco back on November 30, 2007. Vanderbilt is coming off a nice run in the Maui Invitational last week, hammering St. John’s and Wake Forest before losing a close one to Kansas in the championship game. The Bears beat Vandy 66-63 last season in Nashville, but this will be a much different task against a more experienced Vanderbilt squad than what they saw a year ago. Vandy plays three players that are 7’0 or taller and are among the national leaders in blocks, averaging 6 per game. The two most impactful big guys are Damian Jones and Luke Kornet, who both had nice games against Baylor last season. Vanderbilt’s key to success so far this year has been its efficiency on the offensive end as they are shooting 48.3% as a team and only committing 9 turnovers per game. This will be a good stress test for Scott Drew’s team defensively. Baylor will also need big performances from Rico Gathers and Johnathan Motley for the Bears to hold their own against Vanderbilt’s towers down low. This should be a really good ballgame and it’s your only opportunity to see Baylor take on a ranked opponent in the Ferrell Center prior to Big 12 play. If you are in Waco on Sunday night, make every effort to pack the house and give the Bears a big home court advantage.

Big 12 Update

Standings

STANDINGS CONFERENCE OVERALL
Big 12 W-L GB PCT W-L PCT STRK
#20 West Virginia 0-0 -- 0.000 6-0 1.000 W6
#5 Iowa State 0-0 -- 0.000 5-0 1.000 W5
#6 Oklahoma 0-0 -- 0.000 4-0 1.000 W4
Kansas State 0-0 -- 0.000 5-1 0.833 W1
Oklahoma State 0-0 -- 0.000 5-1 0.833 W2
#25 Baylor 0-0 -- 0.000 4-1 0.800 W3
#4 Kansas 0-0 -- 0.000 4-1 0.800 W3
Texas Tech 0-0 -- 0.000 4-1 0.800 W3
TCU 0-0 -- 0.000 3-2 0.600 W1
Texas 0-0 -- 0.000 2-3 0.400 L1

Notable Results

Kansas State 66 Missouri 42
#9 North Carolina 80 Kansas State 70
#5 Kansas 92 UCLA 73
TCU 71 Illinois State 60
#25 Texas A&M 84 Texas 73
#5 Kansas 70 #19 Vanderbilt 63
West Virginia 67 Richmond 59
Texas 82 Washington 70
#4 Iowa State 99 Virginia Tech 77
Michigan 78 Texas 72
Oklahoma State 79 Long Beach State 73
West Virginia 72 San Diego State 50
Texas Tech 82 Hawaii 74
#4 Iowa State 84 Illinois 73

AP Top 25

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Kentucky (59) 6-0 1,619
2 Maryland (4) 6-0 1,512
3 Michigan State (2) 7-0 1,510
4 Kansas 4-1 1,342
5 Iowa State 5-0 1,338
6 Oklahoma 4-0 1,269
7 Duke 6-1 1,253
8 Villanova 6-0 1,218
9 North Carolina 5-1 1,155
10 Virginia 5-1 965
11 Purdue 6-0 904
12 Xavier 7-0 801
13 Gonzaga 4-1 788
14 Syracuse 6-0 696
15 Oregon 5-0 628
16 Vanderbilt 5-1 587
17 Cincinnati 7-0 551
18 Texas A&M 6-1 522
19 Arizona 6-1 504
20 West Virginia 6-0 363
21 Miami (FL) 5-1 289
22 SMU 4-0 256
23 Providence 6-1 247
24 Louisville 5-0 173
25 Baylor 4-1 162
Others receiving votes: Connecticut 153, Utah 72, Butler 62, George Washington 45, Indiana 26, Northern Iowa 25, Notre Dame 22, California 19, Pittsburgh 11, Dayton 8, South Carolina 5, San Diego State 5, Georgetown 4, UTEP 3, Iowa 2, Northwestern 2, LSU 2, Arkansas-Little Rock 2, Davidson 1, Colorado State 1, Northeastern 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Monmouth 1
Dropped from rankings: Indiana 13, California 14, Notre Dame 17, Connecticut 18, Wichita St 20, LSU 22