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No. 9 Bears Remain Unbeaten with 91-40 Win

Baylor dominated Northwestern State on both ends all night

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern State at Baylor Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

WACO, Texas — The Baylor Bears (8-0, 0-0) beat the Northwestern State Devils (1-7, 0-0) behind the efforts of Jalen Bridges and Yves Missi with a final score of 91-40.

NSU came into the game ranked in the bottom thirty teams (335) nationally by KenPom, sporting a bottom five defense by adjusted efficiency (357). This was never going to go well for the Devils. The Bears scored at a clip of 1.4 points per possession, above their ridiculous season average of 1.3.

For Baylor, this game was about meeting internal goals. Maintain a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, while keeping turnovers somewhere near 10 (the game ended with 14 assists and 9 turnovers). Dominate the boards (22 rebounds for NSU, 7 offensive, both low numbers). Take smart shots (53 FG%), and stay in front defensively without fouling (25 FG% and 12 FTAs for NSU). Baylor passed all those marks with flying green and gold colors.

Drew was especially impressed by his team’s defensive effort. To hold a team to 25% is no small thing, and it proved what this team can be when it locks in, particularly with Missi on the court.

“(Missi’s presence) has started affecting us in practice. I mean, after a while, you get your shot blocked a couple of times, and now, people aren’t taking layups and going in there,” Drew said of his starting freshman center.

Bridges and Missi were the standouts tonight. As Bridges rained threes from the corners for 16 points, Missi terrorized the paint on his way to a 13 point, 10 rebound double-double, his second of the season. The 7-foot freshman also registered 3 blocks, opened the game with a dunk, and did this:

In a game where a number of things were unfair, Missi was a one-man night terror.

“It’s a blessing to have someone of his size, his athletic ability,” the senior Bridges said of his younger teammate, “because on one end he’s catching lobs, dunking everything, and on the other end, he’s covering up a lot of our mistakes on defense with his shot blocking. It’s just something we really didn’t have last year.”

Bridges, meanwhile, has started the season on fire, a dazzling 50% from three on the season and 4-8 tonight.

“He’s a comfort guy,” Drew described his senior forward. “The more comfortable he feels, the better he plays. I think last year just took him a while to get comfortable, and to his credit, to the team’s credit, this year he’s picked up where he left off.”

Baylor pulled away early in this one. In the first half alone Baylor had separate runs of 17-2 and 15-2, holding NSU to 17% from the floor in the period. After NSU tied the game at 4 on a goaltending call, the Bears rushed to a 19-6 lead. Following a 5-0 run from the Devils (we’re going to call it a run for them, because we are merciful and gracious), the game would never be closer than 8 again. Or even 16. Or...did we mention Northwestern State’s only victory on the season has been against Dallas Christian?

Other fun notes:

  • Four Bears hit double-figure scoring (Ja’Kobe Walter and RayJ Dennis added 10 and 14, respectively, while Dennis also tallied 6 assists to 3 turnovers)
  • Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua drained a corner three over a defender
  • Baylor end Northwestern State to a meager 0.588 points per possession, by far the best defensive showing of the season (so far the season defensive rating is 1.02)

Play of the Game

Editor’s note: That poor guy is just 5’ 8” and this was very, very rude, Jalen.

“I was surprised he tried to shoot it in my face, so I kinda knew I was gonna block it,” Bridges recalled after the game, showing little remorse.

Consider tonight a tune-up for when Baylor welcomes the Seton Hall Pirates to Waco on Tuesday as part of the BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle. The Big 12 currently leads the conference face-off with a 4-3 advantage.

The game against Seton Hall will kick off the toughest stretch of the non-conference for the Bears as they will then face the Michigan State Spartans in Detroit on December 16th, followed by the Duke Blue Devils in Madison Square Garden on the 20th. While neither of those team is where they were expected to be at the moment, they are still both high level teams with a lot of talent.

Drew is looking forward to what he’ll learn about his team in the coming weeks. “This next stretch will show us where we need to get better on before Big 12 play.”

See you all in the Ferrel on Tuesday night!