The Baylor Bears got their biggest win of the season Sunday night, a 2 point victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores. Baylor, ranked 25th, came into the game with a loss to the only other ranked team they had faced off against in the early portion of the season. This game would be their shot at redemption, and against an even higher ranked team in Vanderbilt.
Despite trailing by as many as 13 points, shooting under 40% and missing 8 free throws, the Bears forced 17 Vandy turnovers, and were +5 on the glass to get enough extra chances to make up for their poor shooting. A hot start from Taurean Prince, who had 20 points at halftime, gave the Bears a 2-point lead at the break. Baylor led by as many as 8 in the first half, right after Taurean Prince hit a long 3-pointer at the last second of the shot clock and then finished a nifty layup through a foul for 6 quick points in just 23 seconds.
After those two big plays from Prince, the Commodores would answer with an impressive run that stretched well into the second half. They would score 28 of 35 points from both teams, turning an 8 point deficit into a 3 point lead. With the Bears missing 9 straight shots early in the second half, Vanderbilt took full advantage of it. However, a 3-pointer from Taurean Prince cut the lead to 10, then four straight turnovers for Vandy let the Bears chip away. Taurean Prince would add two more baskets, to go along with a Jonathan Motley layup. The final statement was a powerful dunk by Ish Wainright on the baseline that tied the game at 52.
The teams would trade the lead several more times over the next 5 minutes, before Lester Medford would hit a three-pointer while being fouled to give the Bears a 69-67 lead. Those would be the last points of the game, as a Riley LaChance jumper fell short, and then a second chance opportunity from Nolan Cressler bounced off the rim.
Taurean Prince set a new career high with 30 points to lead the Bears offensive charge, while Rico Gathers secured 13 rebounds for the Bearswhich gives him a Baylor career record 920, passing Brian Skinners 915. Lester Medford scored 12 points to go along with 5 assists. Wade Baldwin had 19 points to lead Vanderbilt who falls to 6-2.
This was the first victory for the Bears in a matchup of Top-25 teams in nonconference play. Baylor improves to 6-1 on the season and continues its 7-game homestand Tuesday night against Northwestern State.