Trailing 35-30, the Baylor Bears used a 19-2 run against Georgia Bulldogs to complete a second half comeback and win a big non-conference game in late January. The Bears built a double digit lead and finished off the Bulldogs in a 83-73 victory Saturday night in Waco, TX. Facing a 5-point deficit, the Bears turned the pressure up on the defensive side of the court, and started hitting outside shots on offense. It took over 19 minutes for the Bears to get their first point from outside the paint or the free throw line, as King McClure hit a 3 to tie the game at 30. The Bulldogs would answer courtsey of 5-straight points from star guard JJ Frazier before a last second Lester Medford layup cut the lead to 35-32 at halftime.
The first half was defined by big outside shots by the Bulldogs, and the Bears punishing attack down low. Baylor (17-4, 6-2 in Big 12) focused their attack down low throughout, with Rico Gathers scoring a team high 17 points and Jonathan Motley chipping in 12 points off of the bench. The second half though would bring the outside shot for the Baylor offense. The Bears opened up with back-to-back three-pointers by Ish Wainright and Al Freeman to get the lead and start their big run, two of the six three-pointers the Bears would hit in the second half.
Georgia, the 11th best field goal defense in the nation, did a good job on the Bears first shot, but could not keep Rico Gathers and company off of the offensive glass, allowing 13 offensive rebounds and being beaten on the board 34-28. With their best interior threat, Yante Maten, hampered by foul trouble in the first half, it was the perimeter threats for the Bulldogs that gave them the lead. JJ Frazier scored a game high 21 points, while Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann chipped in 14 and 13 points each.
With the big run to open up the 2nd half, the near capacity Baylor crowd, sporting bright neon shirts matching the Bears new uniforms, came to life. The Bears would lead by as many as 13 points. Baylor had 5 players score in double figures, with their bench outscoring the Bulldogs 26-7. Al Freeman scored 14 points, all coming in the second half while Taurean Prince finished with 13 points courtsey of hitting all 7 of his free throws. Lester Medford finished with 9 points, but added 8 assists and committed just 1 turnover.
With the win, the Bears have won all three games in the Big 12 / SEC Challenge and have improved their stellar record against the SEC the past two years. Baylor's next game is Monday night, as the Texas Longhorns visit for Big Monday.