What was the difference? Well, in a nutshell, the Bears didn't run against the Bluechips. Now, they are all about running. And it doens't matter if it's after a made bucket or a missed three-pointer, Baylor is past midcourt before you can blink your eyes.
With a deep bench full of athletes, Dave Bliss has frequently referred to this year's substitution pattern as being dictated by fatigue. This is a far cry from the past two years when Bliss was forced to bring guys off the bench because of foul trouble. Now, he can force an up-tempo game with no fear of running out of gas.
Another major difference in Saturday's run away win over Hardin Simmons was the play of the true freshman. Laurence Roberts struggled a little bit in the first exhibition game as did John Lucas III. Kenny Taylor didn't even see the court.
Fast forward a week and the freshman are taking over. In his first collegiate appearance, Taylor lights up the scoreboard to the tune of 21 points including five treys! After missing his first two shots, Taylor went nuts, hitting five straight three-pointers.
Roberts kept pace with his classmate, scoring 19 points and pulling down 17 rebounds, six steals and four blocks. It's also worth pointing out that Roberts did all this while logging only 23 minutes.
Lucas also played well - hitting 4-of-7 from the field to finish with nine points and four assists. Lucas' affect was felt by everyone on the court as he relentlessly pushed the ball upcourt on every possession.
Senior Chad Elsey had another solid game in tallying 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, six rebounds, two assists and one block. Elsey also had a thunderous jam in traffic in the second half that got the crowd going.
Returners Wendell Greenleaf, Logan Kosmalski and Matt Sayman all scored ten points and is another testament to how deep and diverse this Baylor team is. Any one of those three guys can score 15-20 points on a given night and lead the team in scoring. What's even scarier is that R.T. Guinn, who scored 23 points in the previous game, played less than half the game and logged three points. Greg Davis and Kevin Henry were both quiet as well.
The fan highlight of the night came very late in the game when Steven Othoro came in. The student section went nuts and put their arms over their heads in the shape of an 'O' and started yelling "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO". Othoro appreciated the fan support, as did Bliss. Bliss turned to the student section and made the 'O' with his arms and the students went berzerk!
Othoro, obviously pumped up by the crowd, responded by blocking two shots to the delight of the crowd. He even got in the scoring column by hitting one of two free-throws.