Coming into the season, Baylor Coach Scott Drew knew his new-look team would have to get off to a hot start, and the Bears have done just that. After pulling out a close victory against Hartford the day before, Baylor pulled away early for a 61-45 victory over Southern on Monday night at the Ferrell Center.
Leading the way once again for the Bears was junior guard and recent Big 12 Player of the Week Lacedarius Dunn, who paced the Bears with 13 points and a very encouraging 4 assists. While Dunn was off from the outside (shooting 3 for 13 from the floor), he took it upon himself to get others involved.
"I just came out and played. Coach has been preaching to me, ever since last year about the one assist. I have been hearing it so much that I am tired of hearing it. So, I just tried to come out tonight, penetrate, and get my teammates involved," said Dunn.
One of those that continues to be involved is junior transfer Ekpe Udoh, who added 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Udoh changed Southern's shots all night long, often making it difficult for the undersized team to get an easy bucket inside.
Joining Dunn in the backcourt was freshman A.J. Walton, who is taking the place of senior Tweety Carter in Baylor's starting lineup for at least 1 more game. Walton had 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 steals which really pestered the Southern guards. But as is the case with many true freshman in their 3rd game, Walton had a few problems himself controlling the ball as he finished with 5 turnovers.
"We were shooting poorly on the offensive end, and Coach [Drew] was telling me, 'It starts with you on the defensive end'. I know with Tweety [Carter] sitting out I need to be a leader," said Walton. "I don't score much, but I just try and get my team involved."
After really jumping on Southern early scoring 43 points in the first half and building a 20 plus point lead, the Bears could never get things going in the second half - and mainly used defense to preserve the win. The Bears only were able to put 18 points on the board in the second half, but held Southern to 28 percent shooting on the game.
"We held them to 28%, and we held them to 45 points. Obviously, the offense came to a halt in the 2nd half," said Coach Drew after the game. "[This was] great experience to prepare us for when we go to Old Spice."
Drew mentions that the goals of the season's first week were met.
"At the beginning of the week, we wanted to be 3-0, we didn't want to get anyone injured, and we wanted to find some areas to work on. All those things were accomplished."
Baylor will now get almost a week off before matching up against Hardin-Simmons next Sunday.
Baylor Outlasts Southern for 3-0 Start
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