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Bears beat Melbourne in final tune up before regular season

Nov. 11, 1997

By Martin Coco

Sports Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

The Baylor men's basketball team had its final tune up for the regular season on Monday night, defeating the North Melbourne, Australia, Giants 87-81.

The Bears used a 20-6 run midway through the second half to pull away from the feisty Giants. North Melbourne fought back to within three with just under a minute to play, but Gabe Ramirez hit two free throws to seal the Baylor win. Senior center Brian Skinner led the Bears with 22 points and dominated the boards with 26 rebounds. Sophomore guard David Jones, who hit two key three-pointers during the Bears second half run, added 15 for the Bears.

North Melbourne was led by guard Adam Barry, who hit five three-pointers and totalled 27 points.

'I thought we did a better job tonight,' said Baylor Head Coach Harry Miller. 'We shot on the perimeter a lot better. We're not a good team right now, but we're not that far away from putting it together.'

In a back-and-forth first half, the Bears jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, but North Melbourne answered quickly. The Giants finally tied the game at 24 with 10 minutes left in the half; Baylor then went on a 15-5 run, topped off with a Ramirez three-pointer, to go up 39-29. But the Giants again fought back and to pull within 45-42 at halftime.

North Melbourne blazed out of the locker room to go up 61-57, but behind Skinner's rebounding and the shooting of Jones and point guard Patrick Hunter, Baylor began the comeback. The Giants had several turnovers against Baylor's half-court trap, and Hunter, Jones and Ramirez all tallied treys during the Bears' 20-6 run, as they took the lead for good.

Skinner had missed the last two weeks of workouts due to an eye injury, but he showed no signs of that Monday night.

'Coach really stressed for me to go hard to the boards, because that's where they were dominating,' Skinner said. 'It's going to take me a while to get back into the shape I want to be in. It'll come along.'

Miller said it was good to have Jones' shooting back on track after an off night in the Bears' first exhibition game.

'David can shoot, that's the bottom line,' Miller said. 'He had a rough go of it the other night, but that was not a David Jones type night.'

The Bears now have the rest of the week to prepare for Saturday's season opener against Troy State. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at the Ferrell Special Events Center.

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