SportsNov. 21, 1997
Reporter for The Baylor Lariat
'Another three-pointer for the Baylor Bears!' If Baylor men's basketball Head Coach Harry Miller has his way, that will be a phrase that's heard frequently this season. Much attention has been given to Baylor's man in the middle, senior center Brian Skinner. But Miller knows that for his team to be successful, they will have to knock down their outside shots too.
Baylor returns all of its top outside shooters from last season. Guards Roddrick Miller, Patrick Hunter and David Jones, along with forward Leon 'Brick' Morris all shot 35 percent or better from three-point range last season. Add to those the improved perimeter shooting of John Perkins and Gabe Ramirez, and the Bears will bring a stable of capable outside shooters at opponents.
'A lot of teams have threats in their two-guard and a shooting forward,' Miller said. 'We've got it not only in those positions, but from our point guard and power forward.'
Having so many threats from the outside will give the Bears a double advantage, Miller said. The Bears will not only be able to burn opponents with the three, but it also opens up the middle for Skinner.
'It does create some problems for opponents,' Miller said. 'It gets difficult for them to double-team Brian.'
'Usually at the beginning, teams are double- or triple-teaming Brian,' Ramirez said. 'What we try to do is have him in a one-on-one situation by the end of the game.'
The Bears are certainly off to a good start in that area. They hit 13 three-pointers in a season opening rout of Troy State. Sophomore guard David Jones led Baylor with five threes, and agreed with Miller that outside shooting will be a key for the Bears this year.
'Everybody is going to clog down on Brian, so it will be very important for us to hit our threes,' Jones said.
The Bears will take their 1-0 record on the road Saturday, traveling to Beaumont to take on Lamar. Miller said he is expecting a tough challenge from the Cardinals, who return eight players from last year's 12-15 team.
'They played us tough here last year,' Miller said. 'They'll be laying in the weeds waiting for us, I guarantee you. They aren't a team that's easily intimidated.'
The Bears' next home game will be Tuesday, when they face Northwestern State.
Upset against OSU would give Bears needed boost into offseason
By Kevin Allen
Sports Writer for The Baylor Lariat
It has been a long season so far for the Baylor Bears, and for the seniors on the team it has been a long career. So even though the Bears are not playing for a bowl bid this week, they have not given up on the season just yet.
'It's our last game, our last home game, and I think a lot of the players are really determined to win,' senior offensive lineman David Davis said.
The Bears will battle the Oklahoma State Cowboys at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. It will be a rematch of last year's season finale, when the Cowboys dominated the Bears 3717.
'I think last year some players quit,' Davis said. 'This year will be a lot different.'
The 73 Cowboys have been ranked in the top 25 for most of the season, but dropped out last week after a 273 loss to Texas Tech. Oklahoma State was undefeated through their first six games, and looked like they would sweep through the Big 12 South. But they have lost three of their last four games, and have found themselves out of the race for the Big 12 Championship. Still, the Cowboys have had a productive season, led by a young backfield that should continue to improve in the future.
'They are a very physical, very talented team,' senior defensive lineman Sheldon Mallory said. 'We'll have to prepare very hard this week.'
Redshirt freshman quarterback Tony Lindsay leads the Cowboy offense, throwing for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. He has also added 491 yards on the ground, with nine rushing touchdowns as well. Two Oklahoma State running backs have a long history of football behind them, even though they have only one previous year of collegiate experience between them. Redshirt freshman Jamaal Fobbs, the son of Baylor running back coach Lee Fobbs, leads the team with 790 yards rushing. And sophomore Nathan Simmons, son of Oklahoma State Head Coach Bob Simmons, has added another 665 yards to the Cowboy rushing attack.
'They have real good running backs, and a real good quarterback,' Mallory said. 'They are going to come in here ready to play.'
The Baylor offense had shown improvement over the past few weeks, led by the running of redshirt freshman Darrell Bush. He leads the Bears with 649 yards rushing, averaging more than 7.4 yards per game.
Quarterback Jeff Watson, who has thrown for more than 1,400 yards this season, will start his 36th career game for the Bears. Watson has been beat up for most of the season, but has managed to complete more than 55 percent of his passes, including five touchdown throws.
'I have great appreciation for Jeff Watson,' Baylor Head Coach Dave Roberts said, 'because he's done everything we've asked him to do. He's taken everything he had and thrown into it.'
For the seniors, who have gone from an Alamo Bowl bid as freshmen to a 2-8 record this season, stepping up and winning this game will prove, if only to themselves, that the program is on its way up.
'It's a sad moment, but we would really like to go out on a good note and win our last home game,' senior receiver Chris Cagnolatti said. Cagnolatti, a 5-foot 7-inch receiver, caught his first pass of the season last week against Missouri.
'I think a win would help turn this program around,' Mallory said. 'It will be important for the guys who will be here next year and in years to come to win this game and have something to build on.'
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