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Bears look for 2nd straight in conference

Jan. 17, 2001

Numbers indicate team resting on its seniors shoulders

By ROB SINCLAIR

Sports writer

Baylor students will have their first opportunity to see the men's basketball team since classes resumed at 7 tonight when the Bears host the Oklahoma State University Cowboys in the Ferrell Special Events Center.

When finals ended on Dec. 13th, Baylor was 4-0. Since that time, the Bears have gone 9-1 overall and hold a 2-1 mark in Big 12 Conference play, highlighted by a sellout home win over the University of Colorado in the conference opener and a defeat of Kansas State University in Manhattan the last time out.

'I'm excited about the fact that we've gotten better as a team,' head Coach Dave Bliss said. 'The first game [against Colorado] the fans were terrific, and we're looking forward to having the students come out and see us play.'

The tandem of senior forward Terry Black and senior guard DeMarcus Minor has led Baylor to its hot start. Black, who was recently named 'The Best Dunker in College Basketball' by the Sporting News, leads the Bears with an average of 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 66 percent from the floor.

Minor is second in both categories with 13.2 points per game and 6.1 rebounds. He also distributes almost five assists per game. He and Black are the only players to have started every game this season.

'Terry has played very well and DeMarcus always plays well at the point,' Bliss said. 'But to win in this league you need help from any source you can find it.'

To that end, Baylor has utilized the contributions of junior guard Chad Elsey and sophomore guard Wendell Greenleaf, who are combining for more than 25 points per game.

'Elsey has really helped us coming off the bench,' Bliss said. 'He's a shooter deluxe. Wendell is probably the most improved player in the league statistically and he's a defensive force.'

At the Oklahoma State end of the floor, the Cowboys visit Waco with a 10-3 mark overall and a 2-1 conference record. Junior guard Maurice Baker leads OSU with 18.2 points per game and is shooting better than 53 percent from the field. Junior forward Fredrik Jonzen is delivering 16 points and pulling down six rebounds per game.

The duo is the most productive one-two scoring punch at Oklahoma State since the glory days of 1995, when Randy Rutherford and Bryant Reeves averaged more than 41 points per game while leading the Cowboys to the Final Four.

Bliss said points will be at a premium in tonight's game, given Cowboy head Coach Eddie Sutton's emphasis on defense.

'Anytime you play Oklahoma State you play a very good defense team,' Bliss said. 'Offensively they take advantage of every opportunity, but their defense is what really sticks out.

We have to avoid turnovers.'