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Baylor victorious in battle of the Bears

Jan. 6, 2010

Udoh records fifth triple-double in school history

By Justin Baer
Sports editor

Ekpe Udoh became the fifth player in school history to accomplish a triple-double, and the Baylor men's basketball team (12-1) concluded its non-conference slate with a 79-63 walloping against Morgan State University Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center.

With 10 points and 11 rebounds Udoh had earned his eighth double-double this season by halftime. The Edmond, Okla., native finished the game with 18 points and 17 rebounds. With 1:35 left in the contest Udoh blocked Danny Smith to become the first Bear with a triple-double since former guard Curtis Jerrells accomplished the feat on Dec. 22, 2008 against Hartford University.

"It's good to a triple-double but I wouldn't be able to do it without my teammates. They were just staying positive with me," Udoh said. "I was just asking God to let me get this last block. I was just asking Him and thanking Him for what he had done so far. When I got it, I said 'Thank you, God'."

Baylor managed only to grab a three-point lead heading into the intermission, but head coach Scott Drew's squad re-emerged from the locker room with an unparalleled energy. Baylor used a 19-3 run in the second half to pull away from Morgan State and capture its eighth-consecutive victory, its longest win streak since 2000-2001.

"I think why we are on a win streak is we just focus on one game at a time," Drew said. "As long as you do that, streaks can continue."

Junior LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter each had 16 points while Carter had nine assists. Meanwhile, Quincy Acy also eclipsed the double-digit mark with 14 points.

The two squads see-sawed in the early minutes of the contest until Josh Lomers' up-and-under lay-up gave Baylor a 13-9 advantage. Two possessions later, Udoh created a turnover when he altered a pass, then at the opposite end of the floor the 6-foot-10 junior sent the crowd into hysteria with a rim-rocking dunk that put Baylor up 17-9.

Baylor had a 10-point lead with 11:52 remaining but slipped into a funk in which it shot 2-for-13 from the field and allowed Morgan State to take the lead.

"It was one of those games where you get frustrated and look up at the scoreboard and say 'why I am not up 20?'" Drew said. "Then you start taking quick shots. I think we did that in the first half."

Dunn tied the game at 27 with a jump shot, and A.J Walton nailed a 3-pointer to give Baylor a 30-27 lead. In the waning seconds, Carter found Udoh open under the rim, and Udoh slammed in a dunk for the 39-36 score at halftime.

The two teams alternated 3-point baskets to start the second half, but that was about as long as Morgan State was capable of keeping up with Baylor.

Udoh slammed in a put back and following a Morgan State missed shot, Baylor capitalized on a 3-on-2 fast break. Dunn found Carter in stride, and Carter drained a 3-point shot from the corner to give Baylor a 47-40 lead. Later with the score at 55-45 Baylor, Carter connected with Udoh on a thunderous alley-oop to catalyze what would become a 19-3 run. Although the offense provided an immediate spark, Carter said the reason for the run came at the other end of the floor.

"Coming in the second half we started off getting stops," the senior guard said. "It starts defensively. When you are playing great defense, your offense goes from there."

The Bears' lone loss of the season rides at the mercy of the University of Alabama in a 79-76 defeat at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. Projected to endure growing pains after losing starters like Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers, Drew's squad has exceeded its expectations. However, the coach believes the team hasn't reached its potential.

"We have great leadership. We have very unselfish players that are very team-oriented," Drew said. "As long as those two things continue, the sky is limit."

Baylor plays host to the University of Oklahoma Saturday in its conference-opener against a Sooner team yearning to find its stride after suffering key losses from last season's squad including No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Blake Griffin. Drew believes the Sooners, like the rest of the teams in the Big 12, will be a formidable opponent.

"Anytime you have three McDonald's All-Americans on your team you have some highly-touted players," Drew said. "It's a situation where they are young like us, and I expect them to get better throughout the year, like we expect our team to get better. Because of their 3-point shooting and strong perimeter play, they can beat anybody when they're hot. We know Coach Capel does a great job, and since it's Big 12 play, every team is a potential top-25 team."

Saturday's tip-off will be at 5 p.m.