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Bears prepare for invasion of Patton+s troops

Jan. 21, 1997

Bears prepare for invasion of Patton's troops

Jeff Andresen/ The Baylor Lariat

Freshman standout Leon Morris follows through on his lay up during a recent practice. The Bears prepare to take on the University of Colorado tonight at home.

By Jeff Huett

Lariat Sports Reporter

The Baylor men's basketball team began the conference season sporting a 12-2 record, but that was before the start of the Big 12 conference schedule.

Since the start of conference play, the Bears have gone 1-4.

The schedule for the Bears continues on its rough course with the University of Colorado coming to the Ferrell Special Events Center tonight.

Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton, who began in an interim position last season with a 4-9 record, has led the Buffaloes out of the conference cellar. The Buffs, who finished last in the Big 8 Conference last season, are now one of the top teams in the Big 12 , with a perfect 5-0 conference record.

'Colorado may be the second best team in the league,' head coach Harry Miller said. 'They have Chancey Billups who brings a lot of charisma to the floor.'

Billups, who led Colorado in scoring, assists, steals and free throws for the 1995-96 season, was a preseason first team All-American this year.

In addition to the competition, Baylor will also have to overcome the injury to Rahsaan Jones, a New Orleans junior. Jones tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the Bears 82-66 loss to Missouri.

'Losing Rock [Jones] is a huge blow, but we have to be resilient,' Miller said. 'It means that someone is going to have to step up.'

In Baylor's first game without Jones, the Bears suffered their worst first half of the season last Saturday against the University of Oklahoma. They managed to score only 26 points in the half and faced a 19-point deficit at half-time.

Many of the problems for the Bears were attributed to mistakes in ball handling and passing which resulted in 17 first-half turnovers.

The second half did not fare too much better for Baylor as they finished 17 points behind the Sooners at the final buzzer.

Seemingly, the tough Big 12 schedule would have a negative effect on the morale of a team, but the Bears rose up to the challenge.

Their good showing in their match-up against no. 1 ranked Kansas on January 11, was a potentially important confidence builder for the remainder of the season.

'We know what level no. 1 is. We have a yardstick to measure ourselves,' Miller said. 'We're not as far away as we thought.'

However, the Bears hope to once again find the win column after a three-game losing streak.

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