Bears cruise against Grambling StateNov. 13, 2010
Jerry Larson | Associated Press
No. 4 forward Quincy Acy shoots in front of Grambling State's Peter Roberson in the second half of the game Friday.
Maybe it was the 7,242 Baylor faithful in attendance. It could have been the increase in practice intensity.
Whatever it was, the Bears used it for a 19-3 run to start their season opener against Grambling State, and behind five different players in double figures, the team cruised to an 87-52 win.
"We thank everyone for the support, and that's the direct reason why I think we got off to a start like we did," coach Scott Drew said.
The Bears won decisively despite missing its entire starting backcourt. Senior LaceDarius Dunn served the first of a three-game suspension Friday night, and for undisclosed reasons, sophomore A.J. Walton did not dress, either.
A youth-laden starting lineup, whose energy led to both crowd-pleasing plays and frustrating turnovers, came out on fire and quickly put the game out of reach.
43 seconds into the game, freshman Perry Jones III threw down an alley-oop from fellow freshman Stargell Love. Veteran Quincy Acy later added another dunk, and junior transfer J'mison Morgan's rim-rocker put the Bears ahead 17-2.
"That was the goal all week after the exhibition game. Coach Drew said we came out dead. Practices were more revved up," Acy said. "We did a good job. Everybody came out focused, playing together, and it was fun."
Drew primarily used a seven-player rotation, with Acy, Jones III and senior Anthony Jones in the frontcourt, junior Fred Ellis at the 2-guard and Love making his first collegiate start at the point.
Morgan and sophomore Nolan Dennis joined the rotation, combining for 21 points.
Acy's 20 points led all scorers, and he hauled in 12 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.
By halftime Baylor held a 41-25 lead, thanks largely in part to the dominating size upfront that Acy believes will be the team's strength.
"Last year we had [Josh] Lomers and Ekpe [Udoh]; they're bigger guys. This year we have long, lean, more athletic guys. In practice there's somebody getting dunked on every day," Acy said.
Second in rebounding to Acy was Jones, with 10 on the night and four being offensive. The lean, 6-foot-10 forward averaged 4.8 rebounds last season. As part of a team emphasizing size, he has made it a goal to grab more boards in 2010-11.
"All week in practice, that's what I focused on. Coach Drew, coach Morefield, they told me to do what I do best. That's crashing and playing with energy. Points will come," Jones said.
While Drew had plenty of positives from Friday night, a 23-turnover and 21-38 free throw shooting performances still leaves room for improvement. Many of the mistakes, especially the combined 13 turnovers from Jones III and Love.
"When they're getting 32 and 34 minutes, now you have enough film to show them. And they're able to grow from it," Drew said. "Quality minutes like that will definitely pay dividends down the road."