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Men cruise to victory

Nov. 19, 2010

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Daniel Cernero | Lariat Photo Editor
Baylor No. 20 freshman Stargell Love guards a Jackson State opponent during the second half of Thursday's game. The Bears' defense held the Tigers to 8 of 23 second-half shooting Baylor won, 62-49, and improved to 3-0.

By Chris Derrett
Sports Editor

No. 17 ranked Baylor's Thursday night matchup with Jackson State was another sloppy 40 minutes, but the 63-49 contest was another win nonetheless. Freshman Perry Jones III exploded for 15 first-half points before finishing the night with 20 and adding eight rebounds in 36 minutes.

The Bears controlled the score from the opening tip, but never by much as 26 turnovers hindered the team and the guard-oriented Tigers worked to keep the Baylor lineup out of the paint.

With his team up 3-0, Jones scored nine straight points beginning with a bucket in the paint and ending in an alley-oop dunk plus an and-1 free throw. After the game, he said the performance was a matter of listening to his teammates and coaches.

"They told me to look for my offensive game because they see what I can do in practice. So they just want me to come out and display it on the court all time," Jones III said.

Because of Baylor's 16 first half turnovers and four offensive rebounds on 13 of 19 shooting, Jackson State grabbed just two total rebounds before the buzzer. The Tigers came as close as 30-26, but an 8-0 run between the halves gave Baylor all the cushion it needed.

Coach Scott Drew's squad also survived an 11-minute field goal drought in the second half behind a bevy of free throws. In the stretch between an A.J. Walton 3-pointer at 15:13 and a Fred Ellis layup at 4:13, the Bears went 10 of 10 from the charity stripe.

"We have this thing called free throw club. If you're shooting under 75 percent, you have to make 10 free throws before you leave the gym after practice," Walton said. "Nobody wants to be in the free throw club."

Walton was a perfect 6 of 6 from the line and totaled 14 points and five assists. He brought the crowd to his feet late in the game when Jones passed to him on a fast break and he took the opportunity to throw down a one-handed jam.

Juniors Quincy Acy and Fred Ellis had quieter nights than in Baylor's previous two games, each notching eight points.

Junior Anthony Jones scored six and hauled in seven rebounds. His 27 minutes of playing time were the fewest among Baylor's five starters.

While the free throws rained down for the Bears during a subpar 5 of 15 second half, they held the Tigers to an equally poor 8 of 23 in the final 20 minutes.

The Bears' second half lead grew as large as 47-32 before Jackson State banked a shot from beyond the arc to beat the shot clock.

"I think this team has a chance to be very good defensively and very good on the boards," Drew said. "Those aren't things that people necessarily like to see [as much as offensive plays], but at the end of the day, coaches know that can win you a lot of games."

The Bears did show offensive power in the first half. Jones III was 7 of 8 from the field, and his team shot 68 percent. Ellis' game opening 3-pointer was one of three that fell for Baylor in the half.

The game ended on an 8-3 run including Walton's dunk and one final jumper from Jones.

Thursday was also the last game of LaceDarius Dunn's suspension. When the team's only senior returns, Drew expects fewer turnovers and more scoring opportunities.

"He's done a great job coaching and being involved on the bench, but I know we're all ready to get him on the floor and have him play with us," Drew said.

Baylor next sees action at 7 p.m. Monday against Lipscomb.