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Bears crush hapless Troy State, 98-44

Nov. 18, 1997

By Martin Coco

Sports Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

After struggling in two exhibition games, the Baylor men's basketball team was firing on all cylinders Saturday.

The Bears opened the regular season in grand style, routing the Troy State Trojans 98-44 before a crowd of 2,035 at the Ferrell Special Events Center. Sophomore guard David Jones came off of the bench to score a career-high 22 points, including five three-pointers, leading a balanced Bear offense that had five players score in double figures.

The Bears also received double figure scoring from senior guard John Perkins (15 points; 3-6 three-pointers) and sophomore forward Jamie Kendrick, who had two powerful dunks among his 11 points.

Baylor dominated every aspect of the game, out-rebounding the Trojans 64-39 and forcing 20 turnovers. Patrick Hunter added 18 points and nine assists for the Bears, and senior center Brian Skinner chipped in 16 points and 14 rebounds.

'This is a great way for us to open the season,' Hunter said. 'It shows what kind of team we're able to be if we're playing together.'

The Bears were rolling from the start. After Troy State tied the game at five, Baylor went on the first of its numerous scoring runs, outscoring the Trojans 16-3 to post a 21-8 lead. It didn't get much prettier for the Trojans from there. Baylor took advantage of Troy State's turnovers and poor shooting and ran out to a 43-19 halftime lead. The Trojans shot only 20 percent from the floor for the game.

The second half wasn't much different, as the Bears continued to pour on the offense. Baylor started the half with a 12-0 run and went on to outscore the Trojans 55-25 in the second half. Many of the Bears' points came off of fast breaks created by Trojan turnovers. The Bears were ahead by as much as 60 points several times in the second half, but were unable to break the century mark.

Baylor Head Coach Harry Miller said the Bears did a good job forcing turnovers, and more importantly, handling Troy State's defensive pressure.

'We took care of business,' Miller said. 'We handled their press, and in fact, turned it into some offense for us.'

Skinner again controlled the middle for the Bears, adding five blocked shots go with his 7 of 13 shooting from the floor.

'We're obviously a bigger team than they were,' Skinner said. 'They like to run the fast break. Our way of containing that was to crash the boards, and we did an excellent job of that.'

Miller said Saturday's performances from Hunter and Jones are what the Bears will need to have continued success this season.

'Pat (Hunter) was high energy out there, and got everyone involved in the offense,' Miller said. 'David (Jones) shot the ball really well. He hit some three-pointers that were, I'm serious, three yards behind the line. There's not a whole lot opponents can do about that.'

Miller also commended the play of junior transfer Jeff Gipson, who had nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Bears next game will be on the road as they travel to Beaumont to take on Lamar at 7 p.m. Saturday. Baylor's next home game is Nov. 25 against Northwestern (La.) State.

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