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Baylor handles Minutemen with ease, 71-45

Jan. 23, 2010

Associated Press
Ekpe Udoh (top) had seven blocks, and he and Tweety Carter (bottom) each had 23 points to lead all scorers.

By Justin Baer
Sports editor

In the midst of a brutal stretch in the conference schedule, No. 25 Baylor stepped out of the confines of the Big 12 and defeated the UMass Minutemen 71-45 Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center--and set a record while at it.

Following a near upset at the No. 3-ranked University of Kansas Wednesday night, the Bears regrouped for a Ferrell Center-record 11th-straight victory at home.

Ekpe Udoh had seven blocks, and he and Tweety Carter each had 23 points to lead all scorers. Baylor contested the majority of UMass's shots and held the Minutemen to 24.2 percent shooting from the floor. However, the journey won't be as easy the week ahead, as Baylor has matchups against No. 9-ranked Kansas State University on Tuesday and a road trip to face No. 3-ranked Texas next Saturday.

"That just speaks to the credibility of the Big 12 this year," Drew said. "A lot of experts were touting it at the beginning of the year as the best conference, and every game is a battle. Sometimes you look at a ranking or a number, and you assume somebody is so much better than someone else. But every game in the Big 12 is a war."

Led by Udoh's 13-for-14 shooting from the free-throw line, the Bears' starters converted all but one shot from the charity stripe (19-20), a stat the 6-foot-10 forward was prideful with.

"Thirteen-for-14, what is that? Anybody have a calculator?" Udoh said in a joking manner following the game. "That's been something I have been practicing. In non-conference, I didn't do so well. I told (people) I was an 80-percent free-throw shooter, so I guess that's what I aiming for."

LaceDarius Dunn's 3-point shot in the first half gave Baylor a 7-5 lead--it was a lead the Bears never relinquished. Later, Carter snapped a four minute and 56 second drought of no scoring with a pull-up 3-pointer to pull Baylor ahead 16-9.

Despite the sluggish start, the Bears went into the locker room ahead 34-20.

"We didn't start out the way we wanted," Carter said. "It was a slow game at first, but we did a good job coming out in the second half and playing aggressive."

The Minutemen jumped out to a 6-0 run in the second half, but Baylor retaliated with a run of its own. Carter's 3-point jumper capped an 11-0 run, and Drew said his team showed him mental toughness that will be imperative for the upcoming week.

"It's so important when you take that punch, do you take another one or do you come back?" Drew said. "We took that run and got it up to (a 20-point lead), and we were on our way."

The Bears play host to the Wildcats, who were upset by Oklahoma State University Saturday, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.