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Bears shrug off slow start in 83-39 rout

Dec. 16, 2010

Associated Press
No. 24 LaceDarius Dunn hits a three point basket over Bethune-Cookman's No. 3 C.J. Reed in the first half of Wednesday's game at the Ferrell Center.
Associated Press
No. 4 Quincy Acy dunks over Bethune-Cookman's No. 5 Albert Abrahams and No. 12 Mikel Trapp in the first half

By Chris Derrett
Sports editor

It wasn't the night before Christmas at the Ferrell Center, but hardly a creature was stirring as Baylor cruised past Bethune-Cookman, 83-39. Senior LaceDarius Dunn once again led the Bears with 24 points, and junior Quincy Acy notched a double-double on 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"Credit Bethune-Cookman for slowing the game down," coach Scott Drew said. "Obviously we like to play faster."

The Wildcats (5-6) stayed within single digits as late as the eight minute mark of the first half at 26-17, but from there the Bears (7-0) enjoyed a 21-7 run that lasted 2:45 into the second half.

By halftime Baylor built a 38-22 lead, an advantage that was deceptively large considering the apparent lack of energy in the building.

"It was a back-and-forth, monotone type of situation. There was just easy flow to it; it didn't look like they had a 16 point lead," Bethune-Cookman head coach Clifford Reed, Jr., said.

Drew and his team admitted it took a while to get in a flow upon returning from a 13-day break and final exams.

Suffering most from the long layover appeared to be Perry Jones III, who went the entire first half without a field goal attempt or free throw. He exploded for 15 second-half points and finished a rebound shy of a double-double.

"With this break we had, I knew I was going to be a little sluggish. But once I got the feel, I was a little more comfortable like I've been, just trying to score the ball," Jones III said.

Junior J'mison Morgan picked up for Jones III's slow start with seven first-half points on 3 of 6 shooting, and he added another four in the final 20 minutes.

Baylor's size eventually overwhelmed the Wildcats' lineup as it tallied 40 points in the paint, drew 29 free throw attempts and threw down four alley-oop dunks. The first dunk, an A.J. Walton lob to Acy, put the Bears ahead 7-4 as the teams were still jockeying for position.

Walton finished the game with a season-high 10 assists and just one turnover, an encouraging sign for a team missing a true point guard off the bench after Stargell Love suffered a stress fracture that will bench him until at least mid-January.

"I did what I needed to do, whatever the team needed me to do. You could say I wasn't looking for my shot," Walton said. "I just needed to get my teammates going."

When Walton rested, a number of players took the ball up the floor including Jones III and Dunn. The designation of point-guard is mostly matchup-based, Drew said, and Dunn has no problem running the show if need be.

"It's not natural; you're used to seeing me on the wing shooting a three," Dunn said. "Playing the one [position], I got a little bit of swag going and got a feeling for the game."

After blowing past Bethune-Cookman, Baylor now turns its focus toward its Saturday afternoon matchup with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have not beaten any of their three ranked opponents this year, most recently falling 83-79 to Notre Dame on the road last Saturday.

If the Bears can hold Gonzaga to under 40 points, it will be the second time since 1958 for a Baylor team to keep an opponent from reaching that mark. Wednesday's game was the first.