By Tyler Alley
No sophomore forward Perry Jones III? No big deal, says the No. 12 Baylor men’s basketball team.
Freshman forward Quincy Miller debuted well as he led all scorers with 17 points in both of the Bears’ victories Friday and Sunday.
“My teammates were just looking for me to score,” Miller said. “They were just looking for me every time. I just tried to put the ball in the basket.”
Baylor defeated Texas Southern 77-57 on Friday at the Ferrell Center in the team’s regular season opener. After being redshirted a whole year, sophomore forward Cory Jefferson recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Feels great. My first official game back off the redshirt,” Jefferson said. “Lot of hard work paid. It was tough sitting out, especially with the rough year it was. It was hard watching. But family and friends, they always stuck by me and the team. They were a big part of helping me get through that year.”
With Jones out for five games, head coach Scott Drew had a chance to see how his players could perform without the star from last year. Miller stepped up big for Baylor, as did senior forward Anthony Jones, who recorded his third career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds against Texas Southern.
“Losing Perry is huge,” Anthony Jones, senior forward, said. “Me being a senior, I had to step up and fill in that void for him.”
Jones scored 11 points and had five rebounds against Jackson State on Sunday.
With a 3-point percentage of 20, Jones said he needed to work on other ways to score.
“Coming in, I know a lot of teams are going to expect me to shoot the 3,” Jones said. “That’s what I’ve been doing in the past. Over the summer, I’ve been working on my handles, trying to get to the rim more, finishing strong.”
Baylor defeated Jackson State 92-59 on Sunday at the Ferrell Center. Jackson State head coach Tevester Anderson had high praise for Baylor, comparing the team to a seventh-ranked Florida team he and his players had to contend with on Friday.
“I thought Florida was pretty good, but this team compares or is better,” Anderson said. “I’m one of those voters on the coaches’ poll, and I’ve got to vote (Baylor) a little higher than 12. I think they’re going to be very, very good in this conference and go a long way in the NCAA tournament, too.”
One of Drew’s focuses for this season has been guard play, and his players have played to expectations so far.
They spread the ball well against Jackson State, with sophomore guard Brady Heslip, junior guard A.J. Walton and junior guard Pierre Jackson combining for 11 assists and only two turnovers, as well six steals.
Baylor plays San Diego State at 1 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center, as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon
“We’re fortunate enough, administration lets us play on national TV, be a part of the first 24 hours of college hoops,” Drew said. “I think any time you have a chance to show the nation what you’re about, what your school is about, I think it’s a positive. The more people we can could get here – if you’re going to take a long lunch break, that’s the day to do it. If you’re running the business, and you want to give everybody the day off and come to the game, that’s great as well.”