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By Daniel Wallace
In the first meeting of the two teams since the 2009 NIT semifinals, No. 11 Baylor (3-0) used a second-half push to surge past the San Diego State Aztecs (3-1) by a score of 77-67 Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.
“That game was a great game for us,” head coach Scott Drew said. “The thing about San Diego State is you know they are going to make adjustments and be well prepared.”
The Aztecs, who made the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament last season, showed great preparation from the beginning and gave the Bears all they could handle in the first 20 minutes.
At halftime, the Bears led by a slim margin of two points, 32-30.
It was the 3-point ball that allowed Baylor to enter the break with a lead, as it was the main weapon for the Baylor offense in the first half.
Six of the first eight field goals for the Bears came from beyond the arc.
All but four field goals in the first half resulted in three points. Sophomore guard Brady Heslip led the way with three 3-pointers and nine points at halftime.
He was quick to give credit where it was due, however.
“I just settled down and was taking time on my shots and just felt more comfortable,” Heslip said. “My teammates hit me when I was open and they just made great passes.”
Heslip finished with 16 points.
Freshman forward Quincy Miller led the way again for the Bears with a career-high 20 points, shooting 58.3 percent from the field.
Senior forwards Quincy Acy and Anthony Jones also reached double figures, adding 13 and 11, respectively.
In all four games this season, the Bears have had four players score 10 points or more.
The Bears came out strong in the second half and built up a lead as great as 16 points.
Acy said the key to the second-half turnaround was making the job harder for San Diego State’s junior guard Chase Tapley.
For the game, Tapley shot an astounding 80 percent from the 3-point line.
“(Number) 22 was really lighting it up with the three,” Acy said. “We just had to pay more attention to him knowing we had to play zone and man. We just made his shots a little tougher than they were the first half.”
Tapley led all scorers with 28 points.
In the middle of an 18-5 run for the Bears, Acy provided the play of the game on a wild, reverse one-handed throw-down dunk with 14:21 remaining in the second half.
The dunk extended the Bears’ lead to 41-34 and mightily swung the momentum in favor of the home team.
“It’s what I do,” Acy said very simply, when speaking of the dunk.
Each team had 21 turnovers in the game, but Baylor was able to dish out 18 assists as opposed to just eight for the Aztecs.
The game was nationally televised on ESPN and was the eighth game of ESPN’s 21-game College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon schedule.
This game marked the third time in four seasons that Baylor and the Ferrell Center have been a host site for the ESPN College Hoops Tip-off Marathon.
The Bears’ next game is at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Ferrell Center against the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
The game will be the fourth game of Baylor’s six-game home stand.