By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor men’s basketball has started off the 2013-14 season with three straight wins in non-conference play. The men will look to make it four straight against Charleston Southern (2-2) in the first-ever meeting between these two opponents. The Bears will host Charleston Southern at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.
Senior guard Brady Heslip leads Baylor with 16.3 points per game on 51.9 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from the three-point line. Junior point guard Kenny Chery is averaging 14.3 points per game and 3.7 assists per game on 57.7 percent from the field.
Senior power forward Cory Jefferson is averaging 12.0 point per game and 9.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore center Isaiah Austin is averaging 9.0 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 4.3 blocks per game.
The Bears have played a deep rotation throughout the season so far. Nine different players have played in every game for Baylor, and each is averaging 10 or more minutes per game. Four different players are also averaging 9.0 or more points per game.
“Our defensive field goal percentage as a team has been outstanding,” head basketball coach Scott Drew said. “We’re working on areas on the offensive end, points off turnovers and rebounding especially.”
Baylor is holding opponents to an opposing field goal percentage of 34.4 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from the three-point line.
“I think, guard-wise, we’ve been able to keep people out of the paint, and our bigs have been doing a great job helping,” senior guard Gary Franklin said. “I think if we rebound a lot better, our defensive field goal percentage would be even less than it is now.”
Junior guard Saah Nimley leads CSU with 19.3 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game and 8.7 assists per game.
“Nimley is very similar to Earl Boykins,” Drew said. “For those of you who don’t remember Earl: a couple inches shorter than Pierre Jackson but just as quick, if that gives you some reference. He’s good at creating shots for his teammates.”
Charleston Southern is coming off of a tough loss against No. 22 New Mexico on Sunday.
Five different players average double-digit points for Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers shoot just under 23 three-pointers per game, and shoot them at a 44 percent clip.
Baylor defeated University of Louisiana-Lafayette 87-68 Sunday behind a combined 39 points from Canadian backcourt-mates Chery and Heslip.
Baylor moved up to No. 20 in the Associated Press polls, making BU one of only two teams to have football, men’s and women’s basketball all ranked in the top 20.