By Chris Derrett
With each strong performance, Perry Jones III is becoming less freshman and more phenom.
His latest feat, a 24-point, eight-rebound night against Oklahoma State, propelled Baylor past Oklahoma State in Saturday’s 76-57 contest at the Ferrell Center.
Jones III’s offensive work was finished midway through the second half, when his pair of free throws put the Bears ahead 54-41.
“I’m just doing what I do in practice every day, posting up hard, posting up strong” Jones III said. “[I’m] trying to get goals, trying to get fouls. I’m trying to do my best to help my team win.”
Jones III’s timing could not have been any better Saturday. He gave his team the lead for good with a pair of free throws late in the first half, the Cowboys’ 13th foul of the game. With a second left on the clock he leaned in for a shot near the paint and earned an and-1 opportunity in the process.
With the basket, Baylor entered the locker room up 36-27 on a 13-3 run.
“That’s how you want to finish a half. We’ve had some halves where we haven’t finished that way, and sometimes it carries over into the second,” coach Scott Drew said.
Early in the second half Jones III struck again following a missed Cowboys dunk on the other end. He caught sophomore A.J. Walton
Saturday was a complete change from the Bears’ defensive effort against Kansas. Oklahoma State finished 4 of 19 from beyond the arc and managed just five offensive rebounds. The final boards count favored Baylor, 40-19, the Bears’ largest margin against a Big 12 opponent this year.
Much of the rebounding came from the Cowboys’ early foul trouble. Starting forward Darrell Williams collected three fouls before the under-16 minute timeout, and his substitute, Roger Franklin, committed two fouls within two minutes of checking into the game.
“Foul trouble messed us up,” Williams said.
One of Baylor’s usual suspects on the front defensive line, however, did not make the start Saturday. Junior Quincy Acy came off the bench, reminiscent of his sixth-man role last season, and junior J’mison Morgan was instead in the starting lineup.
Morgan played just 13 minutes but was instrumental in containing Oklahoma State under the basket. Lacking the offensive game of Acy, Morgan did exactly what his team wanted.
“[Morgan] is big body inside. He makes player alter their shot, blocks shots, just does all the little things, senior LaceDarius Dunn said. “He’s not really looking to score the ball, just looking to give us what he does on defense.”
Dunn joined Acy and junior Anthony Jones as double figure scorers, Dunn with 16, Acy with 14 and Jones 13.
Baylor has little time to recover and review game film, as the team heads to Manhattan, Kan., for a matchup with Kansas State on ESPN’s Big Monday.