By Krista Pirtle
After a slow start in icy Waco the men’s basketball team thawed out the court winning 74-70 over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Baylor went 33.3 percent from the floor the first half then found its rhythm and one another in the second, hitting 63.6 percent from the floor and dishing seven assists.
This was a game won at the free throw line as the Huskers put the Bears behind the charity stripe 44 times, allowing Baylor 31 uncontested points.
“We’ve been putting teams to the free throw line 14 to 16 times a game,” Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said. “And for some reason, we put somebody there 44 times tonight. You look at the rest of the stats. We didn’t turn the ball over, on offensive rebounds we out-rebounded them, but when a team scores 31 points at the free throw line, you’re not going to win many ball games.”
This was also a game of the sixth men, with junior Toney McCray leading Nebraska with 23 points and seven boards, and junior Quincy Acy landing second in total points for the Bears with 15 and seven boards as well.
Two of the big names, Nebraska’s senior point guard Lance Jeter and Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn finished as high scorers as well.
Jeter finished the night with 13, while Dunn recorded 24 points, 20 of which came in the second half.
“I was just trying to get a spark going,” Dunn said. “In the first half I was trying to feed my big men and get them going and get everybody involved. In the second half I knew I had to take it to another level on both ends of the court. I just tried to be more physical and make plays. I think I did a great job getting to the free throw line.”
Following McCray and Jeter in points for Nebraska was Drake Beranek with 10.
For the Bears, adding to Dunn and Acy was freshman Perry Jones III with 11, seven of those points from the free throw line.
“It was tougher getting good looks at the basket than it was getting the ball,” Jones III said. “They let you catch it, then they just come in really quick in all different directions. You have to be able to find your teammates, and that’s what I tried to do,”
The matchup of Jeter and sophomore A.J. Walton has been anticipated throughout the week, with Jeter second in the Big XII in assist to turnover ratio at 3.1 percent.
This has been a struggle for the Bears, turning the ball over 23 times in both their last two matchups against A&M and Oklahoma.
Against the Huskers, the Bears turned the ball over 13 times, fewer than Nebraska’s 15, an improvement for Baylor that still needs some work.
“We didn’t share it with them as much as we’ve shared it with other teams,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “So I think that’s a good thing. Again, we’re trying to get better in that area.,”
The Bears have three days to work on containing their turnovers before they head to Austin to take on the No. 3 ranked Texas Longhorns on ESPN at 3p.m. Saturday.