By The Associated Press
EVANSTON, Ill. — Baylor and Northwestern met on the Wildcats’ court, but it was the Bears who felt right at home.
Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson both scored 16 points and No. 7 Baylor remained unbeaten with a 69-41 victory Sunday.
Baylor and Northwestern both came in undefeated for the first-ever meeting between the schools but once the game tipped off, that seemed to be about the only thing they had in common.
Four players scored in double figures for the Bears (7-0), who cruised after an early game run. Jackson scored 14 points in the first half, while Perry Jones III added 12 and Brady Haslip 11.
“I’ve really been impressed with the unselfishness of the players,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We just really have good kids and I think they buy into (the) team (concept).”
Acy had six blocks to lead a dominant performance in the paint on both ends of the court. Baylor outscored Northwestern 46-12 in the lane and hit 25 of 30 shots from inside the 3-point line.
“We have a lot more depth this year we have a lot a guys than can do special things,” Acy said. “We take it personally in practice guarding each other. Last year, (defense) is what really hurt us.”
Drew Crawford had 15 points to lead Northwestern (7-1).
“That’s an elite team, that’s who we want to play,” Crawford said. “We just have to compete better.”
Baylor was the highest-ranked nonconference opponent the Wildcats have played at Welsh-Ryan Arena since Dec. 2, 1989, a 103-77 loss to No. 7 Duke.
Both teams came in undefeated for the first-ever meeting between the schools but once the game tipped off, that seemed to be about the only thing they had in common. Baylor led by 17 points at halftime and by as many as 32 points in the game.
Baylor, playing its first road game of the season, has started 7-0 for the second straight year, something never before accomplished in school history.
“We still have a long way to go as far as not getting comfortable with leads,” Acy said.
In the first half, Jackson’s layup after a steal with 4:31 left gave Baylor an 11-point lead. Jackson hit all six of his shots from the field in the first half.
“I just try to get in the game and be aggressive,” Jackson said.
Northwestern entered the game averaging just 8.8 turnovers, second-lowest in the nation. But Baylor pressured the Wildcats into 12 turnovers leading to 23 points.
The mismatch extended to shooting. Northwestern tied a school record by hitting 20 3-pointers in a rout of Mississippi Valley State on Friday, but had trouble finding open shots against the smothering Baylor zone.
The Wildcats shot just 2 of 13 from deep and 29 percent overall before halftime. It didn’t get much better in the second half as Northwestern shot 25 percent for the game.
“They smacked us pretty good,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “I think they’re pretty good, they have some good guys and they play together.”
Northwestern’s John Shurna, who entered the game with a Big 10-leading 20.0 scoring average, hit just 4 of 18 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. He finished with 11 points.
“(Shurna) is a great player,” Acy said. “Coach made it known that we had to pay attention to him.”
After Luka Mirkovic scored the first basket of the game for the Wildcats, Baylor went on a 10-point run, capped by Jackson’s layup.
Drew’s father Homer, the former head coach at nearby Valparaiso, watched from behind the Baylor bench.
Also watching was Drew’s brother Bryce, the current coach of the Crusaders.
“They had a big win at Butler (on Saturday), so he’s excited,” Scott Drew said. “It was a big weekend for the Drews.”
Jones was playing in just his second game for the Bears after missing five because of a suspension. Quincy Miller returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with a sprained ankle, so Sunday was the first time this season Drew has his full arsenal of talent.
That makes Baylor’s perfect start all the more impressive.
“With us having a lot of new guys and just getting Perry back, I think we’ll be a much better team come February than we are now,” Drew said.