By Cody Soto
Baylor men’s basketball took a slim 69-65 win over South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon in Colombia, S.C., for its second win of the season.
Veteran players scored 30 of Baylor’s second half points to hoist the Bears (2-0) over the Gamecocks (1-1).
Senior guard Kenny Chery led the Bears with 20 points, five rebounds and three steals in the win. Chery previously had only nine points in the team’s season opener last Friday.
“I know we have a lot of inexperienced players, first time playing college basketball,” head coach Scott Drew said. “It really makes it easy when you have a senior point guard in Kenny Chery controlling the tempo out there.”
Redshirt freshman forward Johnathan Motley posted 17 points and five rebounds for Baylor. Motley scored double-digits for the second time in only his second career game.
Junior forward Deng Deng scored six points after committing three first half fouls, and he was benched for a majority of the game. In his Division I debut on Friday, Deng posted 16 points in 16 minutes at the Ferrell Center.
Junior guard Lester Medford added 12 points and was 2-for-3 from three-point range in Tuesday’s win. Medford also had Baylor’s lone block in the early afternoon matchup.
Although senior forward Royce O’Neale only contributed nine points for Baylor, O’Neale had a balanced game with a team-high seven rebounds and seven assists to keep the Bears in front.
The Bears played a sloppy first half and only shot 9-for-24 from the field and only made one of nine three-point shots. Motley, Medford and Deng carried the team along as they combined for 26 of Baylor’s 30 first half points in the opening frame. Motley ended the half on a sharp turn around jump shot to put the Bears up 30-26 at halftime.
Chery fired away and scored 18 of the team’s 39 second half points in the final 20 minutes, including two important free throws to seal the win.
“We have a lot of young guys as senior leaders, our job is to keep everybody together,” Chery said. “I think we’re doing a great job.”
Baylor will return to Waco and host Prairie View A&M at 6 p.m. on Friday night at the Ferrell Center. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Southwest.