No. 25 Bears dismantle Prairie View A&M

Sophomore forward Jonathan Motley goes up for a basket against Prairie View A&M Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center. Photo credit: Sarah Pyo

The No. 25 Baylor Bears (5-1) overwhelmed the Prairie View A&M Panthers (0-7) as they won 80-41 Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center to remain undefeated at home. There was an evident discrepancy in skill level between the two sides and Baylor took advantage after a pedestrian start.

The Bears looked to push the pace early in an attempt to get easy shots in transition. But the frantic pace forced Baylor into several hurried three pointers. Scott Drew was noticeably displeased by the sloppy play and his team’s slim lead at the 16-minute mark.

The head coach used the next media timeout to refocus his team on the game plan.

Baylor responded to the quick break, as they went on a 21-3 run over the next nine minutes to take control of the game. The Bears seemed methodical and organized on offense after the words from Drew, as the attack contained a healthier balance of penetration and close-range shots to throw off the Panthers defense.

Sophomore forward Johnathan Motley gave Baylor its biggest boost, by coming off the bench and scoring a team-high eight points on four of six shooting in the first half. Another forward, senior Rico Gathers, made his presence felt as he punished opponents on the boards in route to seven first half rebounds to go with six points.

Baylor led the Panthers in rebounding at the half 20-11 thanks to the play of its frontcourt.

Prairie View A&M head coach Byron Rimm II called a timeout hoping to slow down the Bears with six minutes left before intermission, but the breather did little to jumpstart the Panthers flow and rhythm.

On top of the dominating offensive display from Baylor, the Bears also clamped down defensively. After the first media timeout, Baylor held the Panthers below 15 percent shooting for the remainder of the first half, while forcing eight turnovers.

The home team’s smothering playing style resulted in Baylor’s lowest points allowed in a half in the Scott Drew era. The Bears would take a 35-15 lead into halftime.

Baylor began the second half much like the first half ended as they continued to dominate the boards and play lockdown defense. After a quick opening bucket by Prairie View, the Bears held the Panthers scoreless for the next six minutes, which resulted in a 48-17 lead.

From that point on, the offense appeared to run through Motley and he rewarded Baylor with 11 straight points over a three minute span.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Houston native remained unguardable and helped lead the Bears to the dominating win. He finished with a game-high 23 points.

Gathers also played a big role in the blowout victory as he scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Baylor won the rebounding battle 42-25, while limiting the visitors to 23 percent shooting.

The Bears will look to carry the efficient offense and shutdown defense into their next game against No. 16 Vanderbilt. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at the Ferrell Center.