The No. 9-ranked Baylor men’s basketball team looks to stay strong coming off of an impressive run at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament as they take on the Sam Houston State University Bearkats at 8 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center.
“This is the 10th straight year that we have been ranked at some point. I think that’s a great tribute to the players that we’ve had and what they have been able to do,” said head coach Scott Drew. “I think there’s been years where we’ve been in the top 10 and the year didn’t finish out wanted to, and there are years we weren’t ranked as high and we ended up going to Elite 8’s and Sweet 16 and whatnot. We understand right now we are off to a good start, but we have a lot of goals and a lot of things left that we want to accomplish and achieve.”
Drew is 1-0 all-time as a Baylor head basketball coach going against the Bearkats. Drew understands that while his team has been getting some great recognition, there is still a lot of work left to be done.
“It’s great that our guys have been recognized for what they have been able to accomplish against outstanding programs, but we are really excited about the future of what we have the ability to accomplish this year,” Drew said.
Baylor leads the all-time series between the two teams, 7-3 and a record at home of 5-3 during the series. The last time these two teams played was on March 18, 2010, in the NCAA March Madness tournament when Baylor defeated the Bearkats 68-59 in New Orleans.
Senior guard Ishmail Wainright will be playing against Sam Houston State for the first time in his career at Baylor, and he said that this game will be no walk in the park for them.
“We know a lot about them. We have a great coaching staff that breaks down a lot of film. They do have a lot of depth. Great point guards, great bigs. They’re not as tall as us, but they play big,” Wainwright said. “They’re a great team and especially to not be ranked, they are playing a ranked team now. I’m pretty sure they are going to play with a chip on their shoulder. They are going to bring their all, and we are going to do the same.”
Sam Houston State is 4-2 on the season and is coming off of a win against Idaho, 69-62, in Huntsville. The last time the Bearkats defeated the Baylor Bears was in 1999 when the Bearkats won 64-81 in Waco.
Sophomore guard Jake Lindsey said he likes the confidence of this young team with their 6-0 start to the season.
“I think it’s very high. Being able to go out there and rely on your teammates and look at everyone on the floor and know that no one is a liability and that everyone has something to contribute,” Lindsey said. “They bring it every day. That’s a big part of what could make this team special this year.”