Motley; Baylor bench propel Bears over John Brown

Junior forward Johnathan Motley pulls up a jumpshot during the Bears’ game against Texas on Feb. 1, at the Ferrell Center. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

Playing in its second game in as many days, the Baylor men’s basketball team hosted the John Brown Golden Eagles of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Sunday at the Ferrell Center.

After a sluggish start Saturday in its 82-57 win over Jackson State, Baylor was once again sloppy early on, misfiring on their first five shots and committing two turnovers. However, the Bears soon got it going on both sides of the ball, as they eclipsed the century mark for the first time this season, beating John Brown 107-53.

“First and foremost, we got the win. Nobody got injured and we played back-to-back days. It was great having Ty Beard and Jason Bethsda back,” said head coach Scott Drew. “We are really happy that they are so successful at John Brown. I know that they are going to keep being competitive and have a good team as long as they are there.”

After junior forward Jonathan Motley’s three-point play tied the game early, Baylor began to settle in on the offensive end, using a 16-2 run to take control in the first half.

“Everybody looks forward to playing basketball. It’s another opportunity to have fun,” Motley said. “Those are the best parts of the season, playing the games. So we came out and tried to have as much fun as possible.”

Motley would finish with a team-high 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists, including an off the backboard pass to junior forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. for the emphatic slam.

“Everybody on the court has to be able to do multiple things to be effective. I just try to bring a lot of things to the table like facing up and passing out of the double team,” Motley said. “Different skills like that help me to be effective against different opponents.”

Lual-Acuil Jr. finished with 11 points and five rebounds for the Bears.

Similar to Saturday, the Baylor charge to gain control in the fist half was led by junior guard Al Freeman. Freeman’s stroke was crisp and accurate, as he connected on three of four three-point attempts en route to 13 first half points. Freeman finished with 16 points.

The Baylor bench saw extended minutes on Sunday afternoon. They combined for 54 points and 23 rebounds. Redshirt freshman guard Wendell Mitchell scored 13 points and junior forward Terry Maston 10 points for the Baylor bench.

I want to defend and do what I can do to help the team,” Mitchell said. “I have to make sure I don’t try to do too much and turn the ball over. I want to come in and help my team.”

Mitchell did just that, as he only turned the ball over once in 19 minutes while dishing out two assists.

Sophomore walk-on forward Jonathan Davis gave the Baylor faithful multiple chances to applaud late in the game. The Argyle, TX product score nine points and was a perfect four for four from the field, including connecting on his only three-point attempt.

Despite shooting a higher percentage from inside the arc, John Brown relied heavily on the three-point baskets for its offense. The Baylor zone held the Golden Eagles to 9 for 25 from downtown and was limited to just 40% from the field.

The Golden Eagles were led by sophomore forward Josh Bowling who finished with 14 points.

“This was not just an opportunity to have fun,” said John Brown head coach Jason Beschta. “We wanted to use it as an opportunity to get better and really prepare us to make a run in our conference play.”

Baylor will host Texas Southern in its final tune-up at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before beginning Big 12 play against Oklahoma on Dec. 30. The game will also air on FSSW.