Men’s basketball faces Texas Tech in midweek tilt at Ferrell Center

DRIVING FOR A PURPOSE Baylor sophomore guard Jake Lindsey driving down the court against the University of Texas Longhorns on Jan. 17 in Waco. Baylor won by a final of 74-64. Photo credit: Dayday Wynn

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s basketball continues Big 12 Conference play at 7 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center against Texas Tech.

The Bears (18-1, 6-1) are coming off of a road win at TCU, while the Red Raiders (14-5, 3-4) dropped a home game to Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Last season, Baylor and Texas Tech split the season series with the each team winning on each other’s home court.

The game in Waco was a blowout as the Red Raiders ran away with a 84-66 win.

Baylor sophomore guard Jake Lindsey said that while everyone remembers that game, a lot has changed in a year.

“While you have to be cognizant of the fact that they blew us out on our home court last year,” Lindsey said, “they’re a different team this year. We’re a different team.”

The Red Raiders return junior guard Keenan Evans, who leads the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game while shooting a blistering 47.8 percent from three-point range.

Additionally, junior forward Zach Smith is putting up 13.1 points per game while leading the team in rebounding at 7.5 per game and shooting an efficient 57.9 percent from the field.

Graduate transfer center Anthony Livingston gives Texas Tech a veteran player who is versatile and can score from anywhere, scoring 11.5 points per game and shooting 41.7 percent from deep this season.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew expressed his concern for the Red Raiders’ offensive ability and Evans’ improvement.

“They have a very balanced attack,” Drew said. “Shooting-wise; Keenan Evans is top 35 in the nation in three-point percentage. His improvement there has allowed him to be their leading scorer and made them more difficult to guard.”

Meanwhile, Baylor continues to lean on offensive contributions from junior forward Johnathan Motley and junior point guard Manu Lecomte.

Motley, who leads the Big 12 in double-doubles with seven on the season, is No. 1 on the team in scoring and rebounding with averages of 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game this season.

Lecomte is second on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game and leads the Bears in assists at 4.4 assists per game.

On the defensive side, Baylor is seventh in the nation in points allowed per game, holding opponents to just 60.4 points per game.

In recent games, second- half defense has been a savior for the Bears when they struggle offensively, a trend noticed by junior center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.

“We just lock down,” Lual-Acuil Jr. said. “I think we play better defense in the second half than we do in the first half. I think everybody just gets more comfortable.”

Texas Tech leads the all-time series comfortably at 76-54, but Baylor holds a 34-26 edge in Waco and a 21-20 record since the Big 12 was formed.

Following Wednesday’s game, the Bears will take on Mississippi on Saturday as a part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.