Story by Collin Bryant | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter
Baylor men’s basketball (2-0) team rolled past the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders (1-1) 70-46 Monday night at the Ferrell Center.
The game got off to a slow start, with both teams only scoring two points in the first three minutes.
The Bears had a rough start, shooting only 20 percent by going one for five from the floor early on. The Islanders took an early 4-3 lead as the Bears continued to struggle from the floor. Baylor junior Jake Lindsey came off the bench and helped tie the game, with a quick jumper early in the first half.
Freshman Mark Vital’s block 13 minutes into the game led to an Islanders timeout with the Bears leading 9-7. Coming out of the timeout, Baylor continued its free throw woes, with freshman Tristan Clark missing both at the line, putting its free throw percentage down to 13 percent. The Islanders took advantage of the miss, stealing the lead back 12-11 off a layup from Islanders freshman Perry Francouis. Midway into the first half, both teams began to trade shots back and forth. Baylor senior point guard Manu Lecomte still managed to knock down two free throws despite the team’s struggles at the line.
The Bears continued to struggle on offense, going eight for 20 from the field leading into halftime. The Islanders were able to pull back head of the Bears 20-19 after a jumper from the Islanders senior Joseph Kilgore. The Bears free throw shooting began to improve with Baylor senior forward Terry Maston and Lecomte each knocking down two from the line in the closing minutes of the half, putting the Bears up 23-20.
With both a foul and turnover by Islanders freshman power forward York Benjamin, the Bears decided to take a timeout to reaffirm their game plan. Lecomte followed up the timeout with a three-point jumper that seem to spark the Bears’ offense. Maston then scored a three to put the Bears up 28-22 going into halftime.
Lecomte said he thought the team’s play was solid but that shots just weren’t falling.
“I thought we played well, we just didn’t make shots in the first half,” Lecomte said. “I think we still played really good defense and we made good plays, we just didn’t make shots.”
The Bears came out of halftime cold, missing their first five shots from the floor. The Islanders began to creep back up on the Bears, trailing 28-26 after two shots from Islanders sophomore guard Kareem South, forcing the Bears to take a timeout.
After a foul on Islander power forward Elijah Schmidt led to another two free throws for Lecomte, the Bears went on a 6-0 run, bringing the score up to 35-28. Lecomte continued to shoot well from the line making another two free throws. He finished 10 for 10 in the game.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew said Lecomte has done a solid job in his leadership role.
“Manu has done a great job, and he hasn’t forced things. He’s been very efficient,” Drew said.
Halfway through the second half of play the Bears push their lead to 42-31. Baylor continued to increase its lead with a three-pointer from Lindsey. Baylor stayed on a 9-0 run for three minutes increasing its lead to 49-33.
The Bears extended their lead to 56-35 and continued to crash the boards, dominating in total rebounds with 34-24 and dominating in points, securing their 24-point victory.
Baylor will look to go 3-0 when it hosts Alcorn State (0-3) at 8 p.m. Friday at the Ferrell Center.