By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
No. 25-ranked Baylor men’s basketball took down Alcorn State 78-61 Friday night at the Ferrell Center.
The Bears (3-0) capitalized on easy basket opportunities to defeat the Braves (0-4) and give head coach Scott Drew his 300th career win.
Baylor scored 15 second-chance points and 40 points in the paint while ASU only managed four and 24 in those categories, respectively.
Drew said the Bears won because they controlled the glass and took care of the ball.
“Whenever you can out-rebound someone 49 to 27 and 18 to 5 on the offensive glass, that’s always a positive,” Drew said. “That’s back-to-back games where our turnovers have been cut way down so we’re excited about that.”
The Bears started out in a 1-3-1 zone, but the Braves were able to break the zone with outside shooting, knocking down two from beyond the arc in the early going.
The Bears responded with shooting of their own, as junior guard King McClure and Lecomte each connected on three pointers to give Baylor a 12-6 lead with 15:51 remaining in the first half.
The Baylor bench provided a spark in the first half as junior guard Jake Lindsey blocked a fast break layup, then found freshman forward Mark Vital for the dunk on the other end to make it a 16-6 game.
Senior forward Terry Maston and Lual-Acuil, Jr. each scored on the inside as the Bears took a 20-10 lead at the 10:50 mark of the first half.
The Bears began to stifle the ASU offense, holding the Braves to just two points in a four minute stretch to extend the Baylor lead to 27-12 with 7:38 remaining in the half.
An acrobatic layup by McClure gave the Bears their biggest lead of the game at 19, but back-to-back threes by the Braves made it a 33-18 game with under five minutes to go in the half.
A floater by ASU senior guard A.J. Mosby in the final seconds cut the Baylor lead to 42-25 at the half.
In the first half, the Braves shot 34.5 percent from the field while the Bears shot 47.1 percent.
Freshman forward Tristan Clark impressed early in the second half, converting on a hook shot, a dunk, and swatting away a shot at the rim as the Bears led 49-31 at the 15:24 mark.
Baylor extended their lead with three point shooting as Lecomte and Lindsey each found the bottom of the net on outside shots to make it a 61-37 game at the under-12 timeout.
The Bears pounded the ball inside and came up with a dunk by Maston, a layup by Acuil, Jr., and four free throws, but ASU junior guard Khari Jabriel Allen knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Baylor lead to 69-50 with 6:31 left in the game.
Clark converted on his sixth field goal in six attempts on a low post hook shot to give Baylor their biggest lead of the game at 77-53 with three minutes remaining as the Bears went on to win 78-61.
McClure said Drew is a coach that flies under the radar, but should not be overlooked following his 300th win.
“I feel like he’s the most underrated coach in college basketball,” McClure said. “He has 300 wins now. That’s big time. I’m proud of him and I’m looking forward to getting him more wins this year.”
Baylor looks to keep the momentum going as they face Wisconsin as a part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in Kansas City, Mo.