By Ben Everett | Sports Editor
Baylor men’s basketball defeated Southern University 80-53 on Saturday at the Ferrell Center to notch its first win of the season.
The Bears (1-1) fell to Texas Southern 72-69 in their season opener on Tuesday, but avoided falling to 0-2 thanks to a big game by junior guard Devonte Bandoo.
Despite only leading by four points at halftime, the Bears dominated the second half to secure the win. Bandoo, who scored 25 points, said the team came out in the second half with more intensity.
“I think the biggest difference in the second half is we played with more energy,” Bandoo said. “We locked in. Coach [Drew] talked to us going into the second half and it got us real fired up.”
The Bears looked to sophomore center Tristan Clark to spark the offense early. Clark scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first nine minutes, but Southern senior guard Eddie Reese paced the Jaguars with eight points in the beginning as Baylor led 16-12 at the 11:13 mark of the first half.
The Jaguars cut the lead to three on a three-pointer from senior guard Richard Lee, but Clark scored on a put-back and a massive slam dunk in transition to make it a 26-19 game with 5:18 remaining in the half.
Baylor freshman forward Matthew Mayer scored on a pull-up three-pointer, but Reese responded with a floater as time expired and the Bears took a 31-27 lead into halftime.
The Bears and Jaguars battled back and forth to start the second half, with Reese driving the lane for a layup that put Southern up by one point. Baylor junior guard Darius Allen responded with an offensive rebound to make it 36-35 Baylor at the 15:28 mark of the second half.
Baylor embarked on a 9-0 run thanks to three-pointers from Bandoo, freshman guard Jared Butler and Allen to take a 45-35 lead with 13:01 remaining.
The Bears held the Jaguars scoreless for a four-minute stretch to propel them to an 11-0 run in the middle of the second half. Bandoo led the way with five points to put the game out of reach as Baylor went on to win 80-53.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew said the team looked like the team he has seen in practice rather than the team that lost to Texas Southern on Tuesday.
“The last 14 minutes looked a lot more like what we had seen in practice,” Drew said. “It was exciting to see our team compete playing the way we’ve seen in practice. Hopefully we can keep building on that.”
The Bears look to make it two wins in a row when they face Prairie View A&M at 7 p.m. Monday at the Ferrell Center.