By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 24 Baylor men’s basketball looks to reset Friday with a home game against the Texas State Bobcats. The Bears are coming off a loss in Alaska to previously unranked Washington.
Baylor held a 13-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play in Friday’s matchup but couldn’t hold onto it as their offense went frigid. The Bears committed an atrocious 2-15 shooting slump as time expired, and that was just enough for the Huskies to take a three-point lead in the final moments. Head coach Scott Drew said the team was able to take away a few lessons from the first loss of the season.
“Sometimes you learn more when you lose,” drew said. “But hopefully it’ll help us down the road in closing out games better, and I know after each and every game you try to improve as a program. I think we were able to at least find some areas we addressed and hopefully got better.”
They did have 24 wins last year, and Drew said they’re returning eight players from that team. Texas State is looking for its first win over a Power Six conference school this decade, so the Bears have to be a little careful with the Bobcats.
“[Texas State has] one of the better defensive teams in the country year in and year out. Coach [Danny] Kaspar is an outstanding coach,” Drew said. “Their programs don’t beat themselves … and when you’re playing a team like that you can’t get frustrated if you’re not able to get out in transition — you’re not able to score as much as you want.”
One of the things to watch in Friday’s matchup will be how Drew rotates his plethora of guards. Redshirt junior MaCio Teague, senior Devonte Bandoo, redshirt sophomore Davion Mitchell and sophomore Jared Butler each play big minutes for the Bears. Butler said ironing out the right combinations and minutes this year is going to be key.
“I love playing with each and every one of those guys, but you know, I just can’t wait to find the right substitution flow and things like that,” Butler said.
After starting in his freshman season, Butler has stepped up another level this year. Drew said that the guidance and poise his sophomore guard has shown this season is driving this team forward.
“I think right now his leadership is really improved vocally and in his demeanor with the guys. Last year, as a freshman, he more listened to what King (McClure) and Makai (Mason) and everybody else said and now he’s doing a good job leading by example,” Drew said.
The Bears face Texas State at 8 p.m. Friday at the Ferrell Center. The game will be streaamed on ESPN+ on the ESPN app.