By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer
All 12 players who saw the court made a shot as No. 9 Baylor men’s basketball routed Nicholls 108-70 Tuesday night in the Ferrell Center. The blowout win came with fan-favorite senior forward Austin Sacks (3) outscoring the team’s leading scorer entering the contest, freshman guard Ja’Kobe Walter (2).
The Bears (7-0) had four players finish in double figures and were led by a career-high 23 points from redshirt sophomore guard Langston Love, who was 8 of 10 shooting from the floor and 5 of 7 on 3-pointers. Love’s career-high five-made 3-pointers came in another effort off the bench, as he contributed to the squad’s season-high 62 bench points.
“Langston came into the game, and we always say you get rewarded if you play the right way, and he actually came in and passed up a couple of shots to get better shots,” head coach Scott Drew said. “You love it as a coach when guys play the right way and then get rewarded for it.”
While Love played his role off the bench, senior forward Caleb Lohner also contributed with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists and three vicious alley-oop dunks.
“On lobs, you can’t obviously give too much credit to yourself besides finding the open spot,” Lohner said. “But [my teammates] put it in an area where I was able to finish it, and the rest is history.”
Junior guard Jayden Nunn and senior guard RayJ Dennis were the ones tossing the ball up for Lohner to flush it. Nunn finished in double figures with 13 points and three assists. Dennis finished with his first double-double as a Bear and was the only other player in double figures with 14 points, leading the team with 10 assists.
Walter entered the game averaging 17.8 points and only finished 1 for 8 shooting with two points. However, everyone was there to pick up the star as Baylor finished shooting 61% from 3-point range and nine different players made more than one shot.
“Our depth allows people to have off-nights and other guys pick them up,” Drew said. “Tonight again, you just saw the depth. Finishing with 25 assists and nine turnovers was phenomenal.”
It took a mere five seconds for the Bears to take the lead as fans saw Dennis deliver a lob to freshman center Yves Missi from half-court. Missi took the alley-oop pass and slammed it home with two hands. Missi finished his day with nine points, two blocks and seven rebounds.
Dennis led the team in scoring through 20 minutes with 11 points, and Baylor went into halftime with a comfortable 50-25 lead over the Colonels (3-5).
The second half began the same way as the first, except it was Walter on the receiving end of a quick alley-oop dunk. Then, Love started connecting from deep. The guard came out and drilled his first five 3-pointers of the half, sending the Ferrell Center into a tizzy.
“I was feeling it,” Love said. “We play with such great players, and we’re so unselfish that they just found me in the right spots on consecutive possessions, and I just shot it and left the rest up to history. I never shoot a shot thinking I’m going to miss.
“Every shot I take, I think it’s going in. Especially with the confidence that my teammates give me and that we give each other and that the coaching staff has in us, why would I not think it’s going in?”
Love led the team with 17 points in the second half and did so in just 10 minutes.
As the Bears pulled away, the bench became more involved in the game plan. Baylor shot 64% from the floor in the second half, with 11 players making at least one shot as it rolled to the 108-70 victory.
“We just have an unselfish team that having so many shooters works,” Lohner said. “It’s just fun to be on the floor with that many guys that can shoot the ball like that.”
The Bears will be back in action against Northwestern State (1-6) for Holiday Hoops night at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center.