No. 8 Baylor continues its season-opening four-game homestand on Monday when it battles Nicholls State, the favorite to win the Southland Conference, in Waco, Texas.
If Baylor’s season opener is any indication, the Colonels can expect to see a swarming defense and depth in waves from the defending national champs.
The Bears head to Monday’s dustup after an 87-60 home win over Incarnate Word on Friday.
Baylor (1-0) unveiled its NCAA championship banner before the game then took a little while to get in sync. But it led by 12 points at the break, by 21 six minutes into the second half and ran away from Incarnate Word over the final 10 minutes for the easy victory.
Matthew Mayer scored 14 points to lead the Bears in the win. Freshman Kendall Brown (13 points) and Jeremy Sochan (10), who make up part of the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history, combined for 23 points for the Bears.
LJ Cryer added 13 points for Baylor, with James Akinjo, a transfer from Arizona, scoring 10 and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Baylor’s defense did the rest forcing 21 turnovers in the win, converting those Incarnate Word miscues into 33 points.
Baylor coach Scott Drew said his team did a good job of finding its stride. Like last season’s team did, these Bears will use their defense to create offensive chances.
“We started doing a better job defensively, knowing what they’re doing and staying locked in,” Drew said. “It’s tough when you’ve got five shooters out there. But our depth wore them down a little bit, and we got more disciplined and contested more shots. Then we were able to get a couple turnovers and did a good job of sprinting out and converting.”
Nicholls State heads to Waco after two wins in two days at home against Carver College, the latter a 101-44 victory on Saturday. The Colonels outscored Carver College, a National Christian College Athletic Association team, 221-96 in the two games.
Emmanuel Little led Nicholls State with 20 points on Saturday, with Latrell Jones adding 18 and Ty Gordon, the reigning Southland Conference newcomer of the year, hitting for 15. The Colonels forced 30 turnovers in the second game with Carver, which actually led 13-12 after seven minutes of play.
The Colonels (3-0) opened the season on the road with an impressive 62-58 win at Northern Iowa on Tuesday. Nicholls State’s defense was the key, limiting Northern Iowa to just 30 percent shooting from the floor.
Nicholls State coach Austin Claunch also preaches a defense-first philosophy. His offense will have to be better to keep things close against Baylor.
“Every time that we play a defensive possession, we really want to compete, but I think it just starts with little things we do every single day,” Claunch said. “It’s just about emphasizing it every day and taking every possession seriously.”
–Field Level Media