WACO, Texas -- Upset-minded Southern University Jaguars got within six points with 14 minutes left in the second half, but could not get any closer as the No. 18 Baylor Bears went on a 26-10 run over the next 10 minutes to put the game out of reach defeating the Jags 80-60 Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center, in Waco, Texas.
Southern fell to 3-9, Baylor improves to 10-2.
The Jags and Bears came out the gate swinging. BU struck first scoring on a Lual-Acull jumper in the paint, SU scored the next four points to take an early 4-2 lead three minutes into the contest. Baylor scored the next four points to take a 6-4 lead, Southern's Jamar Sandifer tied it at six with a jumper in a paint. A turnover by the Bears and a Southern 8-3 run gave the Jags a 13-10 lead with 14 minutes left in the first half.
As hot as the Jags started, SU went cold and held scoreless over the next five minutes, while Baylor went on a 9-0 run to take a 23-13 lead cemented on a Manu Lecomte 3-point shot, interim head coach Morris Scott called a timeout to slow the bleeding. Southern came out the timeout and Sandifer hit a three-pointer to cut the lead 23-16 with 8:31 left in the half. The Jaguars fell into another scoring drought this time lasting 3 minutes. the Bears ended the half on a 16-10 run to take a 39-27 lead into half-time
“I thought in the first half we came out and we played inspired basketball, we kind of competed for a while there, then we had a bad stretch there where we turned the basketball over a couple times and let them get out in transition and score the basketball. We never really fully recovered from that point in the first half..." stated coach Scott
Baylor attacked Southern in the paint wearing down the interior, once the Jaguars started to crash the interior, the Bears started making their perimeter shots.
“They came out and started pounding the inside, kind wore us down a little bit. With them being so big they were able to score the ball fairly easy for that stretch, which kind of opened it up. We tried to go down there and take that away and they threw it out, kind of had some open shots they knocked down. That kind of makes it really tough when those guys are knocking down those outside shots at the same time, because it is then tough to control the paint.” said coach Scott
Senior Jared Sam paced the Jags recording a game-high 21 points and 9 rebounds. Sam has five 20-point games this season (21-Illinois, 21-Marshall, 27-UT-Martin, and 24-Wiley).
Southern came out of intermission scoring two quick baskets which sparked a 14-7 run to get within six points 46-40 on an Eddie Reese jumper.
Southern's defense racked up 10 steals and created 21 turnovers to kept the Jags in the game. Despite the pressure, Baylor shot 63 percent from the floor (31-of-49) and 50 percent from beyond the arc (11-22) to Southern's 34 percent from the floor (11-of-32) and 13 percent from beyond the arc (2-of-15).
“Their size had a lot to do with it. Early, I thought we missed some opened shots that we normally make, but they make it [really] tough and challenging for you. They do a great job defensively of switching up man and zone. They played a lot more zone today than normal and made it a little tough for us.” said coach Scott on Southern’s 38 percent shooting percentage and the way Baylor played defense.
Baylor outpaced Southern 34-20 after the Jaguars brought the game within six to close out the game.
"I thought in the second half we came out the gates and kind of played tough defense and we cut it to six or so, and I thought we kind of ran out of gas," said Scott. "Those guys are a great team and they have a lot of bigs that can come in and pound you on the inside and they do a great job with their team and they knock down some threes, and it kind of got away from us there in the second half.”.
The Jaguars will regroup after the holiday break for a December 29 tilt against Ecclesia College at the F.G. Clark Activity Center before opening SWAC play at Texas Southern on New Year's Day. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be streamed live on GoJagSports.com.
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