After the departure of three standout guards from last year’s national championship team, LJ Cryer will now lead Baylor ninth. He is also surrounded by some talented freshmen.
Cryer scored a career-high 20 point to lead five players scoring in double figures in the Bears’ 89-60 victory over Nicholls State Monday in a rare midday match.
“I’ve always been a scorer, but as far as developing my game, I feel like mentally I’ve grown a lot, just being able to flush out a miss whenever I miss, just move on from that play. Cryer finished 7-of-9 shooting and made five of Baylor’s 13 3-pointers.
Kendall Brown, a freshman, had 13 points and 10 assist for the Bears (2-0), which had 33 assists on their 37 made baskets. Another freshman, Jeremy Sochan, scored 14 points, while Matthew Mayer and Adam Flagler had 12 each.
Ty Gordon scored 20 points to help the Southland Conference champion Colonels (3-1). Latrell Jones scored 11 points.
“We actually shot it okay in the first part, we were 5 out of 9 from 3. We missed a lot more layups. Their length bothered me at the rim,” Austin Claunch, Nicholls State coach, said. “Against their physicality, it’s hard to finish. They’re so explosive in transition when you miss.
Scott Drew, Baylor coach, said that Cryer deserves a lot of credit for his hard work this summer. The 6-foot-1 sophomore also learned a lot from being around Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell last season.
“That really helped him in going against them every day, made him want better, and he’s been confident from the beginning,” Drew said. “He’s played well from the beginning, and we knew he was going to have a great year because he showed us that.”
Cryer had two jumpers and hit two 3s in the game’s opening seven minutes. Baylor made 10 of its 14 first shots and leapt ahead 25-11. In a 12-0 run for Bears, Mayer and Sochan hit 3s just a few minutes later.
The Bears extended their lead by 73 to 43 midway through the second quarter when Cryer made a steal and passed Brown for a breakaway.
“I know Kendall’s a high flyer. Cryer stated, “Every time he does a dunk the arena goes crazy.” Cryer said, “You love it. And we’re looking to get him those opportunities as much as we can.”
TOO MUCH TURNOVERS
Baylor had 20 turnovers which resulted in 26 points for Nicholls state.
“It was a game with a lot of transition opportunities, a couple of them, you’ve got to credit their speed, athleticism, slippery floor, but probably 16 of them, we can make better passes, sharper passes, deep passes,” Drew said. “So there’s things we can improve on.”
Nicholls State won its three first games since 1971-72. The challenge of facing top 10-Baylor – the world’s largest Baptist university – was quite different from scoring 120 and 101 against Carver College, a Georgia Bible college with just 100 students. In their opener, Northern Iowa was defeated by the Colonels.
Baylor: The Bears won 15 consecutive home games and 27 of 28. The only loss in that span was a three point loss to Kansas two years ago. The Bears were fast to the ground and led the entire game, unlike their opener Friday night when they unveiled the national championship banner, presented rings to returning players, and lost to Kansas. Incarnate Word, which is located in the Southland Conference alongside Nicholls State led by six points twice, before Baylor had a halftime 11-2 run that ended in defeat and won 87-60.
OUT OF CLASS
About 3,000 students from 14 local elementary schools, many of the kids with sack lunches, attended the “I’m Going to College” game in the Ferrell Center.
The grandmother of the Nicholls state coach, along with all the children, attended the gae. Claunch’s grandmother, a Baylor alumna, was dressed in Baylor gold and Baylor green. Drew was also present. Claunch’s grandmother took a photo with Drew and Drew. She said that Drew did a good job. She also took a picture with the Bears’ national championship trophy.
Nicholls State: Another Big 12 foe, at TCU on Thursday evening.
Baylor: Central Arkansas hosts Baylor on Wednesday night in the third consecutive home game to kick off the season.
Source: Fox News