WACO (AP) – Cory Jefferson had 16 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double already this season and Isaiah Austin also scored 16 points as No. 20 Baylor beat Charleston Southern 69-64 on Wednesday night.
After Baylor (4-0) had a 4-minute scoring drought in the second half, allowing the Buccaneers to close to 4 points, Gary Franklin made a 3-pointer with 5 minutes left. Then the 7-foot-1 Austin had another of his six blocked shots, leading to Franklin driving the baseline for a layup that made it 64-55.
Jefferson added a jumper with 3:57 left that pushed the lead to 66-55, and Baylor was still up by 10 when Austin made a free throw with 2 minutes left.
But Charleston Southern wasn’t done.
Arlon Harper had a layup before a turnover by Austin, then Will Saunders made two free throws. The Buccaneers forced another turnover before Saunders hit a 3-pointer that made it 67-64 in the final minute.
The Buccaneers went the other way after Austin missed a shot. But Saah Nimley missed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left, then stepped out of bounds trying to set up for another shot after they got the rebound.
Saunders led Charleston with 16 points. Sheldon Strickland had 14 points, while Nimley had 11 included three 3-pointers.
The Buccaneers shot 46 percent on 3-pointers (12 of 26), much better than their 27-percent showing (10 of 37) inside the arc.
Charleston Southern, coming off a 109-93 loss at No. 19 New Mexico on Sunday, didn’t have a player that could match the height of Baylor’s two big men. The 6-9, 220-pound Jefferson finished with his 14th career double-double.
Brady Heslip added 11 points with three 3-pointers for Baylor.
Soon after halftime, Jefferson was fouled on consecutive dunk attempts by 6-8 Allie Fullah, the tallest player for the Charleston Southern. Those sandwiched a 3-pointer by Harper, but Jefferson made two free throws both times.
Baylor opened the game with an 8-0 run, which was capped when Jefferson rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Austin and scored on a short jumper.
The Buccaneers responded with a 13-1 run with consecutive 3-pointers by Strickland putting them up 13-9.
Jefferson then made a layup and Baylor went ahead to stay on a 3-pointer by Heslip. Those baskets started a spurt of nine consecutive points for the Bears, and they led the rest of the game.
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