WACO (AP) — Jo Lual-Acuil and the No. 23 Baylor Bears were glad to be back on the court so quickly after a tough week.
Only two days after their second consecutive loss to a Top 25 team, and after falling seven spots in the poll earlier in the day, Lual-Acuil had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead six players who scored in double figures for the Bears in an 84-56 victory over Sam Houston State on Monday.
“It was great to come back and have a quick turnaround to get a good feeling back,” Lual-Acuil said. “We knew they were a really good team. Coming off two losses in a row, we knew we needed to bounce back, and I think the team did a good job playing with energy.”
Baylor, coming off a 69-62 home loss to No. 6 Wichita State on Saturday, broke away early from Sam Houston State with a 12-0 run that made it 24-11. Another 12-0 spurt early in the second half stretched the Bears’ lead to 52-27.
Nuni Omot added 15 points and Tristan Clark had 14 on 6-of-7 shooting. Manu Lecomte scored 12 points while Jake Lindsey and Mark Vital had 11 each.
“It was great to see six guys in double figures, great to see 18 assists,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “I thought the upperclassmen really did a good job making sure we came out intense, focused and set the tone early. That’s what you need out of your veterans.”
Chris Galbreath led the Bearkats (5-4) with 24 points and 10 rebounds. The senior had Sam Houston State’s first eight points, but didn’t have another field goal in the first half. He was the only player in double figures for the Bearkats as they fell to 1-4 against Division I competition.
While the smaller Sam Houston State team had a 41-37 rebounding edge, the Bearkats shot only 35 percent (22 of 63) overall and just 19 percent (5 of 26) on 3-pointers.
“When you play a team that’s very talented, and long and athletic and bigger than you are and you come into their place, you’ve got to make 3-pointers if you want to pull the upset,” Sam Houston State coach Jason Hooten said. “We just didn’t make them. … If we shoot 10 of 26, it’s a totally different game, especially in the first half.”
Sam Houston State: The Bearkats worked the ball around well at times and got quality looks against Baylor’s zone, but shots weren’t falling. That was especially true early in the game, and the Bearkats made only nine field goals in the first half. Sam Houston State was also hurt by allowing 23 points off 14 turnovers.
Baylor: This was the third straight time the Bears were outrebounded, but they made up for it by hitting 10 3-pointers. Half of those came from Omot and Lindsey, who entered with a total of eight 3-pointers this season. The balanced offense came as a result of ball movement, and Baylor had 18 assists to eight turnovers.
EIGHT FOR BAYLOR
Baylor is still trying to figure out its rotation while Terry Maston recovers from breaking his hand against Xavier last Tuesday, but the Bears have added Tyson Jolly to get back up to eight scholarship players available.
The redshirt freshman guard played three minutes in his Baylor debut Saturday, and said he was “kind of shocked” to be on the court for 17 minutes two days later.
“The biggest thing is having eight players in that rotation allows you to really be more active defensively,” Drew said. “We had 36 deflections, our previous high was 24. So, just guys being fresher and being able to play out there definitely helps you with that.”
Sam Houston State will have eight days off before a road game against Ole Miss on Dec. 13.
Baylor will travel to Fort Hood on Saturday to meet Randall, last year’s NCCAA Division II national champion.
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