Oral Roberts-Baylor Preview
Baylor has come dangerously close to suffering multiple upsets this season, but coach Scott Drew has been pleased with how his team has been able to overcome that adversity.
After looking more polished in their latest victory, the ninth-ranked Bears seek an 11th straight home victory Monday night against Oral Roberts.
Baylor (10-1) may have an impressive record, but it has struggled at times against seemingly inferior competition. It beat South Carolina by two points, Charleston Southern by five and Dayton by one before surviving to beat Northwestern State 91-84 in overtime at home Dec. 18.
The Bears had a more solid effort their last time out Dec. 22, beating Southern 81-56 in their best defensive performance of the season. They set a season best for points allowed and held the Jaguars to 34.0 percent shooting.
''We weren't as sharp and crisp the last game we played, but found a way to win,'' Drew said. "(Against Southern), we wanted to be much better. I felt we executed a lot better. Defensively, that's what we are and who we've been. We were able to build on the lead rather than give it back in the second half.''
Baylor's only loss came to then-No. 8 Syracuse on Nov. 27 at the Maui Invitational, but it also boasts a 67-62 victory over then-No. 3 Kentucky on Dec. 6 in Dallas.
Jefferson (14.1 points per game), Kenny Chery (12.2), Heslip (11.3) and Austin (10.1) all are averaging in double figures.
"Nobody on this team is selfish," Austin said. "Some games I'll only have four points, Cory will have 30, Kenny will have 20, and some games Brady won't get up a shot. Nobody complains, though, because we are all in it for the long run. We are a great brotherhood right now."
After the holiday break, Baylor now looks to extend its home winning streak against an Oral Roberts team that ended a three-game skid with a 69-55 win over Dallas Baptist on Dec. 21.
Baylor marks the third ranked foe for the Golden Eagles (6-6), who fell to then-No. 12 Wisconsin on Nov. 23 and then-No. 11 Wichita State on Dec. 7.
Senior forward Shawn Glover, the team's leading scorer at 20.4 points per game, hit 7 of 8 from the field and scored 20 off the bench against the Patriots. Corbin Byford (15 points) and David Mason (10 assists) each had solid efforts in their first career starts.
"(Byford) felt a lot more at ease," coach Scott Sutton told the school's official website of the freshman forward. "A lot of times when you start you have a lot more confidence and certainly when you knock down your first shot it helps your confidence. I hope that it will carry over.
"It was fun to watch David play out there. I think the other guys can learn a lot from watching how hard he plays."
Baylor has won the previous four meetings between the schools, but they haven't met since the Bears' 77-65 victory Jan. 29, 1994.