Saturday, November 12, 2011

No. 12 Baylor opens with 77-57 win over TSU


— The new Quincy is already getting comfortable on the court for No. 12 Baylor.

Quincy Miller had an impressive debut with a game-high 17 points, including two 3-pointers when the Bears put the game away with 11 points in less than a minute, in a 77-57 victory over Texas Southern on Friday night.

"My teammates were looking for me to score, just looking for me every time," Miller said. "We were just feeling it. That's all I can say."

Returning senior starters Quincy Acy and Anthony Jones had 11 points each for Baylor while Cory Jefferson, who redshirted last season after playing as a freshman, had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jones led the Bears with 12 rebounds.

Miller is a 6-foot-9 freshman power forward from Chicago whose senior season at Westchester Country Day in North Carolina was cut short by an ACL injury. He scored 12 points after halftime, when he was 5 of 6 from the field.

"We expect so much because we know he has that in him. ... It's tough enough adjusting from high school to college, but even harder when you're basically rehabbing your senior season," coach Scott Drew said. "It will take him a little time. He's going to get better as the year goes on. ... He has a knack for hitting big shots, and isn't scared to take big shots."

Miller started the 11-0 spurt for Baylor with a 3-pointer at the 9:05 mark. Pierre Jackson had a layup before Miller hit another 3 then Jefferson had a layup while being fouled and made the free throw, making it 65-42 with 8:13 left.

The Bears played without sophomore standout Perry Jones, the Big 12 preseason player of the year.

Jones, a 6-11 forward, started the season with five games left in an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits before he got to Baylor. He had to sit out Baylor's Big 12 tournament game last March. He had long been expected to become Baylor's first one-and-done player, but the potential NBA lottery draft pick instead decided to stay in school.

Jones sat near the end of the Baylor bench in jeans and a collared shirt. He will be eligible to play Nov. 29 against Prairie View.

But that is providing some quality time for new guys like Miller and Jackson.

"Just playing and adjusting to college basketball is huge," Drew said. "With someone like Perry out, not only do they adjust but we expect more out of them. It gives them an opportunity to play and also be asked to produce. It speeds up the curve really."

Baylor played its first game without Big 12 career scoring leader LaceDarius Dunn, who was a senior last season.

Omar Strong led Texas Southern with 14 points. He was only 4 of 15 from the field, including 4 of 13 on 3-pointers.

The Bears led 37-30 at halftime before taking over.

"We went on a spell. We turned it over. We shot it quick. We just didn't play," Texas State coach Tony B. Harvey said. "We had guys that had foul trouble, had rotations, had different lineup changes, guys forced to play who weren't ready to play."

The Tigers were in foul trouble early, with 6-11 Timothy Price — their tallest player — picking up three fouls less than 2 minutes into the game. Baylor was already in the bonus less than 3 minutes in and in the double bonus with 14 minutes left in the first half. Price didn't have a shot or a rebound, fouling out while playing only 3 minutes.

Baylor is 40-0 against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, with 21 of those wins coming during Scott Drew's nine seasons.

The Bears, who missed the postseason last season with an 18-13 record, are getting games in a hurry. They play Sunday at home against Jackson State, another SWAC school, before a Tuesday afternoon game against San Diego State that is part of an ESPN marathon.

"It's huge, we all got a bad taste in our mouth," Anthony Jones said.

Jackson, a top junior college player last season, had six points in a 16-6 run that put Baylor up 37-26 with 2:11 left in the first half.

That came after Texas Southern was within 21-20 on a 3-pointer by Madarious Gibbs.

"We were minus a couple of weapons, a little banged up. We needed some guys to step up big and try to do some things," Harvey said. "But we'll take it and go back to the drawing board. ... The outcome and the score didn't look that way for us, but there were some positives."


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