“We had a tremendous respect for Lehigh coming in with 27 wins last year and their top four scorers coming back,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “We were prepared for a good team and I think our players showed that they were ready to play, and I am very pleased with a lot of the things we did.”
Anticipated newcomer, freshman Isaiah Austin, was right behind Jefferson in scoring with 22 points. Austin came down after making a turnaround jumper with about 16 minutes left on the clock resulting in what seems to be a sprained right ankle.
“Isaiah, for 17 minutes, I don’t think you can be any more efficient than he was, so we will have to get him healthy, and now the rest of the world is going to know about him,” Drew said.
For the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, preseason AP All-American senior C.J. McCollum scored 36 points with eight rebounds. He scored Lehigh’s first seven points, including two free throws before tipoff as the result of a technical foul against the Bears for dunking during pregame warm-ups.
After a three-pointer by McCollum that made it 7-4, Baylor got its first dunk from Jackson’s alley-oop pass to Jefferson. The Bears got ahead for good when Austin hit a three-pointer from the left side about three minutes in to the game.
With nine dunks, Jefferson finished just one short of former Baylor Bear Quincy Acy’s school record of 10 dunks in a game.
“I was trying to break Acy’s record after everyone told me how close I was, but I didn’t quite get there,” Jefferson said. “I am pretty sure most of my dunks were from passes from [Pierre Jackson] or the other guards, so I really credit everything to them. They found me whenever I was open, and for the passes to be so nice, I just had to finish the plays.”
Senior Pierre Jackson finished the game with 14 points, 12 assists and plenty of praise for Jefferson and Austin.
“They both are great players,” Jackson said. “Cory (Jefferson) looked amazing out there. I was in his ear the whole game telling him to keep playing like he was playing. And Isaiah (Austin), unfortunately he rolled his ankle, but he probably would have kept killing like he was. I just hope they keep it up.”
Returning from a 51-41 halftime lead, Baylor scored the first six points of the second half, positioning them perfectly to score 48 points in the second half while holding Lehigh to only 36.
The Bears return to the court on Sunday, Nov. 11 when they face Jackson State at 4 p.m. CT at the Ferrell Center. -- Savannah Pullin