At home against Hardin-Simmons University, Baylor head coach Scott Drew made the decision to sit his two most prolific scorers – senior guard Pierre Jackson and freshman center Isaiah Austin. But even with the change, the Bears showed little struggle as they ran over the Cowboys 107-38.
“I thought that those guys (Jackson and Austin) have played a lot of minutes, been banged up and this is an opportunity for them to cheer on some of the other players that everyday get them better in practice and cheer them on during the games,” Drew said. “Also, you want to give minutes to guys because you never know injuries, foul trouble, illness may come about.”
Baylor led 11-5 before a 28-2 run put the game completely in Baylor’s hands midway through the first half. Freshman guard L.J. Rose opened the run with a three-pointer followed by a jumper, a steal and a layup on consecutive possessions.
“It was great. I go against him (Jackson) every day in practice and he gets me better,” Rose said about handling the point guard duties with Jackson sitting. “I’ve gotten a lot better since I got here and being able to go out and showcase it was a lot of fun and a great opportunity.”
Junior guard Brady Heslip, who has had trouble connecting with his famous three-pointer this season, hit back-to-back threes during the run. Baylor was up 39-7 with a little over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Unfortunately for Hardin-Simmons, they faced Baylor after losing four players prior to its win over Sul Ross State on Thursday. The four had been averaging nearly 35 points and 22 rebounds per game.
With a 37-point lead, Baylor opened the second half with a 21-4 run when freshman forward Rico Gathers scored seven points and Heslip hit another three.
Heslip went 5-8 from the three-point range scoring 15 points for the Bears. In addition, Baylor had four players with double-doubles during the game (Gathers, Rose, junior forward Cory Jefferson, and freshman forward Prince Taurean). Taurean led the Bears with 21 points and 15 rebounds in 26 minutes of playtime.
The Bears have a quick turn around and much different game to prepare for as they get ready to host Big 12 rival Oklahoma State on Monday.
“It won’t be difficult at all (to switch gears),” Gathers said about Monday’s game. “Our main thing tonight was just to prepare for that type of game. It was kind of hard, because we weren’t playing Oklahoma State tonight, but I think a lot of our guys see the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is Monday.”
Monday’s game against Oklahoma State will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN as part of ESPN’s Big Monday.