WACO, Texas- Brady Heslip led all scorers with 18 points, as No. 18 Baylor knocked off Abilene Christian, 103-75, in a season-opening exhibition game on Thursday night at the Ferrell Center.
Heslip found his shooting stroke early, burying his first five 3-point attempts to score 15 points in the first 10 minutes. Baylor and ACU were knotted at 25-25 before Heslip hit consecutive treys to spark the Bears to a 31-7 run to close the first half.
"Well the good thing about playing your exhibition is that you can get all your jitters out and find out what you're doing for your pre-game routine," 10th-year head coach Scott Drew said. "We liked what we saw from the new players, and I think the returning players have improved, so we have some things to build on."
All 14 Baylor players saw action, including five freshmen who will all still be eligible to redshirt because the game was an exhibition. Freshman guard L.J. Rose played a team-leading 24 minutes, as 11 different Bears saw at least 10 minutes in the game. Rose had four points, six rebounds and four assists.
Heslip's 18 points led a group of five Bears in double figures. Gary Franklin scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, followed by Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Pierre Jackson, who poured in 14 points on only five field goal attempts and added eight assists and four rebounds.
Freshman Isaiah Austin added 13 points and four rebounds, and Deuce Bello had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. Freshman Rico Gathers had nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds - including seven on the offensive glass - in only 14 minutes played.
The Bears shot 68 percent in the first half, connecting on 21-of-31 from the field, including 8-of-11 from 3-point range. Baylor had 17 assists against 10 turnovers at the break, and the Bears finished with 25 assists and 19 turnovers. Ten different Baylor players recorded at least one assist. Baylor broke the century mark when freshman Chad Rykhoek collected an offensive rebound and followed with a layup for his first field goal.
ACU was led by Steven Werner with 15 points, followed by Elliott Lloyd and Eric Lawton, who chipped in 11 points apiece. Baylor out-rebounded ACU 42-24 and held the Wildcats to 24 percent shooting (5-of-21) from 3-point range.
Baylor officially begins the 2012-13 regular season when it hosts Lehigh at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. The Bears will be playing the second half of a doubleheader, with the women's basketball team opening the regular season against Lamar at noon.
Game Notes: Baylor's 103 points scored were its most since scoring 106 against Oklahoma State on Jan. 14, 2012 - the only time the Bears topped the century mark last season ... Baylor is now 7-1 in exhibition games during head coach Scott Drew's tenure ... Baylor's starting lineup featured three guards - Pierre Jackson, Brady Heslip, A.J. Walton - forward Cory Jefferson and center Isaiah Austin ... Logan Lowery saw his first action as a Bear, as he sat out last season after transferring from Centenary ... All five freshman played at least 6 minutes, and the game doesn't count against potential redshirts ... Official attendance: 5,093.