By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Playing its third game five days, the fourth-ranked Baylor Bears took care of business in a 107-53 rout of John Brown University Sunday afternoon at the Ferrell Center.
An NAIA school from Siloam, Ark., John Brown (9-4) had no answer for Baylor's inside trio of Johnathan Motley, Jo Lual-Acuil and Terry Maston, who combined for 41 points and 26 rebounds and made 17-of-26 from the floor.
"We looked at them as another team that we have to come out against and do what we do," said Motley, who finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 20 points, nine rebounds and a career-high five assists. "The best part of the season is playing games, so we try to have as much fun as possible."
It was a quick turnaround for the Bears (11-0), who defeated Jackson State, 82-57, Saturday night at Fort Hood and stayed long after the game to sign autographs.
"Our guys did a great job signing autographs for a long time after the game," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "A couple of them were cramping from sitting for so long, but they really did a great job embracing the opportunity to say thank you to the kids and the soldiers' families at Fort Hood. Getting back, having the cold front come in, and being able to get up today and be effective was good."
Wind chill figures dropped into the single digits Sunday morning, but it didn't keep the Golden Eagles from heating it up from 3-point range in the first half. Jake Caudle knocked down a trey for the game's first points at the 17:44 mark and combined with Josh Bowling and Benjamin Smith to hit 6-of-12 in the first half as the Golden Eagles trailed by 25 the break, 53-28.
"I thought our guys did a really good job in the first half tonight of keeping it closer, keeping it respectable," said John Brown head coach Jason Beschta, a graduate assistant at Baylor from 2002-04.
"That can be hard, you can let it get away from in games like this. When you play a bigger-level team, it comes down to can you take care of the basketball versus turning it over and can you get rebounds. You've got to be able to limit offensive rebounds, and we didn't do a good job of that in the first half."
In the second half, the Golden Eagles shot just 34.5 percent overall and 3-of-10 from outside the arc as the Baylor defense stiffened.
"They really shoot it well as a team. They were coming in shooting 41 percent from 3," Drew said. "First half, the guys we really keyed on were 6-for-12. So, we tried to do a better job the second half keying on them. And I thought we did. That's where the depth wears out people as well."
Baylor's depth showed up in a huge edge in bench points, 54-24. Maston added 10 points, seven boards and three assists off the bench, while Chuck Mitchell (13) and walk-on forward Jonathan Davis (nine) both had career highs.
"I look at every game the same," said Mitchell, who was 5-of-7 from the floor. "I want to come in there and not try to turn the ball over and help as much as I can."
Drew said that's one of the benefits of a game like Sunday. While it doesn't affect your RPI or strength of schedule - the game basically doesn't count - "it does count confidence-wise, experience wise," he said.
"Any time you get a chance to get a lot of guys minutes in a situation where they can make a couple mistakes and the game's not on the line, that stuff always comes back to help you."
And, as Drew pointed out, "Each and every year, you have non-Division I teams that get upsets."
"We all remember Virginia and Chaminade," he said. "The first year we went to the NCAA Tournament, we were upset in exhibition by Tarleton State. And the first year we went to the Sweet 16 at Valpo, we were upset by a non-Division I, Bethel. So, that stuff happens. You've got to be on-point every game."
Lual-Acuil scored in double figures for the fourth game in a row and the seventh time this season with 11 points, adding five rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes. Al Freeman knocked down four 3-pointers and scored in double figures for the eighth time this season with 16, while Bowling had a team-high 14 for the Golden Eagles.
In addition to Beschta's Baylor connection, assistant coach Ty Beard spent six seasons at Baylor as first a manager and then graduate assistant (2005-11) with the Bears and is married to the former Meagan Morris, the daughter of Voice of the Bears, John Morris.
The Bears finish up their pre-conference slate of four games in eight days by hosting Texas Southern (4-8) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. That will be the Tigers' 13th of 16 consecutive road games to start the season, following a 96-59 loss at TCU on Sunday.