Dec. 22, 2010
The Bears (8-1) had five players finish in double figures and they blew the game open at the start as they bounced back from their first loss of the season. LaceDarius Dunn scored 13 points, while freshman Perry Jones III added 11 and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Nolan Dennis had 10 points.
"We want to be a great team, so we can't afford to lose two in a row, so hopefully this win builds our confidence back up," Perry Jones said. "We played way better than we did against Gonzaga, I think that loss was motivation for us."
The struggles continued for the young Toreros (2-9), who missed their first 10 3-point attempts and committed 18 turnovers. Ken Rancifer had 10 points to lead San Diego, which was held to 33 percent shooting.
Baylor, which shot 55 percent, advanced to face Washington State in Thursday's semifinals. Washington State defeated Mississippi State 83-57 on Wednesday.
"We know Washington State is a great team. Gonzaga beat us and they blew out Gonzaga, so we know we have our hands full and we know what they're capable of and they might be the best team in the Pac-10," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
With two dozen NBA scouts in attendance, the Bears were too quick, too tall and too athletic for the Toreros. Behind the Jones and Jones towers, the Bears dominated the paint with a 42-26 advantage on the glass.
"When you play in tournaments and you play three games in four days, you have to have depth, you have to have other people step up and make plays," Drew said.
The Bears' loss to Gonzaga dropped them six spots in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25, after they had reached No. 9, the highest ranking in school history.
"It didn't really matter to us, but Coach did bring it to our attention that this is another West Coast Conference team and that their head coach was at Gonzaga for a couple years," Anthony Jones said. "So we knew that they would come in and try to do the same thing Gonzaga did, but we just wanted to make sure it didn't happen twice."
Fourth-year San Diego coach Bill Grier spent 16 years at Gonzaga and was Mark Few's top assistant before joining the Toreros.
"We thought that maybe the Gonzaga coaches would help out the San Diego coaches a little bit with the stats and film on us, so that kind of did motivate us to play a lot harder," Perry Jones said.
In its eight wins, Baylor has won by an average margin of 27 points.
After a miserable first half where San Diego shot 29 percent and had trouble handling the ball with 10 turnovers, the Toreros finally got some shots to drop in the second half as they tried to chip away at the lead.
After Chris Manresa's two free throws cut Baylor's lead to 24 points with 11 minutes left, Baylor responded with a 12-0 run that included 3-pointers by A.J Walton and Dunn to take a 74-39 lead.
The Bears went on a 14-0 run with all five starters scoring to take control early. Perry Jones' inside basket put the Bears up 18-3. Baylor closed the opening half with a 19-8 run that gave it a 48-19 lead.
"I thought we really played well early, especially defensively, making things tough for them and once we were able to do that, we were able to get some transition baskets and things kind of took off from there," Drew said.
Darian Norris had six points and eight rebounds for San Diego.