Tweety Carter and the Bears face Colorado Wednesday on FSN Southwest.
BAYLOR (18-8, 6-6) at COLORADO (10-16, 2-10)
Feb. 27, 2008 Coors Events Center (Boulder, Colo.) 7:30 p.m. MST/8:30 p.m. CST
RADIO: Baylor-ISP Sports Radio Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco / Sirius Satellite ch. 161)
INTERNET AUDIO: live broadcast at BaylorBears.com
TELEVISION: FSN Southwest in Texas
INTERNET VIDEO: none
LIVE STATS: live stats at CUbuffs.com
Baylor takes on Colorado Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Boulder. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. MST/8:30 p.m. CST at the Coors Events Center and will be televised live on FSN Rocky Mountain (will air in Texas on FSN Southwest). Baylor is 18-8 overall and 6-6 and tied for fourth place in the Big 12. The Bears snapped a four-game losing streak last Saturday with a 92-86 win over No. 24 Kansas State. Colorado is 10-16, 2-10 in the Big 12 and has lost three straight games, most recently a 60-53 setback at Missouri Saturday. Baylor is 7-5 away from home and 4-4 in true road games this season; the Buffaloes are 5-8 at home this season. Baylor is 1-7 all-time vs. Colorado in Boulder, the lone win a 54-40 non-conference decision in 1951. The Bears are 0-5 in Boulder since the inception of the Big 12 Conference.
Of BU's 8 losses, none have been by more than 10 points & all but one have come to teams ranked among the top 40 in RPI.
BU leads the Big 12 in scoring (81.8), free throw shooting (74.2%), 3-point shooting (38.6%) & 3-pointers made (8.8).
BU is 4-4 in true road games this season (2-37 record in 5 years before this season).
BU's 6-6 conf. mark matches its best in Big 12 history (no BU team has started 7-6).
BU is 7-5 in away games this season (4-4 true road, 3-1 neutral).
Baylor is 2-4 in Big 12 road games this season (lost 25 straight before this season).
BU is 22-30 (.423) over the last 8 seasons vs. Big 12 North schools. The Bears are just 14-58 (.194) vs. South schools over the same span.
BU is averaging 81.8 points (1st in Big 12 & 11th nationally), the school's highest average since `93-94; 2,127 pts on pace to break single-season record of 2,393.
Baylor's 18-8 record is its best 26-game start since the `70-71 Bears finished 18-8.
BU's 18 wins is the most in the Drew Era; also most wins since winning 19 in 2000-01 (last postseason berth; NIT).
BU is 16-1 this season when totaling a higher FG% than its opponents and 2-7 when not. In the Drew Era, BU is 48-8 when outshooting its opponents and 6-69 when not.
BU's 5-guard rotation averages 58.7 points - 72% of teams scoring.
4 Baylor players average double-figures in scoring.
LaceDarius Dunn is averaging 18.0 points over the last 5 games.
Kevin Rogers is averaging 12.8 rebounds/gm over the last 4 games.
Mamadou Diene leads the Big 12 with a 2.2 blocks average in conference games.
LaceDarius Dunn's 84.0 FT% leads the Big 12.
Mamadou Diene is 18-for-21 from FT line the last 12 games (4-11 in first 7 games).
LaceDarius Dunn's 42.0 3-point % (2nd in Big 12) is top all-time for a BU freshman.
Aaron Bruce ranks 7th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,311 career points).
Kevin Rogers has 10 double-doubles this season (3rd most among Big 12 players).
Mamadou Diene is the Big 12's active leader in career blocks in league games (73).
Curtis Jerrells ranks 13th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,104 career points).
Baylor is 14-2 this season when Aaron Bruce scores in double-digits.
HEAD COACH Scott Drew
Scott Drew, in his fifth season at Baylor in what many have called the most daunting rebuilding project in college basketball history, owns a four-year mark of 54-77 at the school and a career record of 74-88 (six seasons). Drew's 54 wins rank eighth on Baylor's all-time coaching victories list (in seventh place on the list is Harry Miller with 56 career victories). Prior to Baylor, Drew spent 10 seasons at Valparaiso, the last as head coach after nine seasons as an assistant to his father Homer. During his decade at Valpo, the Crusaders earned six NCAA Tournament berths, including five straight from 1996-2000. An outstanding recruiter, Drew is responsible for five national Top-20 recruiting classes over the last eight years (No. 17 in 2006, No. 11 in 2005 and No. 10 in 2004 at Baylor; No. 6 in 2001 and No. 13 in 1999 at Valpo). He was named the 1998-99 National Recruiter of the Year by Court Vision.
THE COLORADO BUFFALOES
Head Coach: Jeff Bzdelik (Illinois-Chicago, 1976); 85-63, 2 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: CU leads 13-6
Last meeting: BU 97-83, Jan. 30, 2007 in Waco
Streak: BU won 1 straight
Series at Boulder: CU leads 7-1
Drew vs. CU: 2-3
CU NOTES: Colorado is 10-16 and 2-10 under first-year head coach Jeff Bzdelik... The Buffaloes are 5-8 at home this season... The Buffs have lost nine of their last 10 games... Colorado is 7-1 all-time vs. Baylor in Boulder, including a perfect 5-0 record since the inception of the Big 12 Conference... The Buffs are led by senior G Richard Roby, who averages 16.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game... Senior G Marcus Hall is the only other double-figure scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game... Sophomore G Xavier Silas (9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds) was dismissed from the team last week.
BEARS' TURNAROUND SEASON
Baylor burst onto the national basketball scene this winter when, despite being picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 by the league's coaches, the Bears raced off to a 12-2 non-conference record (included a Paradise Jam championship) and opened conference play 4-0. The 16-2 start was Baylor's best since 1946 and resulted in the school's first national ranking since 1969. The Bears, who are putting the final touches on one of the most incredible rebuilding projects in college basketball history, are currently 18-8 and vying for a postseason berth.
PUSH FOR POSTSEASON
The Cinderella Bears are making a push for the school's first postseason appearance since 2001 when Baylor played in the postseason NIT (lost at New Mexico in opening round, finished season 19-12). Baylor's last NCAA Tournament appearance was 1988, when head coach Gene Iba's Bears finished second in the Southwest Conference before losing to Memphis in the first round of the NCAAs (23-11 final record).
BEST STARTS SINCE...
OVERALL: Baylor's 18-8 record is its best 26-game start since the 1970-71 squad finished the season 18-8 (second in SWC). Baylor's last 19-win team was the 2000-01 edition (played in NIT, BU's last postseason appearance).
BIG 12: Baylor's 6-6 record in league games matches its best 12-game record ever in the Big 12, equalling the 6-6 open of the 1997-98 Bears ('97-98 squad lost its 13th game en route to an 8-8 finish, BU's best record in 11 previous Big 12 seasons) - no Baylor squad has posted a 7-6 record through 13 Big 12 games.
The Bears are averaging 81.8 points per game, tops among Big 12 schools and the 11th most nationally. That figure, bolstered by six overtime periods, is the highest total at Baylor since the `93-94 team finished with an 85.5 scoring average. The 2,127 points total is on pace to break the school's single-season scoring record of 2,393 points.
BEARS CONTINUE MASSIVE REBUILDING PROCESS
The 2007-08 season is head coach Scott Drew's fifth in the unprecedented overhaul that began at Baylor in 2003. After taking over a program decimated by tragedy, player departures, depleted rosters and NCAA restrictions, Drew has slowly and methodically turned the program around by recruiting a solid foundation of talented high school players that, after earning valuable playing experience, are posting impressive results. After fighting their way to a 15-16 record last season (the first in the Drew Era without restrictions), the Bears have run off an 18-8 record this season, including a 6-6 mark in the Big 12.
BEARS MORE SUCCESSFULL vs. BIG 12 NORTH
Over the last eight seasons Baylor has had much more success against Big 12 North schools than those in the South. Baylor is 22-30 (.423) the last eight seasons vs. Northern schools and just 14-58 (.194) vs. teams in the South.
IMPROVED ROAD FORTUNES
TRUE ROAD GAMES (4-4 in '07-08):
The Bears are 4-4 this season on opponents' home courts, reversing a 2-37 record in 39 true road games before this season (from 2002-03 to 2006-07).
BIG 12 ROAD GAMES (2-4 in '07-08):
Baylor is 2-4 this season on the road in Big 12 games, the win in its first road game Jan. 19 snapped a 25-game losing streak prior to this season (dating to 2004).
ALL AWAY GAMES (7-5 in '07-08):
Baylor is 7-5 this season away from Waco (4-4 in true road games, 3-1 at neutral sites). The Bears were 4-41 in their previous 45 games outside of Waco before this season (from 2003 to 2007).
BAYLOR'S BACKCOURT: "IN GUARDS WE TRUST"
Baylor's strength in 2007-08 once again lies in its talented backcourt full of combo guards. The Bears utilize a rotation of five guards that each average 20-plus minutes per game. The quintet is made up of four veterans; senior Aaron Bruce (9.7 ppg, 22.7 mpg), juniors Curtis Jerrells (15.7 ppg, 31.0 mpg) and Henry Dugat (11.7 ppg, 26.3 mpg) and sophomore Tweety Carter (9.1 ppg, 24.6 mpg); and true freshman standout LaceDarius Dunn (13.1 ppg, 21.1 mpg). The fivesome accounts for 72 percent of the team's scoring (average 58.7 points) and shoots 38.8 percent on 3-pointers.
SEASON OF FIRSTS, BROKEN STREAKS & NEW RECORDS
Baylor's turnaround season in 2007-08 has included various program `firsts', snapped streaks and new records. Complete list below:
First Top-25 ranking since 1969 (BU ranked in Jan. 21 & Jan. 28 AP polls)
First back-to-back weekly rankings in school history (Jan. 21 & 28)
First win over ranked opp. since 2003 [broke 29-gm losing streak] (116-110 over #16 TAMU)
Most wins since 2000-01 (18)
First true road win since 2004 [broke 25-gm losing streak] (92-84 win at USC Dec. 19)
First road win in Big 12 since 2004 [broke 25-gm losing streak] (72-70 win at NU Jan. 19)
Best start (16-2) since 1946
First 4-0 start in Big 12 since 1998
Most pre-conference wins in school history (12)
First 8-team tournament title since 1968 (BU won 2007 Paradise Jam)
First 5-overtime game in Baylor & Big 12 history (116-110 win over Texas A&M Jan. 23)
Most Big 12 weekly honorees ever (4: Jerrells 2 POW, Rogers POW, Dunn ROW)
Largest crowd in school history (overflow 10,521 vs. UT Feb. 16)
Highest average attendance in Ferrell Center history (6,946 through 14 games)
on pace to break season attendance record of 109,494 - need avg. 6,123 in final 2 games
on pace to break season scoring mark of 2,393 points - just 266 points shy (2,127)
SUCCESS FROM THE LINE
Baylor has been incredibly successful from the foul line this season. The Bears are shooting 74.2 percent from the line (417-562), which is tops in the Big 12 Conference and currently ranks 30th nationally. That percentage is on pace to be the fourth-best figure in school history. Baylor is led individually from the line by freshman G LaceDarius Dunn (84.0%, first in the Big 12), junior F Kevin Rogers (82.5%, fourth in Big 12), senior G Aaron Bruce (80.0%) and junior G Curtis Jerrells (73.3%, 12th in Big 12).
MOST WINS SINCE...
The Bears' 18 wins in 2007-08 are the most in the Drew Era (surpassing last season's 15) and mark the most at Baylor since the 2000-01 squad finished 19-12 (last BU team to participate in postseason; first round of NIT).
BEARS QB JERRELLS BURSTS INTO 1,000-POINT CLUB
Curtis Jerrells recently became the 20th player in Baylor history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and has quickly climbed to 13th on BU's career scoring list. He is leading the Bears in scoring (15.7 ppg, eighth in Big 12), assists (3.6 apg, seventh in Big 12) and minutes (31.0 mpg) for the third straight season. He has twice earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season: Jan. 28 after exploding for 36 points in Baylor's epic five-overtime win at Texas A&M; and Nov. 19 after leading leading Baylor to the championship of the 2007 Paradise Jam (was named tournament MVP). The junior guard has started all 74 career games since arriving at Baylor, was a preseason All-Big 12 selection by the league coaches, Athlon and Lindy's, and a Cousy Award nominee. In conference games, Jerrells ranks third in scoring (18.0 ppg), fifth in assists (3.5 apg) and sixth in steals (1.6 spg). Jerrells ranks ninth in school history in assists (268) and 13th in scoring (1,104). He recently became the first alum of Del Valle High School in Austin to have his No. 0 jersey retired.
TRUE FRESHMAN DUNN PUTTING TOGETHER BREAKOUT SEASON OFF BENCH
True freshman LaceDarius Dunn has made an immediate impact on a Baylor squad stocked with talented guards. The highly recruited rookie from Monroe, La., is second on the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and fourth in rebounds (3.9 rpg), despite playing just 21.1 minutes per game off the bench and playing through a knee injury. His 42.0 3-point percentage ranks second in the Big 12 and is on pace to be the top percentage ever recorded by a Baylor freshman (and the fourth-best overall single-season percentage in school history). Dunn leads the Big 12 in free throw shooting with an 84.0 percentage and is tops in conference games at 87.0 percent. Dunn was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week Nov. 26 after leading BU to wins over Winthrop in the Paradise Jam championship and over Centenary and he has notched four 20-plus scoring games. Dunn is the highest-rated BU signee in recent memory (rated the nation's No. 24 recruit by Scout.com). He was named the "Best Perimeter Scorer" among incoming Big 12 newcomers by Rivals.com.
MR. ROGERS PILING UP DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Junior forward Kevin Rogers is averaging 12.5 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds (fifth in Big 12) this season. He has recorded 10 double-doubles on the season, including six in league games - the third-highest total among Big 12 players. In conference games Rogers is averaging 12.9 points (17th in Big 12) and 10.6 rebounds (third in Big 12). He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week Dec. 24 after averaging 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds while leading Baylor to road wins at South Carolina and Southern. Rogers was named to the 2007 Big 12 All-Improved team after a sophomore season in which he doubled his scoring (12.8 from 6.1 ppg) and nearly doubled his rebounding from his freshman season (7.6 from 4.0 rpg).
VETERAN BRUCE CLIMBING RECORD LISTS
Senior Aaron Bruce is averaging 9.7 points per game, shooting 39.0 percent on 3-pointers, 80.0 percent from the foul line and continuing his climb up the school's all-time records lists - most notably the career scoring chart. Bruce, Baylor's veteran-most player with 100 career games played, currently stands seventh all-time with 1,311 career points (complete list of his ranking on seven different Baylor career charts below). He recently became the fourth player in Baylor history to top 1,000 points and 300 assists (along with Vinnie Johnson, David Wesley and Micheal Williams). The guard was selected a preseason All-Rolls Royce (All-American) fourth-team selection by ESPN.com's Dick Vitale and was named the Big 12's "Best Leader" by the Sporting News preseason publication prior to his final season in Waco.
BRUCE ON BAYLOR'S CAREER RECORD LISTS
3-point FGs: No. 3 - 215
3-point FG %: No. 4 - 39.7%
Games Started: No. 4 - 98
Minutes Played: No. 4 - 2,955
Assists: No. 5 - 310
Points scored: No. 7 - 1,311
Free Throw %: No. 8 - 81.3%
BRUCE JOINS ELITE BAYLOR TRIO IN CAREER POINTS & ASSISTS
Aaron Bruce recently recorded his 300th career assist and became the fourth player in Baylor history to top 1,000 points (1,300) and 310 assists (309), joining greats Vinnie Johnson (1,231/308), David Wesley (1,224/316) and Micheal Williams (1,854/464).
"FLASH" DUGAT USING ENERGY & QUICKNESS TO SPARK BEARS
Since re-entering the starting lineup this season, junior guard Henry Dugat has used his high energy and athleticism to boost Baylor during its turnaround season. In Big 12 Conference games, Dugat is averaging 12.9 points (17th in the Big 12), 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals (eighth in Big 12) and shooting 41.5 percent on 3-pointers. He has started all 26 games this season after finishing his sophomore year in the sixth man role. Dugat earned the nickname "Flash" from former teammate Tim Bush due to his quickness and style of play similarities to Dwyane Wade.
"THE MAYOR" BACK TO SHOT-BLOCKING WAYS
Mamadou Diene, a seven-foot junior from Senegal, has averaged 3.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 16.9 minutes off the bench in 19 games played since returning from an Oct. 25 procedure to repair a chronic stress fracture in his ankle (missed season's first seven games - had started all 43 games played in his freshman and sophomore seasons). He leads the Big 12 in blocks in conference games this season with a 2.2 average. Diene's 73 career blocks in Big 12 play is the most among the league's active players. His 113 career blocks and 1.82 career average are both second all-time at Baylor behind only current Phoenix Suns Brian Skinner's 346 total and 3.36 average (1994-98). Named the Big 12's "Best Shot Blocker" by the Sporting News preseason publication, Diene led the Big 12 in blocks as a freshman (2.3 bpg) and was third (1.6 bpg) in an injury-plagued sophomore season. He is referred to as "The Mayor" due to his huge popularity across campus.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
One significant statistical indicator to Baylor's success in winning games is field goal percentage, offensively and defensively. This season, Baylor is 16-1 when totaling a higher shooting percentage than it opponents, and conversely is 2-7 when its opponents shoot a higher percentage. Further, in five seasons under Scott Drew Baylor has accumulated a 48-8 record when outshooting opponents and a 6-69 record when being outshot by opponents.
MILESTONES & RECORDS WATCH
Scott Drew is 2 coaching wins shy of moving into 7th place (54, Harry Miller No. 7 with 56) on Baylor's career coaching victories list.
Aaron Bruce is 4 assists shy of moving into 4th place & 6 shy of 3rd place (310, Jay Shakir No. 4 with 314; David Wesley No. 3 with 316) on Baylor's career assists list.
Curtis Jerrells is 16 points shy of moving into 12th place (1,104, Larry Gatewood No. 12 with 1,120) on Baylor's career scoring list.
Aaron Bruce is 49 points shy of moving into 6th place (1,311, Darrell Hardy No. 6 with 1,360) on Baylor's career scoring list.
Aaron Bruce is 1 3-pointer shy of moving into 6th place (131, Texas A&M's Bernard King No. 6 with 132) on Big 12's career 3-pointers in conference games list.
Aaron Bruce is 2 3-pointers shy of moving into 2nd place (215, Roddrick Miller No. 2 with 217) on Baylor's career 3-pointers list.
Curtis Jerrells is 6 3-pointers shy of moving into 6th place (132, Tevis Stukes No. 6 with 138) on Baylor's career 3-pointers list.
LaceDarius Dunn is 10 3-pointers shy of setting a new record for freshman 3-pointers (60, Aaron Bruce No. 1 with 69 in 2002) at Baylor.
Baylor is 12,245 fans shy of breaking its season-attendance record of 109,494 (2001-02, 16 games) - with 2 games remaining.
LAST TIME OUT: BAYLOR 92 - No. 24/25 KANSAS STATE 86
Baylor overcame record-setting performances by Kansas State players to defeat the 24th-ranked Wildcats 92-86 at the Ferrell Center. Freshmen phenoms Michael Beasley and Bill Walker scored career highs of 44 (Big 12 record) and 31 points, respectively, but it wasn't enough to overcome Baylor's team effort - which included five double-digit scorers led by Curtis Jerrells' 24 points. Jerrells broke 69-69 tie with a runner at the 9:34 mark to give Baylor a lead it wouldn't relinquish. That began a 16-7 game-deciding run that included two Jerrells 3-pointers with the shot clock running down. On both 3s, Jerrells listened to the students counting down the expiring shot clock before taking his shot, the second one making it 85-76 with 3:41 left. In between the 3s, Jerrells missed a running jumper with the shot clock at 1 second, but grabbed his own rebound and went right back in uncontested for a score. After two Beasley free throws with 1:56 left made it 87-85, Jerrells drove again with the shot clock running down. He missed, but was fouled and made both free throws. Kansas State could get no closer. Walker missed a couple of 3-pointers after that, and Beasley took only one more shot - a desperate 3 in the last frantic seconds. LaceDarius Dunn had 16 points for Baylor and Tweety Carter 12. Aaron Bruce, the struggling senior guard out of the starting lineup because of his recent struggles, added 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting.
THE LAST MEETING: BAYLOR 97 - COLORADO 83 [Jan. 30, 2007]
Baylor was hot from outside and buried Colorado under 14 3-pointers in a 97-83 win over the Buffs at the Ferrell Center. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Bears. Baylor built a 24-7 lead over the first eight minutes and Curtis Jerrells' long 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer gave BU a 53-30 halftime lead. The Bears led by as many as 27 early in the second before Colorado cut the deficit to 73-62 on Richard Roby's layup with 10 minutes remaining. Aaron Bruce and Tim Bush responded with 3-pointers in an 8-4 Baylor run and the Buffs never challenged again. Baylor matched its highest scoring output in a Big 12 game, equaling the points in a 97-45 win over Texas A&M on Feb. 3, 2002. Bruce and Henry Dugat scored 19 points to lead five Baylor players in double figure scoring and five that tallied more than 15 points. Kevin Rogers notched his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Baylor's 14 3s was a season-high and the highest such total since hitting 16 Jan. 28, 2006 in a loss at Texas A&M.
BIG 12 HONORS
Baylor players have received four weekly Big 12 honors this season, the school's most-ever single-season weekly awards. Baylor has earned three player of the week awards and one rookie of the week award:
LaceDarius Dunn, Big 12 Rookie of the Week, Nov. 26, 2007
Dunn was honored after leading the Bears to to wins over Winthrop (in the championship game of the Paradise Jam) and Centenary. Dunn set then-career-highs for points with 17 in each game, shooting a combined 13-of-20 (.650) from the floor off the bench. He also shot 5-of-10 on 3-pointers and averaged 5.5 rebounds.
Curtis Jerrells, Big 12 Player of the Week, Nov. 19, 2007
Jerrells was honored after leading Baylor to wins over Wichita State and Notre Dame at the Paradise Jam tournament. He averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two wins and shot 54 percent from the 3-point line and 92 percent from the free throw line.
Curtis Jerrells, Big 12 Player of the Week, Jan. 28, 2008
Jerrells earned his second honor after averaging 26.5 points as No. 25 Baylor split two games, an epic five-overtime win over No. 16 Texas A&M and a 77-71 loss to Oklahoma. He scored a career-high 36 points and made a Big 12 and school-record 20 free throws in the Bears' 116-110 marathon thriller at A&M, including 11 points in the last overtime period to clinch the win in the longest game in Big 12 history.
Kevin Rogers, Big 12 Player of the Week, Dec. 24, 2007
Rogers was honored after leading the Bears to two road wins at South Carolina and Southern that snapped a 25-game losing streak in true road games. He averaged 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds and had two double-doubles. Rogers had a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double at USC and scored a game-high 21 points in a win at Southern.
RECORD ATTENDANCE NUMBERS
Baylor's on-court success is attracting record numbers of fans to the Ferrell Center and the Bears are on pace to set several attendance records this season. Baylor's average home attendance of 6,946 is currently the top all-time (topping previous best of 6,843 set in 2001-02) and three of the top six attended BU games ever have come this season, including the all-time record crowd of 10,521 vs. Texas (Feb. 16). The all-time single-season attendance mark of 109,494 (2001-02) will likely fall as Baylor needs to average just 6,123 in its final two home games (Missouri March 1; Texas A&M March 5) to top that mark. Top-six crowds also came this season vs. Oklahoma (10,393, No. 4 all-time) and vs. Washington State (10,193, No. 6).
PARADISE JAM CHAMPS
Baylor earned the 2007 Paradise Jam championship with an impressive three-game run Nov. 16-19 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Bears defeated Wichita State (64-55), Notre Dame (68-64) and Winthrop (62-54) to earn the title at the eighth annual tournament. Baylor overcame second-half deficits in both the semis (down 10 to N.D) and the final (down six to Winthrop) to earn the title. Curtis Jerrells was named the tournament MVP after leading the Bears with 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and Aaron Bruce also earned a spot on the all-tournament team. The title marked Baylor's first in-season tournament championship (excluding the Baylor-hosted Dr Pepper Invitational) since winning the 1971 Holiday Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. (last eight-team tournament title was the 1968 East Carolina Classic in Greenville, N.C.).
BAYLOR'S SUMMER TOUR TO CANCUN
Baylor spent Labor Day weekend 2007 on a basketball tour to Cancun, Mexico. The four-day trip included two exhibition games as well as sun and fun for the Bears. Baylor beat Belize Tuff E Nuff 115-47 Sept. 1, before defeating the hometown Mexican professional team Quintana Roo 91-57 Sept. 2. Both games were played in Cancun's sweltering Kuchil-Baxal Gymnasium. Baylor was led in scoring both games by junior Henry Dugat, who totaled 25 and 20 points. Aside from the games, the players and travel party enjoyed swimming, jet skiing, fishing and shopping on the Yucatan Peninsula.
BEARS RETURN HIGH PRODUCTION NUMBERS
Baylor in 2007-08 returned all five starters, nine of 12 roster players and nearly all of its statistical production. The Bears return 90.6 percent of last season's points, 86.9 percent of rebounds and 94.5 percent of assists.
MOST EXPERIENCED BEAR SQUAD IN YEARS
For the first time in years, Baylor took the court in 2007-08 with a predominantly upperclassman, experienced team. After several seasons of young, inexperienced teams, the Bears returned nine lettermen, including seven lettermen with multiple letters. The roster includes two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. Veteran Aaron Bruce is the just the fourth four-year senior to play at BU in the last eight seasons. Baylor's '07-08 returnees entered the season with a combined 246 career starts under their collective belts, the highest such number at BU in over a decade.
EARLY 2009 SIGNEES
Baylor signed two players in the early signing period, Anthony Jones of Houston (Texas) Yates High School and Russian Artem Valov of Three Rivers Community College. Jones, a senior at Yates, is rated 46th nationally by Rivals.com and is a consensus top-70 recruit. He is rated No. 51 by Hoopmasters.com and No. 62 by Scout.com. Jones averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds last season as a junior for a Yates squad that finished 25-8 in 2006-07. A 6-10 forward, Jones is rated No. 8 among the nation's forwards by Rivals.com and ranked as the fourth-best recruit in the state by TexasHoops.com. Valov is a junior college sophomore who was recently named a preseason NJCAA first-team All-American. He is rated the No. 12 junior college recruit nationally by Rivals.com's JucoJunction.com. The 6-9 forward helped lead Three Rivers to a 26-11 record and into the second round of the NJCAA tournament. Valov was named to the 2007 NJCAA All-Tournament team. Valov finished his freshman season with averages of 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Baylor returns home for a two-game homestand beginning Saturday, March 1, when it hosts Missouri at the Ferrell Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m. CST and will be televised live regionally via ESPN Plus syndicated stations.