BAYLOR (7-1) at SOUTH CAROLINA (5-4)
Dec. 19, 2007 Colonial Center (Columbia, S.C.) 6:35 p.m. CST/7:35 p.m. EST
PDF of complete Game Notes & Stats
RADIO: Baylor-ISP Sports Radio Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco / Sirius Satellite ch. 161)
INTERNET AUDIO: live broadcast at BaylorBears.com
TELEVISION: Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast
INTERNET VIDEO: none
LIVE STATS: live GameTracker stats at BaylorBears.com
Baylor begins a two-game road trip with a Wednesday, Dec. 19, matchup at South Carolina. The game is scheduled to tipoff at 6:35 p.m. CST/7:35 p.m. EST at the Colonial Center in Columbia, S.C. The Bears are 7-1 and coming off a 100-72 victory over Wayland Baptist at home last Saturday. The Gamecocks are 5-4 and last played Dec. 6, a 68-67 win over Providence in Philadelphia. Wednesday will be Baylor's first true road game in 2007-08; USC is 3-1 at home this season.
Baylor's 7-1 start is its best since the 2001-02 season (9-1 start).
Bears are 69-22 over last 8 seasons in regular-season, non-league play.
Baylor is 2-37 in its last 39 true road games (dating to '02-03) and has lost 25 straight since a 73-72 win at Purdue 12-30-04.
Baylor is 4-1 in its last 5 games away from home (4-41 in previous 45 away games dating to '02-03).
BU is out-shooting its opponents 47.8-39.1%, including a 42.2-32.8% edge in 3s.
4 Baylor guards are shooting better than 40% on 3s: LaceDarius Dunn (47.2%, 3rd in Big 12), Tweety Carter (45.2%), Curtis Jerrells (43.2%, 7th) and Aaron Bruce (42.1%, 9th).
BU is receiving votes in this week's AP poll (first season to receive votes since `01).
Tweety Carter has made 7-of-10 3-pointers over the last 2 games.
9 BU players average 16 minutes or more & none average more than 30.
Aaron Bruce is shooting 88.5% (23-26, 1st in Big 12, 33rd nationally) on free throws.
Aaron Bruce ranks 11th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,149 career points).
62% (213-345) of Tweety Carter's career points have come from 3-pointers (71).
Baylor won the 2007 Paradise Jam, it's first non-hosted tourney title since 1971.
Baylor is 22-1 in the Drew Era when scoring 80-plus points.
HEAD COACH 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 43-70 at the school and a career record of 63-81 (six seasons). Drew's 43 wins rank ninth all-time on Baylor's all-time coaching victories list (in eighth place on the list is Frank Bridges with 51 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 SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Dave Odom (Guilford College, 1965); 397-264, 22 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: USC leads 1-0
Last meeting: USC 64-59 (12-9-06 in Waco)
Streak: USC 1 straight
Series at Columbia: first meeting
Drew vs. USC: 0-1
Baylor vs. SEC: 57-123
USC NOTES: South Carolina (5-4) is located in Columbia, S.C., and is a member of the Southeastern Conference... The Gamecocks are 3-1 at home this season, the lone loss coming at the hands of Southern Cal (currently ranked No. 25 in AP poll)... USC is led by sophomore G Devan Downey (a transfer from Cincinnati) who averages a team-high 18.4 points and 3.8 rebounds... The Gamecocks are shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point distance, and holding opponents to 27.8 percent on 3s... Wednesday's game vs. Baylor is the first action for USC in 13 days (since Dec. 6 win over Providence)... South Carolina beat Baylor last season in Waco, erasing a seven-point second half deficit to win 64-59.
Baylor has lost 25 straight true road games over the last four seasons - since a 73-72 win at Purdue on Dec. 30, 2004 (the Bears have won five neutral-site games [5-4] during that span).
DIENE & DUNN WORKING BACK FROM INJURIES
Junior C Mamadou Diene (ankle; missed season's first seven games) and true freshman G LaceDarius Dunn (knee; missed one game) both returned from injuries last Saturday and played in the win over Wayland Baptist. Diene played seven minutes, totaling two points and three rebounds. Dunn played 12 minutes, totaling 14 points and three rebounds. Both are expected to play on this week's road swing.
BEST START SINCE...
Baylor's 7-1 record is its best start under Scott Drew and the school's best start since 2001-02 (that season the Bears began 9-1).
BEARS CONTINUE MASSIVE REBUILDING PROCESS
The 2007-08 season is head coach Scott Drew's fifth at Baylor as he continues the unprecedented overhaul he began in 2003. After taking over a program decimated by tragedy, player departures, depleted rosters and NCAA restrictions, Drew recruited a solid foundation of high school players that after earning valuable playing experience is showing progress. This year's squad is 7-1 and last season's youthful Bears posted 15 wins (the highest win total at Baylor in six seasons), including the program's first Big 12 Championship victory since 2001.
"OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES"
Baylor received votes in this week's Associated Press poll (two votes; tied for 42nd). The Bears have received votes in four of seven weekly polls this season, but haven't been ranked since February 1969 (No. 19 ranking in the AP top 20 poll).
BAYLOR'S BACKCOURT: "IN GUARDS WE TRUST"
Baylor's strength in 2007-08 once again lies in its talented backcourt. The Bears utilize a rotation of five guards that each average 20-plus minutes per game. The quintet is made up of four returnees; senior Aaron Bruce (11.1 ppg, 23.3 mpg), juniors Curtis Jerrells (13.1 ppg, 29.5 mpg) and Henry Dugat (9.1 ppg, 24.5 mpg) and sophomore Tweety Carter (9.5 ppg, 22.9 mpg); and heralded true freshman LaceDarius Dunn (12.4 ppg, 20.7 mpg). The fivesome combines for an average 53.8 points and 16.6 rebounds per game and shoot 42.0 percent on 3-pointers.
DRAMATIC DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS
Through eight games, one indicator of Baylor's success this season compared with years past appears to be some marked defensive improvements, as evidenced by a look at opponent's shooting percentages and scoring figures. Baylor is holding opponents to a 39.1 shooting percentage from the field (lowest figure in school's researchable history), a 32.8 shooting percentage from the 3-point arc [fourth in Big 12] and to 62.5 points per game (lowest average since 1985-86).
BAYLOR vs. NON-CONFERENCE FOES
Baylor boasts a 69-22 record over the last eight seasons in regular-season, non-league play (7-1 in non-conference this season).
JERRELLS POWERS BEARS
Curtis Jerrells is leading the Bears in scoring (13.1 ppg, 14th in Big 12), assists (3.3 apg, 11th in Big 12) and minutes (29.5 mpg) for the third straight season. The junior guard has started all 56 career games since arriving at Baylor, was named Big 12 Player of the Week Nov. 19 and took home tournament MVP honors after leading Baylor to the championship of the 2007 Paradise Jam. Jerrells is a preseason Cousy Award candidate and projected a preseason All-Big 12 selection by the league coaches, Athlon and Lindy's.
VETERAN LEADER BRUCE CONTINUES RECORD-SETTING PACE
Senior Aaron Bruce is averaging 11.1 points and continues his climb up the school's career scoring list. Bruce, Baylor's veteran-most player with 82 career games played, currently stands 11th all-time with 1,149 career points. He is currently shooting 88.5 percent (23-26) from the line [first in Big 12, 33rd nationally]. 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's 40.1 career 3-point percentage ranks third in school history and his 82.4 career free throw percentage ranks fifth all-time.
MR. ROGERS BUILDING ON BREAKOUT SOPHOMORE SEASON
Junior forward Kevin Rogers is averaging 12.1 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds (seventh in Big 12) this season. He has recorded two double-doubles, has five blocks and is shooting 56.2 percent from the field (sixth in Big 12). Over the past two games Rogers has averaged 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. During his breakout sophomore season in 2006-07, Rogers doubled his scoring average (6.1 to 12.8 ppg) and recorded five double-doubles.
HERALDED FRESHMAN DUNN MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT
True freshman G LaceDarius Dunn of Monroe, La., is second on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg) and third in rebounds (4.6 rpg) after seven games played in his collegiate career. Dunn suffered an injured knee Nov. 30 in the Washington State game and sat out the Mississippi Valley State game before returning last Saturday and playing 12 minutes vs. Wayland Baptist (14 points). Dunn is the highest-rated Baylor 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. He was a three-time all-state player and two-time class MVP in Louisiana who led Excelsior Christian School to a 118-9 record and one state championship over his final three prep seasons. Dunn was rated the nation's No. 6 shooting guard prospect by Scout.com and the nation's No. 8 wing guard by Hoopmasters.com.
`THE MAYOR' SEEING LIMITED ACTION ON REPAIRED ANKLE
Mamadou Diene, a seven-foot junior from Senegal, played seven minutes in last Saturday's win over Wayland Baptist - his first action of the season after an Oct. 25 procedure to repair a chronic stress fracture in his ankle (had started all 43 games played in his freshman and sophomore seasons). Diene has recorded 80 career blocks and his 1.82 career blocks per game total is second all-time at Baylor behind only current Phoenix Suns Brian Skinner's 3.36 average (1994-98). Diene is referred to as "The Mayor" due to his huge popularity across campus.
THIAM LEAVES PROGRAM
Redshirt freshman Djibril Thiam left the Baylor basketball program last week with the intent of transferring to another school. Thiam played in each of the season's first seven games, averaging 2.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game. The second-year wing from Dakar, Senegal, played in four games as a true freshman in 2006-07 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Thiam leaves Baylor with career totals of 26 points (2.4 ppg) and 34 rebounds (3.1 rpg) in 11 games played.
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. The Bears were led in scoring both games by junior Henry Dugat, who totaled 25 and 20 points over the weekend. Aside from the games, the players and travel party enjoyed swimming, jet skiing, fishing and shopping on the Yucatan Peninsula.
LAST TIME OUT: BAYLOR 100 - WAYLAND BAPTIST 72
Curtis Jerrells scored 18 points and Kevin Rogers had 17 to lead Baylor past Wayland Baptist 100-72 at the Ferrell Center.
Up 45-39 at the half, Baylor led just 58-50 after a three-point play by WBU's Michal Polanowski with 13:38 remaining. The Bears then went on a 23-2 run spurred by a pair of layups by Josh Lomers, consecutive 3-pointers from Jerrells and Henry Dugat and five Wayland turnovers.
The Bears also made eight consecutive free throws over a 1:03 span to take an 81-52 lead with 7:33 remaining.
Jason Griffin hit two 3-pointers early and scored eight of the Pioneers' first 12 points as Wayland Baptist took a 12-5 lead with 14:30 left in the first half.
LaceDarius Dunn, who played just 12 minutes (all in the first half) in his first game back from a knee injury, answered with a 3-pointer, two free throws and a three-point play to spur a Bears rally that tied the score at 20-20 with 8:21 to play.
The Bears made 14 of 27 from 3-point range, with Dunn and Jerrells hitting six each. Rogers also made the first 3-pointer of his career. All 11 Bears who played scored.
THE LAST MEETING: SOUTH CAROLINA 64 - BAYLOR 59 [Dec. 9, 2006]
Cold perimeter shooting hurt Baylor, but several late clutch shots by South Carolina's Tre' Kelley doomed the Bears in a 64-59 defeat to the Gamecocks at the Ferrell Center.
In a tightly contested first half, neither team led by more than four and there were four ties and 11 lead changes.
With less than 30 seconds left in the half, Brandis Raley-Ross hit a 3-point jumper to give the Gamecocks a 29-27 lead at intermission. The Bears shot 1-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half.
In the second half, Baylor went on a 16-4 run to take a 45-38 lead with 10 minutes left, but the Gamecocks withstood the barrage and went on a 13-5 run of their own to take a 51-50 lead with 3:30 left on a 3-pointer by Brandon Wallace and extended it to 53-50 on a put-back by Dominique Archie at 2:21. Kelley's deep 3 from well beyond the arc put the Gamecocks up 58-54 with 1:08 left, but Baylor's Aaron Bruce answered back with a 15-footer to cut the lead to 58-56 with 47 seconds left. Kelley hit another 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down with 13 seconds left, but the Bears quickly answered with a 3 from Henry Dugat with five seconds left.
Baylor had only committed five fouls in the second half and wasted valuable time trying to get USC to the line. Archie hit four straight free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
South Carolina shot 40.4 percent from the field for the game, and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc (10-of-24), while Baylor shot 42.9 percent from the floor and only 20.8 percent from 3-point range (5-of-24). The Gamecocks also outrebounded the Bears 38-32.
DUNN BIG 12 ROOKIE OF WEEK NOV. 26
Baylor freshman LaceDarius Dunn was named Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week Nov. 26 after leading the Bears to two wins, including the championship of the Paradise Jam. Dunn set career-highs for points with 17 in each game, shooting a combined 13-of-20 (.650) from the floor. He also shot 50.0 percent (5-of-10) on 3-pointers. Dunn averaged 5.5 rebounds, posting his numbers in just 23.0 minutes per game off the bench.
JERRELLS BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOV. 19
Junior G Curtis Jerrells was selected the Big 12 Player of the Week Nov. 19. The award was the first earned by a Baylor player since Lawrence Roberts was so honored in 2003, and the eighth P.O.W. honor by a Bear all-time. 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 victories and shot 54 percent from the 3-point line and 92 percent from the free throw line. He led Baylor with 17 points in the win over Notre Dame, and his 3-pointer with 3:15 in the game gave the Bears their first lead of the night.
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 the school in over a decade
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.
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 lost just three lettermen from its 2006-07 roster: three-year forwards Tim Bush (6.3 ppg) and Patrick Fields (3.0 ppg) and one-year forward Jari Vanttaja (0.9 ppg).
Following its South Carolina-Southern road swing, Baylor breaks for Christmas before hosting Prairie View A&M Dec. 29 in Waco. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST at the Ferrell Center.