BAYLOR (8-3) vs. DELAWARE STATE (3-8)
Dec. 30, 2006 - Ferrell Center (Waco, Texas) - 7:00 p.m. CST
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RADIO: Baylor-ISP Sports Radio Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco / Sirius Satellite ch. 161)
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Baylor plays its second of three games in six days when it hosts Delaware State Saturday, Dec. 30. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST at the Ferrell Center. Baylor is 8-3 and coming off a 91-71 win over North Carolina A&T Thursday. The young Bears, with nine freshmen and sophomores, are playing a full season and have a full allotment of scholarships for the first time in four years. Delaware State is 3-8 and coming off a 65-62 victory at Buffalo Dec. 21. Saturday's game is the third in a four-game homestand that concludes Baylor's non-conference schedule.
- Baylor is 4-0 all-time against current MEAC schools.
- BU's 1.16 assist-to-turnover ratio is the 2nd-highest in 29 years of records at school.
- 5 Bears average double-digits in scoring, the most on a BU squad since `94-95.
- Baylor's 8-3 record marks its best start since the 2002-03 squad began 9-2. With a win Saturday, Baylor would match the `02-03 team's 9-3 start.
- Aaron Bruce is 3rd in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.39.
- Baylor is 2nd in the Big 12 in scoring - 83.5 ppg (20.3 ppg more than last season), the school's highest scoring average since the `93-94 squad averaged 85.5 ppg.
- Mamadou Diene leads the Big 12 in blocks, averaging 2.7 per gm (17th nationally).
- Aaron Bruce ranks 5th among the Big 12 assists leaders - 5.0 apg.
- BU is 60-21 in regular-season non-league games the last 7 seasons (8-3 in `06-07).
- Sophomore Kevin Rogers has doubled his scoring output from last season - 13.6 ppg up from 6.1 ppg.
- BU's sophomore quartet (Diene, Dugat, Jerrells & Rogers; last season's "Freshman Four") accounts for 54% of Baylor's scoring and 61% of its rebounds.
- Underclassmen have led BU in scoring in 49 of its last 56 games (dating to 2004-05) [in 30 of last 56 a freshman has been top scorer].
- Sophomore Mamadou Diene has made at least 1 block in all 26 career games.
- Injury Update: Mark Shepherd (shoulder separation) will not play Saturday; Penny Thiam (torn ACL) is out for the season.
- Baylor is 23-4 when scoring 70+ points (in Drew Era; 4 seasons).
- Baylor is 17-3 when totaling 40+ rebounds (last 5 seasons).
- BU is 1-34 when allowing opponents to shoot 50% or higher (in 4 years under Drew).
- Over the past six seasons Baylor is 62-6 when totaling an equal or higher shooting percentage than its opponent (6-1 in 2006-07).
BEST START SINCE...
Baylor's 8-3 record marks its best start in four seasons under head coach Scott Drew and the best start since the 2002-03 squad began 9-2. With a win Saturday, Baylor would match the `02-03 team's 9-3 start.
HEAD COACH Scott Drew
Scott Drew, in his fourth season at Baylor in what many have called the most daunting rebuilding project in college basketball history, owns a four-year mark of 29-56 at the school and a career record of 49-67 (five seasons). 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 DELAWARE STATE HORNETS
Head Coach: Greg Jackson (St. Paul's, 1980); 263-168, 15 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: never met
Last meeting: never met
Series in Waco: never met
Drew vs. DSU: 0-0
Baylor vs. MEAC: 4-0
DSU NOTES: Delaware State (3-8) is located in Dover, Del., and is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference... The Hornets return all five starters from last season's 21-14 team that reached the second round of the NIT... Delaware State's schedule is ranked the fourth-toughest in the nation according to CBSSportsline.com's RPI (5th nationally by KemPom.com RPI) - DSU has played three ranked teams this season [L 67-50 at No. 5 Pittsburgh, L 64-52 at No. 7 Wisconsin, L 65-48 at No. 20 Marquette]... The Hornets are back-to-back MEAC champions and the preseason pick to win a third straight league title in 2006-07... The Hornets are led by junior F Roy Bright and senior G Jahsha Bluntt, who each average 14.2 points per game... Bluntt was named the 2006 MEAC Player of the Year and an honorable mention Associated Press All-American last season... Senior G/F Joe Dickens totalled 21 points and 10 rebounds in his first game of the season Dec. 21 at Buffalo.
ESTABLISHING A HOME-COURT ADVANTAGE
The rebuilding Bears are quietly establishing a winning tradition at home in the Ferrell Center. Baylor has won 11 of its last 13 games in Waco (dating back to last season).
BRUINS BOAST TALENTED BACKCOURT
Baylor's strength in 2006-07 lies in its talented pool of guards, including its trio of starters who each average 29-plus minutes per game: Curtis Jerrells (31.1 mpg), Aaron Bruce (29.3 mpg) and Henry Dugat (29.3 mpg). Reserve Tweety Carter averages 22.5 minutes off the bench. The four guards all average double-digit points and combined score on average of 47.4 points a game. Bruce (2005) and Jerrells (2006) are former Freshmen All-Americans and true freshman Carter is the school's first-ever McDonald's All-American. Baylor's backcourt was listed among the nation's top 14 backcourts in The Sporting News preseason publication.
FULL ROSTER, FULL SCHEDULE
For the first time in four seasons since head coach Scott Drew was hired, Baylor has both a full allotment of scholarships available and a complete schedule to play. For three seasons the Bears have played through handicaps: in each of the first three years the program was playing with scholarship limits; last season, the Bears were stripped of playing a non-conference schedule (all results of sanctions brought on by the previous coaching staff). In 2006-07 Baylor has 13 scholarships available and is playing a full schedule.
OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION UP
Baylor is second in the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 83.5 points per game - up 20.3 points from last season and the highest team scoring average since 1993-94 (when the Bears scored an average 85.5 points).
MORE TEAM BALANCE (SCORING/MINUTES PLAYED)
A byproduct of Baylor's increased depth and talent is a more balanced team, evidenced by balanced scoring and fewer minutes played. Five Bears average double-digits in scoring (the last BU squad to boast five double-digit scorers was 1994-95). Only one Baylor player averages more than 30 minutes per game: sophomore G Curtis Jerrells, 31.1 mpg.
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP FOR LAST SEASON'S "FRESHMAN FOUR"
Baylor is powered by its nucleus of youth, namely a quartet of sophomores which as rookies in 2005-06 was nicknamed the "Freshman Four": Mamadou Diene, Henry Dugat, Curtis Jerrells and Kevin Rogers. As freshmen the quartet combined to account for nearly half of the team's points, rebounds and assists. This season the sophomores have increased that production (percentages below).
DIENE, DUGAT, JERRELLS & ROGERS
% of Team's: Pts Reb. Asst.
Freshmen in 2005-06 46% (496/1,074) 51% (252/493) 49% (92/186)
Sophomores in 2006-07 54% (492/918) 61% (230/379) 47% (91/192)
IMPRESSIVE ASSIST/TURNOVER NUMBERS
Baylor boasts a team 1.16 assist-to-turnover ratio (192-165), the fifth-best ratio in the Big 12 this season. That ratio is currently the second-highest figure in the 29 years of records at the school (only seven BU teams in the last 28 seasons have finished the season with positive assist-to-turnover ratios). Credit for the high ratio goes to guards Aaron Bruce (2.39 ratio, third among Big 12 individuals), Tweety Carter (2.0), and Curtis Jerrells (1.62, 12th in Big 12).
DUGAT PUTTING UP BIG NUMBERS
Henry Dugat has drastically improved his statistical output through the early portion of his sophomore season. Through 11 games (his first 11 career starts), the guard is leading the team with 13.8 points per game [16th in Big 12] and shooting 45 percent (24-for-53) on 3-pointers [fourth in Big 12]. He has scored in double-digits in eight of 11 games.
BRUCE ALMIGHTY AMONG BIG 12 LEADERS IN ASSISTS
Third-year guard Aaron Bruce is averaging 11.5 points and 5.0 assists [fifth in Big 12] through 11 games. His 2.39 assist-to-turnover ratio (55-23) is third in the Big 12. Bruce's 82.7 career free throw percentage ranks third in school history and his 39.3 career 3-point percentage ranks third all-time. The junior, rated the nation's 11th-best point guard by The Sporting News preseason publication, spent the offseason playing for the Australian national team at the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Japan. Bruce averaged 13.1 points during an injury-riddled sophomore campaign last season and averaged 18.2 points in 2004-05 when he led the nation's freshmen in scoring and was named a freshman All-American.
JERRELLS BUILDING ON STELLAR FRESHMAN SEASON
Curtis Jerrells, who is averaging 12.0 points and 3.8 assists in a team-high 31.1 minutes through 11 games, is coming off a rookie season in which he led the team in scoring (13.5 ppg), assists (3.3 apg), steals (1.4 spg) and minutes (33.4 mpg) and was named a Freshman All-American. Jerrells is projected a preseason All-Big 12 selection by Lindy's, USA TODAY and ESPN.com. He has also been named the Big 12's "Most Underrated Player" by both Athlon and The Sporting News preseason publications.
MAYOR DIENE CONTINUES AS BIG 12's TOP SHOT-BLOCKER
Mamadou Diene, a seven-foot sophomore from Senegal, is averaging 6.0 points, 6.1 rebounds [13th in Big 12] and 2.7 blocks [leads Big 12, 17th nationally]. Diene led the Big 12 in blocks as a freshman, averaging 2.2 in 2005-06 and his 2.38 career figure is second all-time at Baylor behind only current Milwaukee Buck Brian Skinner's 3.36 average (1994-98). Diene has blocked at least one shot in all 26 career games (16 multi-block games). The 19-year-old Diene, referred to as "The Mayor" by the Baylor coaching staff due to his huge popularity across campus, has gained more than 55 pounds since his arrival in the United States in Jan. 2005 weighing 197 pounds.
CARTER BIG 12's ROOKIE OF WEEK DEC. 18
Baylor freshman guard Tweety Carter was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week Dec. 18 after scoring 31 points in a 94-71 loss at No. 23 Syracuse. Carter, a true freshman from Reserve, La., scored a career-high 31 points on a career-high seven 3-pointers off the bench vs. the Orange. The 31-point output was the most by a Baylor player since 2004-05, when then-freshman Aaron Bruce scored 33 vs. Oklahoma State (Feb. 5, 2005). The seven 3-pointers is the fourth-most single-game total in school history. The 5-10 guard, Baylor's first-ever McDonalds All-America signee, is averaging 10.1 points and 2.5 assists on the season.
DUGAT & ROGERS AMONG BIG 12's MOST IMPROVED SCORERS
Sophomores Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers have each nearly doubled their scoring output from their freshman season in 2005-06. Both players are also among the Big 12's most improved scorers from last season: Rogers averages 7.5 more points than last season (sixth in Big 12) and Dugat averages 6.6 more (ninth in Big 12).
INJURIES: DIENE PROBABLE, SHEPHERD DOUBTFUL, THIAM OUT
Through 11 games five different Baylor players have missed a total of 23 games due to injuries. Current injuries include sophomore C Mamadou Diene, who played last game but is nursing a sprained ankle. Junior F Mark Shepherd missed the last two games with a separated shoulder and is not expected to dress Saturday. Freshman F Djibril "Penny" Thiam sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the win over Texas Southern Nov. 20 and is out for the season.
BEARS STILL YOUNG
Despite returning 11 of last season's 13 players, the Bears are still a relatively young squad in 2006-07. Baylor's roster includes just two seniors and three juniors compared to nine freshmen and sophomores. [Note: Underclassmen have led Baylor in scoring in 49 of its last 56 games (over the last three seasons); in 30 of those 56 a freshman has been top scorer.]
LAST TIME OUT: BAYLOR 91 - NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE 71
Henry Dugat scored 19 points, including 4-of-7 3-pointers, to lead Baylor to a 91-71 win over North Carolina A&T at the Ferrell Center.
Steven Rush's 3-pointer pulled the Aggies to within 10 points at 57-47 with just under 14 minutes remaining. But Baylor put together a 14-4 run and led 71-51 with 10:53 left. Tim Bush and Tweety Carter each scored six points during the run.
The Bears shot 71 percent in the second half, connecting on 17 of their 25 shots. Baylor finished the game at 57 percent with a 31 for 54 performance.
Wilson's putback cut the Aggie deficit to 36-34 with just under two minutes left in the first half. But Baylor outscored North Carolina A&T 7-2 the rest of way and led 43-36 at halftime.
Dugat's twisting layup with three seconds remaining closed out the Bears scoring. Dugat scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half and Aaron Bruce added 11 in the first.
MILESTONES & RECORDS WATCH
- Aaron Bruce ranks 3rd on Baylor's career free throw percentage list (.827).
- Aaron Bruce ranks 4th on Baylor's career 3-point percentage list (.393).
- Pat Fields ranks 7th on Baylor's career 3-point percentage list (.375).
- Mamadou Diene ranks 2nd on Baylor's career blocks-per-game list (2.38).
- Aaron Bruce ranks 7th on Baylor's career assists-per-game list (3.84).
- Aaron Bruce is 5 made 3-pointers shy of 5th place (133, Tevis Stukes No. 5 with 138) on Baylor's career 3-point field goal list.
- Mamadou Diene is 3 blocks shy of moving into 8th place on Baylor's career blocks list (62 blocks, Tommy Swanson & Jamie Kendrick No. 8 with 65).
- Henry Dugat lacks 3 made 3-pointers (47, needs 50) to qualify for Baylor's career 3-point percentage list (his 40.5 percentage would rank third all-time).
- Aaron Bruce is 19 assists shy of entering Baylor's career top 10 assists list (215, Roddrick Miller No. 10 with 234).
BEARS RETURN PRODUCTION NUMBERS
In 2006-07 Baylor returns four-of-five starters, 11-of-13 roster players and a great majority of its production, statistically speaking. The Bears return 87.6 percent of last season's points, 84.7 percent of rebounds and 93.5 percent of assists.
FRESHMAN CLASS RATED 17th NATIONALLY
Baylor's 2006 signee class was rated the nation's 17th-best class by Rivals.com and is made up of a trio of freshman, all top-100 national recruits. The signees include Demond "Tweety" Carter of Reserve Christian School (Reserve, La.), Josh Lomers of Boerne (Texas) High School and Djibril "Penny" Thiam of Stoneridge Prep (Tarzana, Calif.).
Baylor's 14-man, 2006-07 roster boasts 10 Americans and four players from overseas. The four international student-athletes include junior Aaron Bruce (native of Australia), sophomore Mamadou Diene (native of Senegal), redshirt freshman Jari Vanttaja (native of Finland) and true freshman Djibril "Penny" Thiam (native of Senegal).
FERRELL CENTER'S 19th YEAR
The Bears are in their 19th season in the beautiful Ferrell Center this year. Baylor is 7-1 at home in 2006-07 and owns a 161-114 all-time record in the arena, which opened in November 1988. The Ferrell Center is a golden-domed structure that seats 10,284 for basketball games.
EARLY 2007 SIGNEES
Baylor signed two players in the early signing period, LaceDarius Dunn of Monroe, La., and Fred Ellis of Sacramento, Calif. Dunn, a senior at Excelsior Christian School, is the highest-rated Baylor signee in recent memory. Dunn is rated the No. 18 recruit nationally by Scout.com's Dave Telep. Other national ratings include: No. 27 by Hoopmasters.com, No. 29 by HoopScoop.com and No. 33 by Rivals.com. A 6-4 shooting guard, Dunn was rated the No. 5 player at the 2006 Adidas Superstar Camp in Atlanta by USA TODAY. He is rated the nation's fifth-best shooting guard by Scout.com and the No. 7 shooting guard by Rivals.com. Dunn is a two-time, first-team all-state honoree who guided ECS to a 35-4 record as a junior in 2005-06, averaging 27.7 points, 13 rebounds and 4.2 assists. Dunn led Excelsior Christian to the Class C state title and a 47-2 record as a sophomore in 2004-05. Ellis is a senior at Sacramento High School in Sacramento, Calif. He was called the "biggest sleeper" recruit of the summer by Telep at Scout.com. A 6-7 wing, Ellis led SHS to a 29-6 overall record and an 11-1 conference mark as a junior in 2005-06. Sacramento lost in the SJS-Div. III championship game. Ellis averaged 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds. Ellis was invited to the Super 100 Basketball Camp in Berkeley last summer.
BAYLOR EARLY SIGNEES:
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Schools)
LaceDarius Dunn G 6-4 190 Fr. Monroe, La. (Excelsior Christian School)
Fred Ellis F 6-7 190 Fr. Sacramento, Calif. (Sacramento HS)
Baylor plays is third game in six days when it hosts Centenary Tuesday, Jan.2, to conclude the non-conference portion of its schedule. The game is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. CST at the Ferrell Center.