Dec. 13, 2012
WACO - Lamar University couldn't overcome Baylor's 3-point shooting and offensive rebounding Wednesday evening at the Ferrell Center as the Cardinals' second half rally came up short in an 85-68 basketball loss to the Bears.
After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the first half, Lamar (1-9) closed the half on a 12-3 run and was down just 38-31 at intermission. The Cardinals then opened the second half on an 11-4 run to tie the game at 42 all with 17 minutes to play on a Donley Minor jump shot.
The Bears (6-3) answered and grew their lead back to 10 points at 56-46 with 13:02 to play after Brady Heslip knocked down one of his three 3-pointers in the game. Baylor would finish the contest with 11 3-point field goals, including 6-of-14 shooting from long range in the second half.
Lamar showed the fight that head coach Pat Knight has been looking for and got back within three points following a Rhon Mitchell jumper that made it 58-55 with 10:18 to play. Mitchell, who followed his 21-point effort at Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday with 19 points at Baylor, scored seven of the nine points during the run.
"They (Baylor) have a lot of NBA-caliber talent but I'm really proud of these guys," said Knight about his team's effort. "If we play this way, I think we have three or four more wins. Maybe we've turned the corner and I'm really happy with the outcome tonight.
"We changed the lineup and shortened the rotation and I think from a coaching standpoint, we're starting to figure things out. I was really pleased with the way we went out and played. This is the best team we've played this year and maybe the most talented we'll play all year."
Baylor scored the next eight points to pull ahead 66-55 with 8:40 to play. Mitchell stopped the run with a layup, but Gary Franklin hit a trey and A.J. Walton added a jumper as Baylor went ahead 71-57 with 7:27 to play. Lamar, which shot 51.6 percent from the field in the second half, would draw no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Despite a noticeable size advantage, the Bears finished the game with just a 38-33 rebound advantage. However, with Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin leading the way, Baylor hauled in 17 offensive rebounds and turned them into 21 second chance points.
A night after committing 25 turnovers against the Ragin' Cajuns, Knight turned to sophomore point guard Hondo Webb to run his offense and the junior college transfer responded with five assists and two turnovers as the Cardinals would commit a respectable 14 miscues on the night.
Lamar's unselfishness led to 30 made field goals in the game with 23 coming after an assist. Minor, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half to keep the Cardinals in the game, dished out a career-high seven assists on the night.
Minor opened the scoring Wednesday night, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead 24 seconds into the contest. BU went on an 8-2 run to grab an 8-4 lead, but Minor hit one of his three 3-pointers and Mitchell added a jumper to put Lamar back on top 9-8.
Austin, who led all players with 23 points and 17 rebounds, scored the next bucket to give his Bears a 10-9 lead and they would not trail again.
The game also proved to be the coming out party for junior forward Amos Wilson. A teammate of Webb's at Collin County Community College last year, Wilson led the Cardinals with 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He would score 13 points in the second half on an array of mid-range jumpers and moves around the basket, adding five rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes.
Baylor connected on 54.1 percent of its field goal attempts in the second half and finished the game with only nine turnovers.
Senior guard Pierre Jackson poured in 21 points for Baylor, including hitting five of his 10 3-point attempts on the night. He would add five assists and two steals, while Walton chipped in with eight points and six assists.
Jefferson scored 10 points and added eight rebounds, including six offensive boards. He would add four blocked shots for the Bears.
Lamar, which is playing its first 11 games of the season on the road, will close out its current three-game trip Saturday evening at Texas-Pan American. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.