WACO, Texas — Baylor used a balanced attack and a late second-half blitz to overwhelm BYU 79-64 in front of its home crowd. All five Bear starters scored in double figures, led by point guard Pierre Jackson’s team-high 16 points and nine assists.
Down 29-19 at the 7:32 mark of the first half, Baylor scored the next 12 points to go up 31-29. Tyler Haws temporarily stopped the bleeding with a bucket with 2:32 left, but the Bears roared back to score the last nine points of the half to go into the locker room up 40-31.
The 21-2 run was demoralizing for the visiting Cougars and all but decisive.
“They put a lot more pressure on us and got a couple of stops in a row,” BYU’s Brandon Davies said about the run. “We had some careless turnovers — myself included. (We) just made dumb plays ... and fed their fire.”
BYU came out aggressive and trimmed Baylor’s lead to seven a minute into the second half, but that proved as closed as the Cougars would get. The Bears responded to every challenge, kept their foot on the pedal and continued to play unselfishly.
“(Baylor) shared the ball. They were hard to guard and they were really tough on the boards,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “I think they have a really good team that will do well this season.”
The Cougars came out strong and quickly built a 19-8 lead in the first five minutes and had all the momentum before a game-changing sequence. The Bears were the beneficiary of a rare six-point play in one possession following two made free throws on an intentional foul on Craig Cusick, an Isaiah Austin layup in which he was fouled, and a Cory Jefferson put-back after Austin’s miss from the line.
“You have to recover from negative plays,” Rose said. “I think (the six-point possession) made a difference in making the crowd get into the game.”
Brandon Davies led the Cougars with 26 points and 17 rebounds despite facing off against Baylor center Isaiah Austin. The 7-foot-1 freshman used his length to force Davies into some bad shots while contributing 14 points and 10 rebounds. Six-foot-9 Baylor forward Cory Jefferson added 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Tyler Haws was effective early and finished with 13 points, but he got bogged down and sat through Baylor’s 12-0 run after picking up his second foul. Baylor’s Gary Franklin frustrated the Cougar’s leading scorer with a physical brand of defense throughout the second half.
“I felt like I got the right shots in the second half, but didn’t make them,” Haws said. “Give credit to them defensively. They hit the shots that they needed to and played hard to win.”
While Baylor was balanced, BYU struggled to find any consistency offensively beyond Haws and Davies. Nate Austin contributed six early points, but the Cougar backcourt struggled throughout before showing some life late in the game. Raul Delgado scored the BYU backcourt's lone three points in the first half and finished with seven points.
With the loss BYU falls to 8-4 on the year and will next take on Northern Arizona at home Thursday. Baylor improves to 9-3 and will travel to take on No. 14-ranked Gonzaga on Friday.
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