South Carolina State (3-1) at (9) Baylor (3-0)
Tuesday, November 22nd, 10:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: SCSU 3-0, Baylor 3-0. Away Record: SCSU 0-1, Baylor 0-0. Neutral Record: SCSU 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Conference Record: SCSU 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Continuing their season-opening six-game homestand, the ninth- ranked Baylor Bears welcome the South Carolina State Bulldogs to Waco for tonight's non-conference clash. This is the first meeting between the two schools in men's basketball.
South Carolina State is off to a 3-1 start to the 2011-12 campaign, winning home games against Claflin (70-53), Webber University (69-50) and Gardner-Webb (73-68), and dropping its only road date thus far at Virginia (75-38). The Bulldogs are members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and they will begin league play at home against Morgan State on January 7, 2012.
Baylor is 3-0 for the fifth straight season, posting double-digit wins over Texas Southern (77-57), Jackson State (92-59) and San Diego State (77-67). The Bears should challenge for the Big 12 Conference championship this year, as coach Scott Drew has a stellar collection of players, and the rich will get richer later this week when Perry Jones III returns from suspension.
South Carolina State is shooting just 38.4 percent from the field, which includes a horrendous 28.8 percent showing from three-point range. As a result, the Bulldogs are averaging just 62.5 ppg so it's somewhat surprising that they have won three of their first four games. However, when you consider the level of competition, you can see why. Khalif Toombs is averaging 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and he is coming off a 21-point, nine- rebound performance in SCSU's recent win over Garnder-Webb. Aaron Martin contributed 16 points and seven boards, while Presano Bell added 15 points and nine rebounds. Coach Tim Carter's club shot just 39.2 percent from the floor, missing 12 of its 17 three-point attempts along the way. A 28-8 advantage in points from the foul line, however, played an obvious role in the outcome.
Baylor boasts four double-digit scorers to this point in the season, as Quincy Miller leads the way with 18.0 ppg on the strength of his 51.4 percent shooting effort. Quincy Acy (12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Anthony Jones (11.0 ppg, 7.0 apg) and Brady Heslip (10.7 ppg) lend support for the Bears, who are netting 82.0 ppg in hitting 43.1 percent of their three-point tries. Defensively, BU is permitting just 61.0 ppg on typical shooting outputs of 34.3 percent overall and 34.4 percent from downtown. The Bears own favorable margins in both rebounding (+7.3) and turnovers (+2.3), although the latter figure comes despite the team committing 17 giveaways per outing. Miller shot 7-of-12 from the field to finish with 20 points in Baylor's recent win over San Diego State, while Heslip drained four treys en route to 16 points. Acy produced 13 points and nine rebounds, and Jones chipped in 11 points for the Bears, who connected on 46.2 percent of their total shots while holding the Aztecs to 35.6 percent. Both teams were careless with the basketball, committing 21 turnovers apiece.
Even if the Bears were to play their worst game of the season, the chances of them losing at home to these Bulldogs is minimal at best. Expect the two Quincys to once again pace BU as it keeps its perfect record in tact.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 81, South Carolina State 59
11/22 10:39:02 ET