Gathers' record-setting performance helps Baylor earn victory

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Waco, TX ( - Rico Gathers' monster outing helped No. 21 Baylor pull away to beat NAIA Huston-Tillotson on Wednesday night.

Gathers finished with 25 points and ripped down a career-high 28 rebounds in the Bears' 81-61 win over the Rams.

Gathers set the school record as well as the Big-12 record for rebounds in a game.

"It's amazing," Baylor head coach Scott Drew said of Gathers. "I remember going into our fifth conference game, and you're looking at his conference stats and he's got 30 offensive rebounds, which is crazy."

Taurean Prince and Al Freeman added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for Baylor (14-4), which trailed for a majority of the first half before establishing itself as the dominant team over the final 20 minutes.

Shai Fields scored 21 of his 27 points in a spirited first 20 minutes for the Rams (3-14), who have dropped five straight games.

Fields opened the scoring with a 3-pointer to give the Rams an early lead, and they found themselves in a battle throughout the first half. Fields buried a pair of 3s minutes later as Huston-Tillotson built a 23-14 advantage.

Baylor ended the half on a 10-2 run to grab a 37-36 lead as Prince's 3-pointer just beat the halftime buzzer.

Fields was a big reason the Rams were in it at the break, shooting 5-for-9 from 3-point range over the first 20 minutes.

The Bears clamped down on defense out of the locker room, starting the second half on a 13-3 run. Prince scored six points during the spurt and Gathers capped it with a dunk that pushed Baylor's halftime lead to 50-39.

"Oh man, he's like a wild banshee," Rams head coach Thomas Henderson said. "He's just a monster. He's a great player. To me, I think he's a lottery pick. He can play."

The margin remained 11 when the Bears used another 13-3 run to put the game away. Austin Mills hit a pair of free throws to close the stretch and make it a 68-47 game with over nine minutes left.

Game Notes

Jerry Mallett held the record for rebounds in a game at Baylor with 27 on Feb. 1, 1955 vs. North Texas ... Michael Beasley had a 24-rebound outing at Kansas State as the previous record holder ... This game marked the first meeting between these two teams on the hardwood ... Malcolm Ballard scored 13 points with 12 rebounds in the loss ... Baylor outrebounded the Rams, 60-30.