Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Seeking their 10th straight home win, the 12th- ranked Baylor Bears welcome the Southern University Jaguars to the Ferrell Center for Sunday's non-conference matchup.
Southern comes into the contest sporting a poor 3-8 record, the team having lost three of its last four. The Jaguars fell at top-ranked Arizona last Thursday, 69-43, dropping their record in true road games to just 1-6. Southern will play Champion Baptist College a week from Monday as its last tune-up before embarking on its Southwestern Athletic Conference slate at Prairie View A&M on Jan. 4.
Baylor has been nearly perfect this season, winning nine of its first 10 games. The team's only setback took place in the championship game of the Maui Invitational as it dropped a 74-67 decision to Syracuse. Since then, the Bears have bounced back to claim victory in three straight, the most recent of which coming in a 91-84 overtime home verdict against Northwestern State this past Wednesday. BU has two rather soft games remaining (Oral Roberts, Savannah State) before opening its Big 12 Conference schedule at Iowa State on Jan. 7.
Baylor is 5-0 all-time versus Southern, posting an average margin of victory of 19.4 ppg. The last meeting took place in 2009.
Southern's biggest problem this season has been its inability to keep the opposition from matching its effort, and exceeding it in most cases. The Jaguars are putting up 70.5 ppg, but are yielding 71.5 ppg. The team is hitting its field goal at a 43.2 percent clip, and has actually held its foes below that at just 39.6 percent. Southern really needs to work on its free- throw shooting, as it converts only 58 percent of its chance, and the Jags are in the red in both rebounding (-1.8) and turnover (-1.9) margins. Yondarius Johnson paces the team with his 12.6 ppg, while Calvin Godfrey is next at 12.4 ppg, and Tre Lynch chips in 10.1 ppg. Godfrey is grabbing a club-best 7.9 rpg, and Christopher Hyder hands out 4.1 apg. Southern couldn't do anything right in its recent loss to No. 1 Arizona, shooting a paltry 34 percent from the floor, which included a 5-of-21 showing from beyond the arc. A pitiful 4-of-15 effort at the charity stripe also played an key role, as the Wildcats scored 22 points at the line, despite missing 15 attempts themselves.
Riding the coattails of three double-digit scorers and an offense that is both efficient and potent has Baylor in the favorable position it is in at the moment. The Bears are netting 78.3 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of 50 percent overall and 42.9 percent from 3-point land. Cory Jefferson paces the group with 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, while Kenny Chery contributes 12.4 points and 5.4 assists per outing. Brady Heslip comes off the bench to chip in 11.1 ppg behind a club-best 28 3-pointers. In the tougher- than-expected win over Northwestern State, Baylor shot 50.8 percent from the field, hitting 8-of-17 long-range bombs along the way. Jefferson finished with a line of 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Chery tallied 20 points and 10 assists for his own double-double. Rico Gathers had one as well with 19 points and 10 boards, and Gary Franklin had 11 points in hitting 3- of-5 from downtown. The Demons shot 49.3 percent from the field, and narrowly won the rebounding battle (38-36).