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Baylor Basketball

No. 9 Baylor Bears Demolish Northwestern State Demons 91-40 with Demoralizing Defense

December 2, 2023

WACO, Texas — The No. 9 Baylor Men’s Basketball team (8-0) made life hell for the visiting Northwestern State Demons (1-7) with withering defense in the 91-40 victory for the Bears.

Jalen Bridges led all scorers with 16 points while gathering eight rebounds. RayJ Dennis had another efficient night notching 14 points, six assists, four rebounds and just three turnovers while shooting 5-for-10 from the field.

Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter also hit double figures with 13 and 10 points respectively, with Missi earning a double-double thanks to his 10 rebounds.

The game was practically over after five minutes when Baylor went on an 11-0 run to take an early 15-4 lead.

That lead would grow to 26 at halftime and get as large as 52 in the second half.

The Baylor defense — after spending last season hovering around No. 100 in KenPom defensive efficiency through last season and slowly lowering in rank from a top-30 start this season — came to play on Saturday afternoon. 

The Bears held Northwestern State to just 25% shooting from the field including a first half output of just 14 points.

Missi was at the core of things again, blocking four shots, but every member of the home team worked hard and did their part.

After the game, Bridges said of Missi, “He’s covered up for a lot of our mistakes on defense with his shot-blocking.”

He went on to say that Missi’s presence gives the team more confidence to turn up the pressure on defense.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew added to the commentary on his team’s defense saying “I felt, for us, this was a step forward defensively.”

The level the Bears played at against the Demons will be the standard for the green and gold to reach every night.

Coach Drew and his team know that they have not played up to that standard enough so far this season and the national champion coach noted that putting together two good halves is a key that the team is focusing on.

Elsewhere, the Bears shot just 17-for-26 from the free throw line so there is room for improvement there.

Baylor dominated the boards, outrebounding the visitors 51-22 and grabbing 14 off the offensive glass. The green and gold also shot 53% from the field today, to put the above critiques into better context.

Games like this offer opportunities to keep momentum up and focus on little details.

Now the Bears must prepare for a very tough stretch of games to close the non-conference schedule.

Seton Hall comes to Waco on Tuesday before the Bears head to Detroit for a matchup with Michigan State (Dec. 16). Then it is on to New York City for a marquee matchup with No. 7 Duke in Madison Square Garden (Dec. 20).

Lastly, the Ferrell Center Finale against Mississippi Valley State (Dec. 22) and the Foster Pavilion opener (Jan. 2) take the Bears up to Big 12 play.

“This next stretch will show us what need to get better on before Big 12 play,” said Coach Drew. 

And it should be fun for college basketball fans to watch.

The Seton Hall contest specifically will tip-off at 8 PM in Waco and will be available nationally on ESPN 2.

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No. 9 Baylor Bears Demolish Northwestern State Demons 91-40 with Demoralizing Defense

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