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Baylor Basketball

No. 18 Bears Find Way Past Scrappy UCF Knights, 77-69

January 31, 2024
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ORLANDO, Florida — The No. 18 Baylor Men’s Basketball team (15-5, 4-3) found a way to get back on track against the pesky, hard-nosed defense of the UCF Knights (12-8, 3-5) with a 77-69win.

Langston Loved put the Bears on his back by racking up 24 points and seven rebounds after the Knights jumped out to an early 18-8 lead in the first five minutes. 

Defensively, Scott Drew’s squad gave up very good shooting performance to UCF, who shot 54% from the field and 14-for-27 from downtown. However, they were able to force 16 turnovers and mix in zone defense to slow the Knights down at key times.

After clawing the score back to 38-32 in favor of the hosts at halftime, Baylor would play a much cleaner second half to grind out the win.

RayJ Dennis guided the green and gold offense to 45 points and only one turnover in the second period. The senior point guard would finish with 11 points and eight assists.

Jalen Bridges and Yves Missi also had solid scoring nights for the Bears with 12 and 11 points respectively. Though, Ja’Kobe Walter may have hit the most timely shot of any of the trio.

Walter knocked down a catch-and-shoot triple to extend what would eventually become a 14-2 Baylor kill-shot run. The open shot came courtesy of great ball movement from Dennis and Bridges.

Scott Drew might still have some tough love for his squad after they let a nine-point lead with under three minutes to play dwindle to just four points with 1:30 left. But after three straight agonizingly close losses, all is well that ends well.

Now the Bears will look to build off of their 45% shooting performance from deep as they come back to Waco for a Saturday showdown against the No. 12 Iowa State Cyclones (16-4, 5-2). That game is set to tip off at 7:00 PM in the Foster Pavilion.

Discussion from...

No. 18 Bears Find Way Past Scrappy UCF Knights, 77-69

1,831 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 25 days ago by bear2be2
MrGolfguy
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W
Yogi
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Feel the Love!
"Smarter than the Average Bear."
JP1037
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Big win.

UCF was winning most of the game due to a ridiculous shooting percentage from 3 point range. Some of that is poor defense on our part some of that is bad luck on our part. We all knew it was highly unlikely they would shoot at that pace all game long. If they had shot a high average percentage (say 38%) instead of 52% we beat them by 10+ with limited stress.

Outside of Love we shot 30% from 3 point range. Our inconsistency from 3 point is a concern, particularly for Walter who has struggled with his shot but I was glad to see we were attacking the paint and not settling for long misses.

We still have challenges but we are capable of beating anyone on a good night so who knows with this team.

Big_Pumpin
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Watched the 2nd half. I was very impressed with some of our offensive sets in key moments. I think that's one huge positive as of late. We've been able to get easy buckets going into half that last couple of games. That used to be a dribble until 1 second left and then Jack it up play.

bear2be2
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JP1037 said:

Big win.

UCF was winning most of the game due to a ridiculous shooting percentage from 3 point range. Some of that is poor defense on our part some of that is bad luck on our part. We all knew it was highly unlikely they would shoot at that pace all game long. If they had shot a high average percentage (say 38%) instead of 52% we beat them by 10+ with limited stress.

Outside of Love we shot 30% from 3 point range. Our inconsistency from 3 point is a concern, particularly for Walter who has struggled with his shot but I was glad to see we were attacking the paint and not settling for long misses.

We still have challenges but we are capable of beating anyone on a good night so who knows with this team.
I think one of the biggest positives -- and it bodes well for some other games down the road -- is that we scored pretty consistently against a really good UCF defense, proving that our offense (while streaky) is as good as advertised for the most part.

We can score on good defense -- UCF entered that matchup in the top 10 nationally in defensive efficiency. And that's a good thing because we're going to struggle mightily to slow good offense.
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