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Baylor Basketball

Shooting woes wakes up Baylor before running away from TAMU-CC

November 13, 2017

Despite a 70-46 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi tonight, Baylor walks away with a lot to weigh on before returning to the Ferrell Center in three days. Not only is it a stark contrast to the Bears’ 41-point win to open the season — even head coach Scott Drew called it a “tale of two games” — but this win itself is a tale of two teams.

Baylor opened the night as cold as ever, not only shooting bricks across the floor but also at the line, letting Corpus Christi hold a lead for nearly six minutes despite its own struggles at the rim. 

Free throw issues overcome by defense’s restraint

Baylor’s issues at the line stretch across most of the Scott Drew era, including his last two Sweet 16 teams. Both Elite Eight trips were helped by excellent free throw shooting which begs the question how far this team can go with a Jekyll and Hyde performance.

“When you’re not making shots, and when I say ‘You’re not making shots,’ normally you don’t go 1-for-8 from the free throw line and 0-for-8 from three. That’s like not making any shots. Normally you make some. But that’s where the defense and rebounding comes in.”

King McClure opened the night with the team’s first back-to-back missed free throws of the season to which Jo Lual-Acuil doubled down with his own two misses. It was a contagious event not only at the line but it took Baylor five minutes to score four points. Though, Corpus Christi had a cold rim too, helping keep the score in check.

Manu Lecomte voiced some frustration after the game that the team has put in tremendous time to shore up their free throw shooting, especially Lual-Acuil.

Coach Drew added he felt the team was incredibly poised despite the struggle to sink anything early as the team didn’t panic and shoot “quicker and quicker” to allow the Islanders to take too great a lead. That was also aided by virtually never sending them to the line themselves.

Baylor was 7-of-14 in the first half with foul shots. That’d normally help the visitors hold a lead but Corpus Christi was sent to the line just once in the first 20 minutes. In all, Baylor had 24 attempts to the Islander’s four shots that added just one point.

WATCH: Coach Drew talks about takeaways from Monday night

Manu Lecomte continues to be team’s backbone, feeding role players 

The team’s only true point guard wasn’t excluded from the team’s cold opening. He missed his first two three-point attempts and had an airball to open the night. But keeping a level-head, Lecomte one-upped his opening performance with 23 points. He was perfect at the line going 10-of-10.

“Thanks to Manu making free throws, that kinda changed the tide there- and threes,” Drew said. “But for a minute there- you’re never going to make everything. We gotta do a much better job of rebounding, getting second-chance points.”

Lecomte also helped produce two of the most memorable shots of the evening, both from Nuni Omot. First Omot drilled his only trey of the night after three attempts, taking the Bears on a small run to put away the game. But most importantly was the SportsCenter-worth alley-oop Lecomte sent Omot after spinning away with a steal in the closing minutes, sending Omot on his way to a 12-point performance as did Terry Maston who now has two double-doubles.

WATCH: Lecomte & Terry Maston discuss overcoming early struggles 

Turnovers held in check

Despite crossing the century mark on Friday, Baylor did struggle to hold on to the ball committing 16 turnovers. That came with an incredible number of possessions but posed some need to worry. That was one area the Bears fixed straightaway tonight, turning over just eight possessions and allowing just one steal.

“We did finally take care of the basketball,” Drew said. “So eight turnovers is tremendous, especially in a game like this in a lower possession game to have a ton of turnovers.”

Baylor’s forwards were the only players to turn it over while leading assisters Lecomte and Jake Lindsey were perfect guides. 

“Manu’s done a great job. He hasn’t forced things. He’s been very efficient,” Drew commented. “I thought Jake was tremendous. Jake was sick and didn’t practice the last two days. I told him he needs to be sick more often.”

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Shooting woes wakes up Baylor before running away from TAMU-CC

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