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Baylor Basketball

Bears finds more depth to cruise past Sam Houston State

December 4, 2017

After a two-game skid, the No. 23 Bears are back on track with a 84-56 win over Sam Houston State. While against a team hardly in the same conversation as Wichita State or Xavier, it’s a crucial win to prevent a downfall before heading into Big 12 competition.

Finding a way to move the ball again

After the hot start the Bears got against Central Arkansas on the wings of 29 assists, Baylor hasn’t been half as successful moving the rock. Monday night was a rebound for the team, getting 18 assists and it wasn't just Manu Lecomte dishes, either.

Perhaps the most important figure in that regard was Tyson Jolly who in 17 minutes had four assists. He played in just three minutes in his season debut against Wichita State and only had a turnover to his name. Monday’s performance was a building block to prove his worth when Baylor plays small ball or subs out Lecomte.

Jolly hasn’t proven himself a scorer yet, but along with Mark Vital’s continued rise with four assists as well, there wasn’t a shortage of shooting. Led by four treys from Lecomte, the team shot its best around the arc since the win against Wisconsin largely thanks to the movement created by this rejuvenated offense.

More than just perimeter shooting, the team was revived in the paint as well. Tristan Clark bounced back withe 14 points despite shooting 2-of-7 at the foul line. It was perhaps his most impressive performance. He held a team high +/- of 39 points largely thanks to his inside shooting freed up by tighter overall passing.

Staying out of turnover trouble

One of the more disappointing parts of the season has been Baylor’s inability to win the turnover game effectively. The Bears rank outside the top 300 in forced turnovers in total and per possession. Against Sam Houston, that stat line isn’t going to improve after forcing just 14 TOs. Thank Jake Lindsey’s defensive performance for good chunk of that, though.

If the takeaway rate can’t be improved, Baylor’s turnover rate needs to be even smaller. With just eight turnovers for a rate of 11 percent, Baylor did just that and saw the game quickly grow in its favor, going on four runs of 6-0 or better.

Keeping their hands to themselves

Controlling the game from start to finish was certainly a symptom that limited personal fouls but this is one of the most restrained outings of the year from the Bears. They committed just 12 fouls, equally split among halves.

The only player near foul trouble was Jolly with three PFs. That’s a tad concerning considering his limited court time but Baylor. But in contrast to Saturday’s loss to Wichita State in which Clark and Jo Lual-Acuil had ease up after racking up fouls, that’s a success and allowed for much freer performances.

Now the question remains if this same mentality and efficiency can be applied to tougher games down the road.

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Bears finds more depth to cruise past Sam Houston State

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