WACO, Texas (AP) - Even during stretches when No. 4 Baylor wasn’t at its best Wednesday night, the Bears never allowed Texas Southern to get back in the game.
The fourth-ranked Bears shot 59 percent from the field, 69 percent in the second half, and Johnathan Motley led five double-digit scorers with 17 points and 11 rebounds in an 89-63 victory that completed a perfect run through nonconference play.
“I think it was unselfish, high-percentage shots,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “And that’s part of the reason why we were able to be successful. At the same time, we really did a good job taking care of the basketball. Eight turnovers. We’re a real efficient shooting team, and defensively we’re very good. So as long as we keep the turnovers low, that gives us a chance to get shots up, gives us a chance to get our defense lined up.”
Baylor was as successful outside as in the paint with an 8-for-14 performance from 3-point range.
Kevin Scott was 7 for 8 from the field for 15 points to lead the Tigers (4-9), who have dropped eight straight. Their last win was a 67-56 decision against James Madison on Nov. 21.
“They were a good team last year, but this year they counter everything you do,” Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said. “We came out in the second half and I think at one point we were shooting 60-something percent from the field and they were shooting 75. Every time we tried to force them to do something, they made the shot.”
Jo Lual-Acuil had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor, while Manu Lecomte added 14 points and a team-best seven assists. Terry Maston and Al Freeman put in 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Baylor used an 18-1 run in the first half to take control at 25-7, and Texas Southern never got back within single digits.
“Games like that I just want to make sure everybody gets involved,” Lecomte said. “Everybody is going to play. My teammates always look for me anyway. I’m going to keep looking for them.”
Texas Southern: The Tigers have four players averaging double figures for the season in Demontrae Jefferson, Zach Lofton, Derrick Griffin and Dulani Robinson. Only Jefferson managed double figures with 10 points, but he was held scoreless in the first half and was 4 for 18 from the field.
Baylor: The Bears have played a soft schedule since a 76-61 win over then-No. 7 Xavier on Dec. 3, but they haven’t let that affect their focus. Their 21 assists and balanced scoring showed their willingness to share the ball, and their length on defense frustrated Texas Southern shooters on the perimeter to a 5-for-20 effort from beyond the arc.
“Showing film from last year’s games, it was amazing to see that Jackson State was a close game, Texas Southern a close game, Southern a closer game than what we had this year,” Drew said. “So this team has done a great job of getting a lead and then building on it, rather than getting a lead and then letting them get back into it.”
Texas Southern has 10 days off before beginning SWAC play with three games in five days. The first of those comes Jan. 2, at Alcorn State.
Baylor will open Big 12 action with its first true road game of the season Dec. 30, against Oklahoma. The Bears played three games away from home in November, when they won the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.
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