Waco, TX (Sports Network) - The 19th-ranked Baylor Bears are back in action
for the second time in three days as they contend with the Jackson State
Tigers in non-conference play at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor, which lost to eventual NCAA Tournament champion Kentucky (82-70) to
close out a 2011-12 campaign in which it delivered a 30-8 mark overall and was
tied for third in the Big 12 Conference standings with a record o 12-6, tipped
off this new season on a high note Friday by taking down Lehigh in a 99-77
As for the Tigers, members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, they are
just now kicking off their schedule after winning a total of only seven games
all of last season. A mere 5-13 in conference play, the team won non-
conference bouts versus the likes of SMU and Concordia-Selma and was just 2-16
in true road dates.
The teams matched up last season early on as well, with the Bears crushing
Jackson State in a 92-59 final at home. With the victory, Baylor now owns a
5-0 advantage in the all-time series.
The Tigers may have four returning starters from a year ago, but the proposed
starting five this time around is severely under-sized, with forward Sydney
Coleman maxing out at 6-7. Now entering his 10th season with the program, head
coach Tevester Anderson has a host of issues facing him right out of the gate,
the least of which is taking on Baylor in enemy territory. Injuries took their
toll last season as a number of top scorers missed significant playing time,
one of those being senior guard Christian Williams who is back in the starting
lineup for the opener after producing a decent 11.0 ppg a year ago. Kelsey
Howard is also ready to answer the call after he posted 14.6 ppg as one of the
more consistent performers on the roster, yet he and Williams both shot under
39 percent from the floor and that's why the entire group was down at 38.1
percent for the year.
Taking out Lehigh, an upstart squad that actually defeated Duke in the NCAA
Tournament last year, didn't appear to be too difficult for the Bears on
Friday, but the squad did suffer a blow as Isaiah Austin suffering a sprained
right ankle. Austin, considered one of the top freshmen in the nation, managed
to produce 22 points in just 17 minutes of action for Baylor, showing his
diverse ability with both a trio of dunks and a couple of three-point
conversions. Cory Jefferson had a huge outing as he recorded a double-double
with 26 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Pierre Jackson had a double-
double of his own with 14 points and 12 assists, the latter being three more
than the Mountain Hawks had total. Against one of the top players in the
nation in Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, the Bears held the star guard to 14-of-32
shooting from the floor, but still the Patriot League standout posted a game-
high 36 points.
The Sports Network