Baylor beats Stephen F Austin 67-51

WACO, Texas (AP) Baylor coach Scott Drew said that Royce O’Neale had an ”outstanding” game.

Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood simply called the game the ”Royce O’Neale show.”

O’Neale had 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead Baylor to a 67-51 win over Stephen F. Austin on Monday night.

Taurean Prince scored 15 and Lester Medford had 12 points for Baylor (4-0).

Jared Johnson had 16 points, Thomas Walkup scored 11 and Jacob Parker scored 10 for Stephen F. Austin (1-3).

O’Neale was Underwood’s biggest worry in his trip to Waco.

”It was the one match-up coming into the game that we really challenge our guys with,” Underwood said. ”He stands for everything that’s good about college basketball in terms of his effort. There was a play in the game where he ran from one wing and got a rebound on the other side. We worked for two days doing nothing but trying to block him out.”

For his part, O’Neale was quick to credit his teammates for their play, and his coaches for the scouting report.

”We wanted to make them uncomfortable from the jump,” he said. ”We kind of knew what they were going to do. We just wanted to execute the game plan.”

Baylor used a 14-0 run late in the first half to break open a tie game. At 19-19 with 6:04 left, Prince hit a 3 to open the sequence. He later made two free throws in the run, and Rico Gathers had a free throw, offensive rebound and put-back, leaving Baylor up 33-19 with 1:16 remaining.

Earlier in the half, the teams traded 3-point baskets that left Baylor up 18-13 with 8:30 left in the first half. Baylor’s Medford fouled Johnson on another 3-point try, and Johnson made the first two free throws. After the missed third shot, Walkup grabbed the rebound, and Justin Dotson hit a 3 with 7:34 left to tie the game.

Parker scored the game’s first two baskets for Stephen F. Austin’s only lead, and Baylor responded with a 12-0 run that included back-to-back 3s from O’Neale and Medford.

Baylor led 33-21 at the half, and Stephen F. Austin never got closer than eight the rest of the game. A three-point play by Dotson got the Lumberjacks to 35-27 with 17:40 remaining.

Stephen F. Austin had been shooting 35 percent from 3-point range this season, but hit only 5-of-26 (19 percent) against Baylor.

”We did a really good job contesting them,” Drew said. ”To hold them to 19 percent, I couldn’t be more pleased with our defense from 3, and 33 (percent) for the game. That’s the big thing. After four games, our defense has been very good.”

Baylor has held its opponents to below 36 percent shooting in three of its first four games this season.

TIP-INS

Baylor: The last time these two teams played, Stephen F. Austin won, 79-57, on Nov. 25, 2003. It was Scott Drew’s second game as head coach at Baylor. The Bears finished 8-21 that year.

Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks used the same starting line-up for all 35 games last season. In 2012-13, they used the same starters for all 32 games. In four games so far this season, SFA has used two different line-ups.

UP NEXT

Baylor plays Memphis on Thursday at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Stephen F. Austin plays Prairie View A&M on Thursday at the Las Vegas Invitational.

NOVEMBER DARLINGS

Baylor is 50-9 in November games during the Scott Drew era, including a 31-4 mark since 2009-10.

THEY’RE THE NEW GUYS

Seven newcomers have accounted for 51 percent of Baylor’s scoring so far this season. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Motley is leading the newbies with 11 points a game. He scored 17 in Baylor’s 69-65 win at South Carolina on Nov. 18.

CONFERENCE DOMINATION

Stephen F. Austin was picked to win the Southland Conference by the league’s coaches and sports information directors. The Lumberjacks won the Southland regular season and tournament titles the past two seasons.

VEGAS THANKSGIVING: The game was among campus-site matchups that are part of the Las Vegas Invitational tournament. Both teams now head to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, when Baylor plays Memphis and Stephen F. Austin plays fellow Texas team Prairie View A&M, which lost at Baylor on Friday night. The Lumberjacks lost at Xavier in their first-round game.

STRONG STARTS

Baylor has started the season 4-0 for the seventh time in the last eight years.