No. 4 Baylor stays perfect with win over A&M
WACO, Texas (AP) — With its highest ranking ever and already with the best start in school history, fourth-ranked Baylor opened Big 12 play accomplishing another first.
Perry Jones III had 14 points with 12 rebounds, and the Bears remained undefeated with a 61-52 victory over Texas A&M on Monday night for their first 14-game winning streak in school history.
After moving up two spots to No. 4 in the new Associated Press poll earlier Monday, the Bears (14-0) scored the first eight points of the game and lead throughout against the Aggies (9-4).
“I make sure, being the captain of the team, that we don’t pay attention to that,” senior Quincy Acy said. “It’s good to have it, but we want more. … Just make sure that we don’t pay attention to that, and we go out every night and play like we have something to lose.”
Part of Baylor’s opening spurt was Pierre Jackson’s half-court alley-oop pass to Jones for a slam dunk
“Actually, that was the first time he’s ever thrown me an alley-oop that far,” Jones said. “But you’ve got to be ready for anything when he’s on the floor.”
It was the first double-double of the season for Jones, the Big 12’s preseason player of the year. Jones, a 6-foot-11 sophomore who bypassed the chance to be a high NBA draft pick last summer, missed the first five games this season while completing a six-game NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits before he got to Baylor.
The Bears had already matched the school-record winning streak of 13 in a row set in 1946 by winning their 13 non-conference games. Baylor has won five consecutive Big 12 openers.
Acy added 13 points for Baylor, while freshman Quincy Miller had 11 points with eight rebounds in his first Big 12 game. A.J. Walton had 10 points.
This was the 204th meeting for the Texas teams from along the Brazos River. Baylor has won four in a row, but A&M still leads the series 127-77.
It was the last Big 12 matchup between the two teams in Waco with A&M’s pending move to the Southeastern Conference after this season. They play again Feb. 1 at College Station.
“Obviously like everyone else I wish they were still in the Big 12, but we’ve got a pretty good league, and there’s a reason the last four years RPI-wise the Big 12’s been the best conference in basketball,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “It’s outstanding basketball. We know the future’s very bright for the Big 12.”
Elston Turner had 21 points for the Aggies, who have lost three of its last four games. Khris Middleton had 14 points.
Turner’s 3-pointer got Texas A&M within 10 with 5 minutes left before consecutive turnovers that Baylor turned into baskets.
After Anthony Jones forced an A&M turnover, Cory Jefferson made a jumper. Jackson then had a steal that led to Walton’s baseline jumper in the front of the Baylor bench.
“I wasn’t real pleased with that play,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “He made a tough shot.”
Turner hit another 3-pointer with 2:25 left to get the Aggies within 57-48, but they never got closer.
Texas A&M made only 18 of 63 field goals (29 percent) overall, but that was actually an improvement after making only 6-of-28 (21 percent) in the first half.
There was an 8-minute stretch for Texas A&M with 10 consecutive missed shots. After Turner’s jumper with 9:39 left in the first half, when Baylor led 17-9, the Aggies didn’t make another field goal until Middleton’s 3-pointer with 1:39 left when they still trailed 28-14.
Aggies guard David Loubeau had three fouls while playing only 2 minutes in the first half, when Middleton was limited to only 10 minutes because of two early fouls.
Baylor had an 18-4 run in the first half that Jones started with a turnaround 15-footer and ended with a long jumper. The Bears had a 30-17 halftime lead, then scored the first five points of the second half.
“Defensively, I’m proud of our guys. We did a good enough job defensively,” Kennedy said. “But when you go 6-for-28 in the first half and you’ve got two of your best players on the bench not playing, it’s going to be tough.”