Northwestern St.-Baylor Preview
Baylor forward Rico Gathers told his teammates they were like David going up against Goliath prior to the Bears' first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Now 16th-ranked Baylor is most certainly on the other side of that analogy.
The Bears will look to continue making positive strides and win their first seven home games for the third straight season Tuesday night against struggling Northwestern State.
After a 74-67 loss at then-No. 25 Oregon last month, the Bears (6-1) felt they gained some redemption in Sunday's 69-67 win over No. 16 Vanderbilt.
Taurean Prince rose to the occasion with a career-high 30 points while hitting 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Lester Medford had 15 points and Gathers added 10 with 13 rebounds.
Medford drilled the go-ahead 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining for Baylor, while Gathers broke Brian Skinner's school record by running his career rebounding total to 920. The senior has recorded three straight double-doubles and four in his last five games.
“(Lester, Prince and Gathers) in Oregon were disappointed in how we played,” coach Scott Drew said. “It was night and day compared with how they played (Sunday).”
Prince, averaging a team-high 16.6 points, scored 10 on 3-of-14 shooting against the Ducks. The senior forward, however, made up for that performance Sunday in front of 33 NBA scouts with his third 20-plus scoring effort over his last four games.
“Taurean can definitely get hot and he has shown it in practice,” Drew said. “The key is when you have a good team, you feed the guy that is hot, and when you are not hot, do not keep shooting it because we have other guys that can score.”
Baylor is off to a 6-0 start in Waco after opening 9-0 in 2013-14 and 8-0 last season.
After averaging 85.8 points on 49.7 percent shooting in their first six, the Bears had their second lowest point total and second worst field-goal percentage (40.0) on Sunday. They shouldn't have much trouble offensively as they go after their sixth straight win.
Northwestern State (1-6) is allowing an average of 92.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting. The Demons have been even worse lately, giving up a combined 56.9 percentage in a 119-81 loss at Auburn on Nov. 27 and a 117-78 defeat at Arkansas last Tuesday.
“You go in trying to do what you can to win the game,” coach Mike McConathy told the team's official website. “At the same time, you want to get better, day after day, and for us that means to take what we've worked on and see if we've improved.”
Zeek Woodley is averaging a team-leading 24.1 points while shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range for the Demons, whose lone win came against Division III Louisiana College.
They suffered a big loss in the season opener when Jalan West went down with a torn ACL in the final minute of a 90-76 loss at Mississippi. The senior guard had 25 points after averaging 20.0 with a nation-best 7.7 assists in 2014-15.
Northwestern State has dropped 11 straight versus ranked opponents since upsetting third-seeded Iowa in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. It took No. 12 Baylor into overtime Dec. 18, 2013, before falling 91-84 in the most recent meeting at the Ferrell Center.
- Baylor Bears
- Jalan West
- Lester Medford
- Northwestern State Demons
- Rico Gathers
- Taurean Prince
- Zeek Woodley