Jackson St.-Baylor Preview
Turnovers doomed Baylor in its first defeat. A favorable four-game stretch could give coach Scott Drew's team a good opportunity to clean things up.
The No. 20 Bears can start by trying to continue their dominance over visiting Jackson State on Friday night.
Baylor (1-1) turned the ball over eight times and shot 64.3 percent in a 97-55 win over Stephen F. Austin last Friday. Three days later, the Bears' 18 giveaways turned into 28 points for No. 25 Oregon in a 74-67 road loss.
''I was more surprised that we turned it over as much as we did,'' said Drew, whose squad also shot 39.3 percent. ''If you take away those 28 points, then you're feeling pretty good about the game, but the 28 points off turnovers is just giving the game away.
''It's like in football having four turnovers against a good team. You're not going to win, so we've got to do a better job of executing on the offensive end.''
The Bears committed 18 or more turnovers three times in 2014-15, with their season high of 21 coming in a loss to Georgia State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Drew would like to nip such problems in the bud earlier this season.
"(Oregon) exposed areas (where) have to get better," Drew said. "It will make us hungry to get better and get you ready for what you face in the conference."
Guard Al Freeman had 22 points, Johnathan Motley scored 17 and each grabbed seven rebounds.
"I think it's going to end up being a great experience for us," said Freeman, 12 of 19 from the field and 5 of 9 from 3-point range so far.
"(We can) bond and come together and get ready for our upcoming games. Our next game especially."
With four straight contests against low mid-major schools, the Bears should be able to work on those in-game trouble areas before hosting No. 17 Vanderbilt on Dec. 6.
"It's not about where we are at right now, it's about where we will be," Drew said.
Baylor has shot 54.4 percent while winning all six meetings with Jackson State (1-1) by an average of 27.8 points. Rico Gathers, with 27 points and 11 boards in two games, had 13 and 10 in a 78-47 win in the most recent meeting Nov. 11, 2012.
The Tigers also lost to Oregon, 80-52 last Friday, but bounced back with a 78-60 win at Southern Mississippi on Tuesday. After shooting 31.7 percent and going 4 of 20 from 3-point range against the Ducks, they hit 52.6 percent of their shots, including 11 of 25 attempts from beyond the arc.
Junior Javeres Brent had 22 points and went 6 of 8 on 3s after missing both of his attempts from behind the arc and not scoring against Oregon.
"Jackson State is a nice basketball team," Southern Miss coach Doc Sadler said. "They have a lot of players that are juniors and seniors that have played a lot of basketball games."
Baylor has won 25 consecutive nonconference home games against unranked opponents.