San Diego-Baylor Preview
Baylor's highest ranking in school history lasted only two games and one week. Playing three games in four days gives the Bears plenty of opportunities to regain their Top-10 form.
No. 15 Baylor looks to rebound from its first loss of the season Wednesday when it faces San Diego in the first game of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
The tournament, which concludes Christmas Day, will end a string of four straight games at a neutral site for Baylor (7-1), which lost 68-64 to unranked Gonzaga in Dallas on Saturday.
Leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn had 17 points for then-No. 9 Baylor, but his streak of seven straight 20-point games ended with a 4-for-13 shooting performance.
"I think they wanted it more, they came out with more intensity than us at the first of the game. We can't wait 'until the last minute to get going," said Dunn, who managed to extend another streak - consecutive games making a 3-pointer - to 22. "They came out with a chip on their shoulder, and they came out and worked harder."
Freshman center Perry Jones, who has reached double figures in seven of eight games, scored 19 points and Quincy Acy added 11. Acy started the season strong with back-to-back 20-point games, but has scored 14 or fewer in five of six since.
Being outworked hadn't been an issue until the loss to the Bulldogs, as Baylor is second in the nation in defense allowing 53.9 points per game. The 68 for Gonzaga marked the highest amount Baylor has given up this season, and the first time it had allowed more than 60 since Nov. 16.
"This is a good game for us to learn from," coach Scott Drew said.
The Bears haven't been tested much in the early part of the season. Arizona State, which Baylor beat 68-54 on Dec. 2, is the only major-conference opponent the Bears have faced, but the Sun Devils are a mediocre 5-4. Baylor's victories have come by an average of 21.7 points.
San Diego (2-8) doesn't figure to be much of a challenge, either, with its two victories coming against Division III opponents Occidental and La Verne. The Toreros faced No. 7 San Diego State on Dec. 11, but got blown out 77-49.
Darian Norris and Kevin Rancifer each scored 14 points Dec. 13 in the 82-57 victory against La Verne, which snapped San Diego's eight-game losing streak. Norris (11.0) and Rancifer (10.8) are the only players averaging in double figures for a team averaging 61.3 points against Division I competition.
This is the first meeting between the schools. The winner will face either Mississippi State or Washington State in the second round Thursday night, with the losers meeting in the consolation bracket earlier in the day.