Ja’Kobe Walter hit for 14 points and Yves Missi added 11 and a career-high five blocks to help No. 20 Baylor to a 77-62 win over visiting Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon in Waco, Texas.
Baylor (3-0) trailed by three points with 15:21 left in the second half before rallying behind its defense and the hot hand of Rayj Dennis. Dennis had five straight points for the Bears in a 12-2 run over the ensuing six minutes to go up 57-50 with 9:02 to play. The Bulldogs missed 10 of their 11 shots in that pivotal stretch.
The Bears did not have a double-digit lead until the 7:17 mark of the second half. Baylor did not make a 3-pointer in the game, going 0 for 9; it had hit a shot from beyond the arc in 1,032 consecutive games since February 1990.
Jayden Nunn added 12 points for the Bears, with Langston Love scoring 11 and Josh Ojianwuna hitting for 10.
Gardner-Webb’s Julien Soumaoro led all scorers with 16 points while DQ Nicholas added 10 for the Bulldogs (1-2).
Hot shooting early on allowed the Bulldogs to hang with Baylor in the early going. The Bears led by as many as seven points on two occasions in the first half before Gardner-Webb rallied to take a 22-21 lead on a layup by Caleb Robinson with 6:44 to play in the first.
The teams traded the front on 10 occasions over the next five minutes before a bucket by Love allowed Baylor to retake the lead at 33-32 with 1:58 remaining. Two free throws by Love and a dunk by Missi was then countered by two technical free throws by Soumaoro.
The Bears finished the half with three free throws by Walter after a foul at the buzzer, capping an 11-2 run and producing a 40-34 lead at the break. Walter and Missi led Baylor with 9 points each while Soumaoro paced the Bulldogs, also with 9 points.
Gardner-Webb refused to relent, leapfrogging back to the top with a 7-2 run to begin the second half. A layup by Nicholas with 15:21 to play pushed the Bulldogs’ lead to three points and reasserted that Gardner-Webb was a real threat.
–Field Level Media