Waco, Texas • BYU and Baylor have played each other only nine times, but they battled with the fervor and physicality of longtime rivals Friday night.
Rebounds were ferociously fought for, bodies constantly hit the floor on fouls and loose balls, and both teams were called for flagrant fouls in the first eight minutes.
Once Baylor got the game into the up-tempo style it prefers and its shooters found daylight, BYU couldn’t keep up, falling 79-64 at the Ferrell Center.
Five Bears scored in double figures, led by Pierre Jackson’s 16 points and nine assists, and Baylor closed the first half on a 21-2 run to turn a 29-19 deficit into 40-31 lead and cruise from there.
“I thought we had a good game plan,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “I thought the guys were really prepared. In the first 10 minutes, we executed well. We got the ball to the basket, and we scored. We missed a couple shots, and they made a couple and got rolling, and we were never the same after that. I give all the credit to coach [Scott] Drew and his team. They played great the last 25 minutes.”
Cory Jefferson helped Baylor inside with 13 points and 16 rebounds, and Isaiah Austin also posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but it was from the perimeter that the Bears did the most damage.
Brandon Davies had a huge night and tried to keep the Cougars competitive with game highs of 26 points and 17 rebounds, but he didn’t get enough help. Tyler Haws chipped in with 13 points, but no other Cougar had more than four rebounds.
“They battled us all game long,” Davies said. “They started putting a lot more pressure on us. They came out of a timeout and got a couple stops. We came out with a couple of turnovers, and they picked it up on defense. I missed some easy shots, and they definitely took us out of our comfort zone with their defensive effort.”
BYU started the second half with a Nate Austin basket, but Brady Heslip responded with a 3-pointer on the other end to give Baylor its first double-digit lead of the night, 43-33.
Davies scored BYU’s next eight points, but the Cougars couldn’t offset the 17 the Bears put in over that span, and back-to-back alley-oops from A.J. Walton to Isaiah Austin handed Baylor a 20-point lead at 65-45 with exactly 12 minutes remaining.
Walton drilled a 3 nearly two minutes later to push the Bears’ advantage to 68-45, their largest of the night.
BYU made one last push, a 9-0 surge that was highlighted by a pair of close-in buckets by Matt Carlino. That forced a Baylor timeout with 7:27 left to play, but the Bears answered with a driving layup and a pair of free throws from Jackson to finish any hopes of a BYU comeback.
The Cougars dominated the game in the paint and were a step quicker to loose balls early.
After an Isaiah Austin dunk 15 seconds into the game, Baylor turned the ball over on three straight possessions while BYU’s offense started strong.
The Cougars scored on their first four times with the ball, thanks in large part to movement that gave them easy shots to work with.
Baylor’s Rico Gathers was hit with a flagrant foul at the 14:52 mark after he accidentally popped Davies in the face while battling for a rebound, but BYU was called for one of its own when Craig Cusick tried to clear space on the perimeter and hit Gary Mason in the face with 12:21 on the clock.
That seemed to wake Baylor up, as it scored the next six points in 15 seconds, but the Cougars still managed to keep the lead between five and 10 before Baylor’s decisive run to end the first half.
O BYU leads 29-19 before Baylor goes on a 21-2 run to end the first half.
• BYU’s Brandon Davies finishes with game highs of 26 points and 17 rebounds.
• Baylor makes nine of its 18 3-point attempts.
Baylor 79, BYU 64
BYU (8-4) • Davies 7-19 11-15 26, Austin 4-6 0-0 8, Cusick 0-3 0-0 0, Haws 6-14 1-1 13, Carlino 4-9 0-0 8, Delgado 2-5 2-2 7, Ambrosino 0-2 0-0 0, Sharp 0-0 0-0 0, Zylstra 1-1 0-0 2, Winder 0-1 0-0 0, Calvert 0-2 0-0 0, Harward 0-0 0-0 0. Totals • 24-62 14-18 64.
BAYLOR (8-3) • Jefferson 5-10 3-5 13, Austin 5-15 3-5 14, Heslip 4-7 0-0 11, Walton 4-6 0-0 10, Jackson 4-11 7-10 16, Rose 0-1 0-0 0, Gathers 3-6 1-3 7, Franklin 2-3 2-2 8, Bello 0-1 0-0 0, Lowery 0-0 0-0 0, Neubert 0-0 0-0 0, Prince 0-0 0-0 0. Totals • 27-60 16-25 79. Halftime—Baylor 40-31. 3-Point Goals—BYU 2-12 (Davies 1-2, Delgado 1-2, Calvert 0-1, Ambrosino 0-1, Haws 0-2, Cusick 0-2, Carlino 0-2), Baylor 9-18 (Heslip 3-5, Walton 2-3, Franklin 2-3, Jackson 1-3, Austin 1-3, Rose 0-1). Fouled Out—Austin. Rebounds—BYU 40 (Davies 17), Baylor 42 (Jefferson 16). Assists—BYU 11 (Davies, Haws 3), Baylor 19 (Jackson 9). Total Fouls—BYU 22, Baylor 15. A—7,239.