Baylor Bears vs. Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 12th 2023


No. 20 Baylor will look for improvement on the defensive end and continue to work on its rotation and execution when it hosts Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon in Waco, Texas. The Bears (2-0) return to the court after posting a pair of wins over a 32-hour stretch against decidedly different levels of competition. On Tuesday, Baylor came from behind to beat Auburn 88-82 in a game played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in a win punctuated by 28 points from freshman guard Ja’Kobe Walters. On Thursday afternoon, the Bears beat John Brown 96-70 in the final home opener at the Ferrell Center, shaking off the quick turnaround and travel to put away the NAIA program in the second half. Langston Love tied a career-high with 20 points for the Bears in their win Thursday. RayJ Dennis added 16 points, with Jayden Nunn scoring 15, Yves Missi hitting for 10 and Josh Ojianwuna pulling down 10 rebounds. “You’re a step slow, you’ve got heavy legs,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said of the quick turnaround. “You’re a step slow to the 50-50 balls and rebounds, but then it’s all about taking care of things. I thought the second half, especially the last 10 minutes, we really did a much better job of dialing in and defensively really playing well.” Despite the fatigue factor, the Bears shot 56.2 percent from the floor but hit just 5 of its 23 attempts from 3-point range (21.7 percent). Baylor had a 43-24 rebounding edge and a 66-28 advantage in points in the paint. “In the second half, we made a point to lock down on defense,” Dennis said. “That was the focal point, and we were able to get a couple leak outs for easy baskets that made a difference.” Gardner-Webb (1-1), a member of the Big South Conference, heads to Central Texas on the heels of an 86-68 loss at No. 14 Arkansas on Friday. The Bulldogs stayed close through the first 15 minutes, trailed by a dozen at halftime then lost contract early in the second half, going down by 26 points with 4:30 to play.

Gardner-Webb then held the Razorbacks scoreless the rest of the way to build a modicum of momentum for its battle with Baylor. Caleb Robinson led the Bulldogs with 18 points against Arkansas, with Julien Soumaoro adding 15 and Cheickna Sissoko scoring 10 points in the loss. Gardner-Webb shot just 34.7 percent from the floor. “We had a good start to the game and proud of the guys for that,” Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft said. “We did a lot of good things tonight and we gotta learn from the things we did do well, and hopefully we’ll be able to take a lot of a lot of things away from this game. “The good thing was our team was together. We were we were talking about the right things throughout the game, and I thought we executed our defensive gameplan fairly well.” The Bulldogs opened the season with a 98-58 win at home over Erskine.

–Field Level Media

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