WACO, TX – No. 6 Baylor shook off the rust after a long break, and next goes into Big 12 play.
After missing their first six shots Monday, in their first game in 12 days, the Bears used an overwhelming run to take control and beat Jackson State 83-57 for their ninth win in a row.
“'I just had to make sure we knew that we do get points if the ball goes in the basket, but I think we figured that out," coach Scott Drew said with a smile, when asked what he told his team during the first media timeout when it was 3-3.
Jared Butler had 18 points to lead four players in double figures for Baylor (10-1), while MaCio Teague finished with 16 points and Davion Mitchell had 14. Freddie Gillespie had his fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Jackson State (3-10) had its only lead at 8-7 on a 3-pointer by Miles Daniels before Baylor went on a game-deciding 32-6 run. The Bears made 11 of 13 field goals and six different players scored at least four points in a span of less than 7 minutes.
“I think the flow was just a little off. We had to get back in our rhythm,” Butler said.
“I think a lot of guys showed that we can do it in different ways, different guys scoring,” Gillespie said. “That's the biggest thing, to get a feel for the game before we go down this 18-game journey.”
The Bears start their Big 12 round-robin schedule Saturday night at home against Texas. They then play consecutive road games against No. 22 Texas Tech and No. 3 Kansas.
"Hopefully, we are ready for the grind of the Big 12,” Drew said. “It’s great getting a big break, it’s good getting everybody back and now everyone has had a game to get back into the rhythm and routine."
Butler made two 3-pointers in the big run, including the go-ahead shot to start the spurt. He also made the alley-oop pass for a slam dunk by Mark Vital, who also had a steal and breakaway layup in that stretch.
Roland Griffin had 16 points to lead Jackson State. Tristan Jarrett, who came in as the Southwestern Athletic Conference's leading scorer at 20 points per game, finished 4-of-17 shooting and scored all 12 of his points after halftime. He was limited to 5 minutes before the break because of fouls.
“He picked up two fouls, so we sat him but tried to gamble and put him back in, and he picked up his third and he was done for the half,” Jackson State coach Wayne Brent said. “We struggled without him, but I thought our team looked a lot better once he got back in the second half."
Jackson State: The Tigers played their second game in a row against a top-10 team. They lost 77-49 at No. 9 Memphis on Dec. 21. After forcing 28 Memphis turnovers, Baylor had only 15 turnovers against JSU. ... Jackson State is 1-10 on the road.
Baylor: The Bears forced 18 turnovers, and turned those into 28 points. It was the ninth time to force at least 15 turnovers, after doing that only seven times in 34 games last season. ... Baylor is 59-1 against SWAC opponents, with a 9-0 mark against Jackson State.
Preseason All-Big 12 junior forward Tristan Clark, still recovering from knee surgery that limited him to 14 games last season, had seven points and two blocks in 19 minutes. He had played only once in the previous four games, and didn't score in 10 minutes against Arizona.
“Tristan has always been cleared, but it has been a matter of physically and mentally him being able to play and contribute," Drew said. “He did a great job over break and mentally, physically had great practices. We call it baby steps. ... We will try to make it a long-haul kind of thing where at the end of the year, hopefully, he is playing his best basketball.”
Jackson State opens SWAC play with its first two league games at home, Saturday against Alabama State and next Monday against Alabama A&M.
Baylor plays its Big 12 opener Saturday night against Texas.
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