Baylor has proven just how hard it has worked on defense since last season, but it still has enough on offense to blow out Prairie View A&M yet again.
Coming off another outstanding defensive game, the 22nd-ranked Bears look to continue their dominance of the Panthers as the teams meet Saturday.Baylor went 21-11 last season but struggled on defense, particularly down the stretch. After winning 16 of their first 18 games, the Bears gave up 82.5 points per game en route to losing nine of their last 14 contests.Now, Baylor (7-1) has its highest ranking since it was No. 19 on Feb. 11, 1969, and it's due in large part to a stifling defense. The Bears are holding opponents to 61.1 points a contest and 36.8 percent shooting.Baylor held Washington State to 37.8 percent in a 58-52 win on Saturday night."We worked very hard on defense from a year ago," Bears coach Scott Drew said. "We are a greatly improved team."Baylor beat Washington State at its own game, slowing down the tempo and making the Cougars struggle for every basket."Our goal is to control tempo and slow it down," Drew said.The Bears, though, can certainly put up big numbers on offense, averaging 81.3 points. They averaged 99.0 points in their first two games, and shot 51.0 percent in an 87-78 win over then-No. 14 Arizona State on Nov. 28.Baylor has four players who are averaging double figures in scoring. That's bad news for a Panthers team that has not been competitive with the Bears, dropping the last two games against them by an average of 39.5 points and losing all nine games in the all-time series.Baylor has scored over 100 points in each of its last two games against Prairie View A&M (3-5), including a 108-71 victory on Dec. 29, 2007. In the last three meetings between these teams, the Bears are shooting 60.7 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from 3-point range.Against Washington State, Baylor had its lowest-scoring game of the season due to the grind-it-out nature of the game, but managed to have four players score in double figures. LaceDarius Dunn led the Bears with 14 points, Curtis Jerrells had 13, and Henry Dugat and Tweety Carter had 12 each.Dunn tops the team in scoring with 16.8 points per game, while adding 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals. The sophomore is joined in the backcourt by Jerrells, who averages 16.3 points and 5.5 assists.Jerrells, a senior, is shooting 88.5 percent (23-for-26) from the free-throw line in his last three games.After making 65.1 percent (56-of-86) of their shots from the line in their first three games, the Bears have made 72.5 percent (95-of-131) of their attempts in the last five.The Panthers are making 64.2 percent of their free throws, but went 12-for-20 (60.0 percent) from the line in a 78-70 loss to Hawaii on Dec. 1.Prairie View A&M is led by junior forward Darnell Hugee, who averages 14.9 points and 8.4 rebounds.