Pierre Jackson's veteran leadership surely will be a plus for Baylor as the season goes on, but his younger teammates are proving the Big 12 preseason player of the year has plenty of help.
Boston College's youth doesn't have that same luxury.The 16th-ranked Bears faced the seemingly overmatched Golden Eagles in the opening round of the Charleston Classic in South Carolina on Thursday afternoon.Jackson shoulders much of the responsibility as a senior for Baylor (2-0), scoring a game-high 25 points in Sunday's 78-47 rout of Jackson State after netting 14 in a season-opening win over Lehigh on Friday.He's received plenty of help, though, from junior Cory Jefferson and freshmen Rico Gathers, Taurean Prince and Isaiah Austin. Jefferson scored a game-high 26 points and Austin added 22 in Friday's victory, though Austin sprained his right ankle and missed Sunday's contest.Jefferson scored 14 points while Gathers and Prince added 13 each to help make up for the 7-foot-1 center's absence."Cory is somebody that we expect a lot of. He's been here for a while. He's learned from some outstanding players," coach Scott Drew said. "It's his turn to lead now. He's doing it by example."Jackson knows the Bears haven't played their best basketball yet, but he's been impressed with the team so far."It's going great. I still think we have a lot to improve on. We can be a lot better, but right now we're playing good," Jackson said. "We're all clicking."Jackson's presence makes a considerable impact on the younger players, especially Gathers."I feel like I'm playing with the best guards in the nation," Gathers said. "That was one of my main reasons for wanting to come here and play for Baylor. I knew they had a fire point guard. It's a blessing."Gathers made his first start Sunday and may be in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future depending on Austin's status."He's rehabbing hard. We're hoping for Charleston, obviously, but still too early to know for sure," Drew said. "It's a sprained ankle. I can handle those easy terms. They did some x-rays, just precautionary, so that's good."Baylor seems to hold a considerable edge with or without Austin facing a Boston College team picked to finish last in the 12-team ACC.The Golden Eagles struggled at times in Sunday's season-opening 84-70 win over Florida International, but got 29 points and 17 rebounds from sophomore Ryan Anderson.Boston College's roster features one junior and one senior, and third-year coach Steve Donahue's starting lineup is comprised entirely of freshmen and sophomores.The Eagles are coming off a 9-22 season -- their worst since finishing 6-21 in 1998-99 -- and have lost 10 of their last 11 contests against AP Top 25 teams.Boston College also has dropped six straight and 13 of its last 15 neutral-site games versus ranked opponents.Each team will face either Colorado or Dayton in its second contest of the tournament, with the winners and losers of each game matching up Friday.This is the first meeting between the teams.