WACO, Texas -- Baylor took full advantage of a break from a brutal stretch of Big 12 games against Top 10 opponents, making a little history while easing coach Scott Drew's concerns.
Ekpe Udoh and Tweety Carter both scored 23 points to lead Baylor (NR ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) to a 71-45 victory over Massachusetts, giving the Bears (15-3) their school-record 11th consecutive home victory. It was also their 13th non-conference win, their most since winning 14 during the 1945-46 season.
"Any coach would be concerned with a game in between three ranked opponents," Drew said.
But three days after a tough 81-75 loss at No. 3 Kansas, the Bears dominated in their final non-conference game and extended the winning streak at the Ferrell Center that stretches back to last season's NIT.
Next up are games Tuesday night at home against Kansas State (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) and Saturday at No. 1 Texas, though the Longhorns are going to fall out of the top spot after losing to the Wildcats and Connecticut this week. K-State followed up being the first team to beat Texas by losing at home Saturday against Oklahoma State.
Still, both are going to be much tougher than a youthful UMass (7-12) team from the Atlantic 10, whose only advantage Saturday was keeping it close early and becoming the first time this season to outrebound Baylor.
"It will give us something to focus on going into Kansas State," said Drew, whose team came in the national leader in rebound margin.
"We all know that's what they do, they crash the boards," Udoh said. "That's something we've got to get right. Come out slow against that [Kansas State coach] Frank Martin team, you could be looking at a 15-point deficit early. You've got to come out strong."
LaceDarius Dunn added 15 points for the Bears, though he fell short of becoming the first Baylor player in 12 seasons to have five consecutive 20-point games. Udoh also had seven blocks and was 13-of-14 on free throws, missing only his final one with 2 1/2 minutes left.
Dunn had a steal and passed to Udoh for a breakaway layup just before halftime, when Baylor led 36-20.
"Their length and their size bothered us," UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. "At times our inexperience came into play. ... We didn't make a lot of the plays you have to make to stay in the game. It's not like we got [Baylor] early when they're not clicking yet."
While finishing with a 42-33 rebounding margin, the Minutemen were able to convert 22 offensive rebounds into only six second-chance points. Hashim Bailey had 11 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive end, and was scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting and 0-of-3 free throws.
Baylor went ahead to stay when Quincy Acy had a breakaway slam 5 minutes into the game to break a 9-9 tie. That also started a 12-0 run, which included a 5-minute scoring drought between Carter making two free throws and hitting a 3-pointer. Dunn's 3-pointer made it 21-9 with 7:45 left in the first half.
The Minutemen, now 30-70 against Top 25 teams, scored the first six points after halftime. They were within 34-26 after Sampson Carter hit a 3-pointer and Harris made a basket and then hit the free throw.
"We just didn't want to give up," Harris said. "We just kept playing hard. "
But Tweety Carter squelched the UMass spurt when he drove for a short baseline jumper. By time he hit a 3-pointer a few minutes later, the Bears had scored 11 points in a row and stretched their lead back to 19.
"Good teams don't need a coach to tell them what to do [after the UMass spurt]. That's on them, and they responded well," Drew said. "Take that punch, are you going to take another one or come back? We went on that run and after that we were on our way."