Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Home Road Trip Bears won’t complain over mountain of a road trip if they end up with 2-0 result

Bears won’t complain over mountain of a road trip if they end up with 2-0 result

by Staff

Welcome to life in the New Big 12, where 1,900-mile road trips are a thing.

The conference schedule-makers didn’t necessarily do Baylor any favors with the Bears’ current two-game road swing. The schedule generally does try to take time and distance into account. But when the Bears saw that they’d be following up a trip to Morgantown, West Virginia with a visit to Provo, Utah, they knew they were in for a mountain of a journey.

Hey, at least it wasn’t a Saturday-Monday turnaround.

The 11th-ranked Bears opted to spend the night in West Virginia following their 94-81 win over the Mountaineers on Saturday. Then they traveled to Utah on Sunday without a stop in Waco in between, since they’ll take on No. 25 BYU on Tuesday.

Baylor coach Scott Drew said that when his staff saw that the game against the Mountaineers was slated to tip at 6 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Central time on Saturday, it didn’t make a lot of sense to book it back to Waco.

People are also reading…

“If it had been an earlier game, maybe we would have done that,” Drew said. “With it being a later game, instead of getting back at 2 or 3 in the morning, it seems like our flights seem to be delayed. So it’s better to get a good night’s sleep and just go (to Provo).”

Baylor guard Jayden Nunn (2) defends against West Virginia guard RaeQuan Battle on Saturday in Morgantown. Nunn won Big 12 Player and Newcomer of the Week honors after averaging 23.5 points in two games last week.

Long flights always seem to attract less turbulence following a high-flying victory. Baylor (19-6 overall, 8-4 Big 12) followed up a strong home showing against Oklahoma with another well-rounded effort against West Virginia. Six players scored in double figures, and freshman Ja’Kobe Walter turned in his highest-scoring game in Big 12 play with 23 points. Over the past two games, the Bears are shooting a percolating 54.2% from the floor and 43.4% from 3-point range.

Asked if he was pleased with the offensive flow in Morgantown, Drew said, “Most definitely. I thought we had a lot of good looks. The ones we missed, normally I judge if I’m doing a good job if we’re taking good shots. That means the offense is working. I thought we had a lot of good ones. The ones we missed, to have 22 second-chance points, we did a good job of getting second-chance points.”

BYU (18-7, 6-6) is no slouch offensively itself. The Cougars rank 19th nationally in points per game (83.4) and third in assists per game (19.1). Five players average in double figures, topped by senior guard Jaxson Robinson at 13.8 points per game.

This game also marks Baylor’s first of four Big 12 rematches this season. The Bears topped the Cougars, 81-72, on Jan. 9 in Waco, behind a huge 48-point second half. Senior forward Jalen Bridges scored a season-high 25 in the BU win.

BYU Baylor Basketball

Baylor forward Josh Ojianwuna and the Bears will be seeking a season sweep of BYU.

Bridges is coming off a game where he was booed every time he touched the ball. His return to West Virginia was, not surprisingly, met with animosity from the Mountaineer crowd. But it proved successful enough for Bridges, who produced 10 points and seven rebounds in the Baylor victory.

Will Caleb Lohner face a similar reaction in Provo? Tough to say. The Baylor senior transferred to Waco in 2022 after two years and 44 career starts at BYU. This will be his first trip back, and he’s not really sure what to expect.

“Honestly, I do not know,” Lohner said. “BYU has incredible fans, an incredible fan base, but not quite sure how that’ll be approached yet, whether it’ll be signs or boos or what. But I’m hoping I left a good enough mark that I’m not getting things thrown at me. But, yeah, it’ll be a fun game.”

It’s the first trip to BYU for the Bears as Big 12 opponents. Lohner can obviously fill in his teammates on what to expect from the Marriott Center, and Drew has taken Baylor there once. But it’s been a minute, as Baylor’s last trip to Provo resulted in an 86-83 victory on Dec. 17, 2011.

“We’ve been up there. I remember it was Pierre Jackson’s year and we won at the last minute of the game, it was a great environment,” Drew said. “They do a great job of game management and production. Their students are really involved, and it’s a fun place to play. But at the end of the day, what defines a good road trip is if you walk out with a win. That’s the goal, obviously. They’re going to impact the 13 on the floor, but we have the most impact.”

Bear Facts

Baylor junior guard Jayden Nunn swept the Big 12’s Player and Newcomer of the Week awards on Monday. Nunn averaged 23.5 points on 66.7% shooting in wins over Oklahoma and West Virginia. He’s the first Baylor player to capture both the Player and Newcomer of the Week honors in the same week. … All-time, Baylor is 3-9 in games played in Utah, including 2-4 in Provo. Its last trip to Utah resulted in an NCAA second-round loss to Gonzaga, 83-71, in 2019. … The NCAA selection committee revealed its early, if-the-season-ended-today picks for the top 16 seeds in the upcoming NCAA Tournament on Saturday, and Baylor was given one of the four No. 3 seeds.

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Tourism Trends