WACO, Texas (AP)—Baylor needed some time and a push from Henry Dugat to finally settle into being back home.
After Dugat scored eight consecutive points in just over a minute in a go-ahead run midway through the first half Saturday, the 22nd-ranked Bears finally got comfortable and went on to a 90-63 victory over Prairie View in their first home game in three weeks.
“Two things happened. Our defense was good enough that we could stay where we needed to until the offense picked up,” coach Scott Drew said. “And when Henry got hot, his teammates did a good job feeding him the ball and looking for him.”
Before Dugat’s 3-pointer with 10:36 left in the first half, Baylor was down by seven points. The Bears had made only three of their first 16 shots and missed all six 3-pointers.
After a Prairie View miss, Dugat hit another 3 and then followed a turnover with a one-handed slam to cap his 63-second outburst. That made it 19-18 and Baylor (8-1) led the rest of the way.
Dugat, who finished with 17 points, got plenty of help from fellow guards Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn.
A steal by Dunn led to Jerrells’ pass to Dugat for the run-starting 3-pointer. Jerrells then had a defensive rebound which led to the next 3-pointer, that one on an assist from Dunn. Jerrells then had a steal and passed to Dugat for the slam.
“Henry got us going,” Tweety Carter said. “We fed off that.”
The Bears made 11 of their last 14 shots before halftime, when they had a 42-28 lead, and were 28-of-48 the rest of the game. They were 15-of-25 on 3-pointers after their early long-range slump.
Dunn led Baylor with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while Carter had 17 points and Jerrells had 13 points and eight assists.
“When they got down, their team didn’t panic and got the ball to the right players,” Prairie View coach Bryon Rimm said. “They handle the ball so well. Coach Drew knows what’s going on with his guards. He lets those guys play. And they’re not a selfish team.”
Darnell Hugee, freshmen Michael Griffin and Tim Meadows had 13 points each for Prairie View.
The Panthers (3-6) had gone ahead when Griffin scored seven points in a 9-0 run. But the Panthers didn’t score again until after four turnovers in a span of five possessions and the spurt by Dugat.
During Baylor’s lethargic start, Drew didn’t even wait for the media timeout after Jacoie Shiver’s putback score that was the only basket Griffin didn’t have in Prairie View’s early run.
“The good thing is when you get an upperclassmen group, you don’t have to say much,” Drew said. “You let them take care of things themselves. Sometimes we just call timeouts to let them talk.”
Baylor had last played at home Nov. 24, having spent the last two weekends on the West Coast. The Bears were the runner-up in the 76 Classic in Anaheim over Thanksgiving weekend and won at Washington State last Saturday night.
This was the start of a seven-game homestand that will take the Bears into their Big 12 opener Jan. 10 against Texas Tech. But they won’t play again until next Saturday because they are in the middle of final exams for the fall semester.
“With finals week, coaches are always nervous,” Drew said. “You get a little more nervous from the standpoint where you’re off your routine of practicing. … Our leadership of our upperclassmen took over and they did a very good job after we got down early on in making sure that we had the energy and the focus from there on out.”
After Dugat missed a layup coming out of the break, Griffin made two free throws before Dugat’s run began.
“That was real fun,” Dugat said. “My teammates, they found me when I was open and I got some good looks.”
The only drama after halftime was if freshman Kendall Wright, who was the leading receiver on the football team, would make his basketball debut. Fans started chanting “We want Kendall” and got their wish with 3:14 left. About 2 minutes later, he hit a 3-pointer on his first shot for Baylor’s final points.
Prairie View is 0-10 against Baylor, but held the Bears to less than 100 points for the first time in the last three meetings.