When nonconference games against opponents from the Atlantic 10 are scheduled in between top 10 Big 12 games, coaches always have to worry about a let down. Fortunately for Baylor head coach Scott Drew, the Bears were ready to play Saturday, defeating UMass 71-45.
The Bears were led by two upperclassmen, senior Tweety Carter and junior Ekpe Udoh, who both put up 23 points to pace the Bears.
Udoh, who had probably his first off game of the season against Kansas on Wednesday, came back with a strong effort against the smaller UMass team. Udoh controlled the glass with 7 rebounds, 4 of which were offensive, and routinely denied UMass interior players collecting 7 blocks.
Meanwhile, a man not normally known for his rebounding numbers was also busy on the glass - that man being Tweety Carter. Carter also grabbed 7 boards, in addition to handing out 3 assists and gathering 2 steals.
The only other Baylor Bear in double figures was LaceDarius Dunn, who provided 15 points and 2 assists.
On a night when the Bears played some of their best defense of the year, holding UMass to 24% shooting, they were actually outrebounded for the first time this season. Not winning the rebounding battle was probably the only thing the Bears did not do well, as they took the lead for good 5 minutes into the game.
It's back to the Big 12 next for Baylor, as they face another top 10 team from Kansas. This time its Kansas State and in the friendly confines of the Ferrell Center in Waco. The Bears could really use a win over a highly ranked team like Kansas State, not only to help their place in the Big 12 standings, but also to help build their NCAA Tournament resume.