Observations From Baylor’s Sloppy Win Over South CarolinaPosted by Kory Carpenter on November 13th, 2013
If yesterday’s Baylor vs. South Carolina matinee was any indication, Big 12 fans will not enjoy the rule changes this season that have resulted in refs blowing the whistle after almost any contact on the perimeter. More fouls equals longer games, and on Big Mondays when the Big 12 game tips off two hours after the start of the ACC game, Big 12 fans might feel a little anxious. By the time West Virginia had blown a 17-point lead and lost to Virginia Tech by five on Tuesday, ESPN switched over to the Baylor game with 11:28 left in the first half. Baylor eventually outlasted the Gamecocks after a last-second foul was a tenth of a second too late and Frank Martin’s team was not provided a chance to tie the game at the free throw line. The following are some random thoughts about Baylor’s performance on Tuesday afternoon.
- There were 55 total fouls called in a game that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours. Teams should eventually adjust to the new rules, but don’t expect that to happen before Christmas if it happens this season at all.
- In true Frank Martin fashion, South Carolina attacked inside on nearly every possession and Baylor didn’t do much to stop them. Had the Gamecocks made three or four more of the dozen layups they missed (including a wide-open attempt on a fast break with under three minutes to go during a tie game), it could have been a different outcome. On a number of occasions, South Carolina grabbed the ball out of the net, made two passes and had a layup before Baylor could get anyone back on defense.
- Baylor ran its patented 1-3-1 zone on several possessions, but its effectiveness depended on which player was stationed at the top on the perimeter. When 6’6″ forward Royce O’Neale was there, the Gamecocks struggled to get the ball inside. When 5’11” guard Kenny Chery was in that spot, it resulted in two passes and a layup. Two games in, it doesn’t look like Baylor’s defense has been addressed like it needs to for the Bears to jockey into the Big 12 race.
- Isaiah Austin was (unsurprisingly) the best player on the court for either team. He moved well without the ball and finished around the rim with ease. He did, however, play only 10 minutes in the first half after picking up his third foul at around the six-minute mark. Without him, the Baylor offense struggled, scoring only six points the rest of the half. He finished with 14 points for the game.
- Brady Heslip can still shoot. He had 18 points and was 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. For someone whose success hangs in the balance of executing one specific skill, he’s about as dependable as someone can be. He is now 9-of-16 on the season from three-point range.
- Kenny Chery is no Pierre Jackson right now, but the JuCo transfer was impressive. Like Jackson, he was an honorable-mention Junior College All-American and will have two years to play at Baylor. He had nine points and three assists in this one and the early returns indicate that he’s an ideal fit in Scott Drew‘s system.
- Freshman guard Ishmail Wainwright is still struggling to score. The four-star recruit has started both games this season but is still looking for his first career points while averaging four rebounds and three assists against Colorado and South Carolina. Defense is Wainright’s calling card, but you’d like to see a bigger contribution on offense than what we’ve seen so far.
- Austin is great but he will need help from guys like Cory Jefferson and Taurean Prince if he doesn’t want to be double-teamed all season. Jefferson and Prince combined for 15 points against South Carolina, but both were both relatively quiet all game long. We don’t expect that to be the case all season.