WACO, Texas (AP) — True freshman Keyonte George scored 17 points, Adam Flagler added 13 with nine assists and seventh-ranked Baylor pulled away from McNeese State for a 89-60 victory Wednesday.
LJ Cryer had 16 points for the Bears (5-1) to follow up three consecutive 20-point games that garnered him Big 12 player of the week honors. Three days after a career-high 28 points in a win over then-No. 8 UCLA, Cryer had two 3-pointers and a jumper to push the Bears to a quick 10-2 lead.
The Bears had 30 assists on 34 made field goals while shooting 56.7 percent (34 of 60). Dale Bonner had 12 assists with seven points. Langston Love scored 11 points.
Jonathan Massie and Zach Scott each had 12 points for McNeese State (2-4). All of Scott’s scoring came on four 3-pointers.
Jalen Bridges had a slam dunk on a pass from Flagler to break the game’s last tie, putting Baylor up 21-19 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the first half. After bad pass by McNeese, George hit a 3-pointer out of a timeout.
George had an interesting stretch later in the first half that started with his bad pass to Caleb Lohner at the rim. But after McNeese missed three shots on the ensuing possession, those two Bears executed the alley-oop, with George’s precision pass to Lohner across the baseline for a powerful dunk. George then added a three-point play, a layup when being fouled before the free throw made it 35-28.
McNeese had gone ahead 14-10 after scoring 12 consecutive points. Massie and Scott each had two 3-pointers in a span of just more than two minutes. Those alternating 3s were part of five made shots in a row by McNeese before the Bears, who had missed six of seven shots in that same span, responded with a 16-3 run to lead for good.
McNeese State: The Cowboys hadn’t played a ranked team in nearly four years, since losing 90-77 at No. 22 Mississippi State on Dec. 4, 2018. Baylor, which has won all four games in the series, was the first of three Top 25 opponents they are set to face before Christmas. They play next Wednesday at No. 22 Tennessee, then go to second-ranked Houston on Dec. 21.
Baylor: While far from their crispiest game, Baylor had too much depth and talent over the full 40 minutes against McNeese. The Bears were sloppy at times coming off consecutive games against Top 25 teams in Las Vegas over the weekend. Baylor had missed seven of 10 free throws after Bridges had two misses with just under 15 minutes left when Baylor’s lead was only 45-34. They finished 9 of 17 on free throws, and only had a 33-32 rebounding edge.
McNeese State plays Monday night at UT Martin in the second of three consecutive road games. The Cowboys are playing eight of their last 10 games in the calendar year on the road.
Baylor is at Marquette on Tuesday night, three days before playing sixth-ranked Gonzaga in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and