Gathers leads Baylor past Texas Southern 75-49
WACO, Texas (AP) Rico Gathers had a career-best 23 points and 13 rebounds in leading Baylor to a 75-49 win over Texas Southern, but he wasn't entirely pleased with his 9-of-20 shooting.
''I really try to focus on my finishing,'' Gathers said. ''If I'm missing them, I can't let that get in the way of what I do best, and that's rebound. Do I stop rebounding because I miss a layup off an offensive rebound? No. I just keep going at it. It will eventually get in there.''
Lester Medford scored 13 and Taurean Prince had 11 points for Baylor (6-1), which is now 46-0 against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Gathers also had a career-high four blocked shots.
Chris Thomas scored 15 and Madarious Gibbs scored 10 for Texas Southern (1-6).
Baylor led 41-22 at the break and opened the second half on a 15-3 run that included seven points from Gathers. Medford contributed a 3 and a breakaway layup during the streak that left the Bears up 56-25 at the 16:36 mark.
Baylor held a 47-30 rebounding advantage, and the Bears had 22 offensive boards.
''With 22 offensive rebounds, you've got to score more than nine second-chance points,'' Baylor coach Scott Drew said. ''Gotta finish a lot better around the rim.''
Baylor took control of the game early. With the game tied at 4, back-to-back 3s from Medford began a 14-2 run that also included a 3 and a layup by Prince.
Texas Southern had baskets from Thomas and Deverell Biggs to pull within 18-10 with 12:03 to play, but that was as close as the Tigers could get. Baylor closed the half on an 11-6 run capped by a three-point play by Gathers with 3.4 seconds left. Tonnie Collier hit a long baseline jumper at the buzzer that the officials reviewed for several minutes before deciding that he got the shot off in time.
After trailing by as many as 31, Texas Southern cut the lead to 20 late in the game. Thomas scored five in a 12-2 run by the Tigers that left Baylor with a 62-42 lead with 8:19 remaining.
Baylor ''kind of let up a little bit. It wasn't anything that we did,'' Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said. ''They kind of relaxed a little bit. We made some baskets and they put (the starters) back in. They came back and took it back up.''
Baylor: The Bears are now 46-0 all-time against current SWAC members, including a 60-45 win over Prairie View A&M on Nov. 21.
Texas Southern: Three Tigers' starters played at other Division I schools before joining Texas Southern. Thomas was at Marshall; Biggs played at Nebraska and Nick Shepherd was at Long Beach State.
Baylor plays at Vanderbilt on Thursday for the first game between the two teams since 1985. The Commodores own a 9-1 record against the Bears and have won eight straight.
Texas Southern is at Florida on Dec. 12.
TIGER ROAD SHOW
Texas Southern plays 15 of its first 16 games on the road this season. Its lone home contest was a 71-59 win over Lamar on Nov. 28. After Monday, the Tigers play 10 consecutive road games before hosting Grambling State on Jan. 17.
DEFENSIVE AT HOME
Baylor has allowed its four opponents at home this season to average just 46 points a game. The Bears held McNeese to 39 in the first game of the year.
Texas Southern coach Mike Davis was the head coach at Indiana from 2000-06, compiling a record of 115-79. The Hoosiers lost to Maryland, 64-52, in the 2002 national championship game.
When Royce O'Neale made a 3 with 13:13 left in the game, it marked his 1,001st point in Division I basketball. He scored 665 points in two years at Denver and 270 last season as a junior at Baylor.