Prince scores career-high 34, No. 23 Baylor tops NMSU 85-70
WACO, Texas (AP) Baylor's Taurean Prince scored 34 points in a win over New Mexico State for his second career high in the past five games.
What happened in between - eight points and four turnovers in a blowout loss at No. 21 Texas A&M - is something the senior forward would just as soon forget.
''What happened in College Station?'' Prince joked after leading the 23rd-ranked Bears past New Mexico State 85-70 on Wednesday night. ''My memory's not too good right there. But as far as today's game, we did pretty good.''
Lester Medford had 10 points and 12 assists and Ishmail Wainwright had a career-high 14 points as the Bears (9-2) won their 32nd consecutive non-conference home game.
Prince was 13 of 19 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and led Baylor with six rebounds. He had 21 points in the first half on his way to topping the career high of 30 he had less than three weeks ago in a 69-67 win over Vanderbilt, which was ranked at the time.
And Prince's dominant night came four days after he was held to 2-of-8 shooting in an 80-61 loss to Texas A&M.
''I wish we could do this every night,'' Baylor coach Scott Drew said. ''I think he was aggressive and kept things simple. They gave him the drive, he took the drive. They gave him the shot, he took the shot. He was decisive, didn't over-dribble. He keeps doing that, he'll be very effective.''
Pascal Siakam had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Aggies (7-6), who were facing their first nationally ranked opponent of the season.
Ian Baker added 21 points for New Mexico State, which committed 22 turnovers to just eight for Baylor and was outscored 25-6 on points off turnovers.
''I felt like we didn't give them our best effort,'' said Aggies coach Marvin Menzies, whose team has won four straight Western Athletic Conference tournament titles. ''We'll get better. We always do. We've got to come out and play these games.''
The Bears opened with an 18-2 run and led by as many as 20 before the Aggies got within seven late in the game.
Baylor led 71-56 before Baker hit two 3s and Siakam made two free throws to cut New Mexico State's deficit to 71-64 with 5:38 left in the game. Prince answered with a 3 and Rico Gathers had two free throws to get the lead back to 12.
''I thought we weren't as active defensively,'' Drew said of Baylor in the second half. ''And another thing is, maturation for a team is when you're scoring, you tend to let up on the defensive end. We've got to get to the point where we score and keep the intensity on the defensive end.''
GATHERS HELD IN CHECK
Gathers, Baylor's burly forward, reached 1,000 points for his career on a layup midway through the second half. But the team's leading scorer and rebounder was held to a season-low six points and four rebounds. It was his second straight game with less than 10 points.
The Bears head into about a weeklong holiday break with a 1-2 record against Top 25 opponents and victories over mid-major teams with recent NCAA Tournament resumes in Stephen F. Austin and New Mexico State. ''If you look at our resume, we don't have any bad losses,'' Drew said. ''We don't have any bad losses at home, and we have some good wins.''
New Mexico State: Siakam came in ranked eighth nationally at 23.6 points per game. ... Jalyn Pennie had eight points and was the only other NMSU player with more than four. ... Pennie and Matt Taylor had five assists each.
Baylor: Al Freeman was the other double-figure scorer for the Bears with 10 points. ... Baylor is one of three schools currently ranked in The Associated Press' football and basketball polls. Michigan State and Oklahoma are the others.
New Mexico State visits Wichita State on Monday.
Baylor hosts Texas Southern on Tuesday.