No. 2 Baylor will return to the court for the first time in eight days as it steps away from Big 12 Conference action to host Central Arkansas on Tuesday afternoon at Waco, Texas.
Baylor's schedule has been sporadic at best over the early portion of the 2020-21 campaign; Tuesday's matchup will be just its third game since Dec. 9 and will be the first of contests on back-to-back days. It also starts a run of three games in five days.
Baylor plays host to Alcorn State on Wednesday before returning to conference play with a road game at Iowa State on Saturday.
Baylor (6-0) rolled past Arkansas-Pine Bluff 99-42 in its most recent outing on Dec. 21, two days after it walloped Kansas State 100-69 in its conference opener. Baylor led by as many as 43 points in the first half in its win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
"You want to make sure your guys haven't mentally left, and the upperclassmen made sure we were locked-in and ready from the jump," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a team that likes to control tempo. Us getting separation made them play faster, which obviously favored us. I was very impressed how the guys got off to a great start."
Freshman LJ Cryer paced Baylor with 15 points in the win, hitting four of his six 3-point attempts. Jared Butler added 14 points, MaCio Teague hit for 13, Matthew Mayer poured in 12 and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua recorded 10 points and eight boards.
Baylor's reserves outscored Arkansas-Pine Bluff's bench 55-0 in the victory.
"We have the best starters in the country," Cryer said. "We go against them every day in practice, and it's only going to make us better. When we come into the game, we're really confident, because we feel we go up against the best every day."
With two games in two days, and the specter of COVID-19 playing havoc with game scheduling and player availability, Baylor's depth will be a factor over the coming week.
Central Arkansas (1-6) also has enjoyed an extended break, with Tuesday's dustup with Baylor its first game since Dec. 19. The team, for the most part, has been fodder for high major programs, losing its first six games of the year -- all on the road -- to the likes of Memphis, Saint Louis, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State.
Central Arkansas finally played at home on Dec. 19, and took out its frustrations on Champion Christian, a team that competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association. Central Arkansas won 92-28 after leading 50-11 at halftime on the heels of a 46-6 run to end the first half.
"The guys came out pretty focused," Central Arkansas coach Anthony Boone said. "We just want to keep getting better. And even going to play Baylor, we're not necessarily playing against Baylor. We're trying to play to our standard, and that's what we're going to focus on. It's doing what we do, being who we are, playing the way we play."
--Field Level Media