LJ Cryer, Baylor basketball

Baylor basketball gets a key non-conference win; their first against a Power Six opponent.

Baylor basketball began the second half on a 26-3 run to propel them over the Cardinal in a 86-48 win. They forced 22 Stanford turnovers, with 16 steals. The Bears outgained Stanford 52-20 in the second half and shot 60% in the final 20 minutes.

With junior guard Adam Flagler out with an injury, sophomore guard LJ Cryer got his first start of his collegiate career, and finished with a game-high 21 points on 8-12 shooting from the field.

Cryer had two double-figure games last season but has now recorded 13+ in all four games, including three 20-point outings.

Cryer said he focused on his on and off-ball shooting during the off-season to improve his game. “I had to put myself in a great position to be able to succeed,” Cryer said.

Baylor had four players score in double-figures, including Cryer, alongside Freshman forward Kendall Brown dumped in 15, while senior guard James Akinjo had 11 points and 11 assists.

The Bears shot 55% from the field and 38.5% from beyond the arc.

Takeaway #1 – The defense played up to its potential in the second half

After giving up 11 field goals and 52.3% from the field, Baylor’s defense suffocated Stanford. The Cardinal made just 29% of their shots and cashed in on seven made field goals, compared to Baylor’s 18.

Akinjo led Baylor basketball in steals with four, while six players had two or more steals on the afternoon.

Although the expectation for this team shouldn’t be to be the best defense in the country but what the Bears displayed on Saturday shows they are capable of being the best defense in the Big 12.

Takeaway #2 – This team has depth and played well, even without Flagler

Without Flagler, the question was if players like freshman forward Jeremy Sochan and junior guard Dale Bonner could step up and produce. They combined for 18 points and were Baylor’s best free-throw shooters, combined to go 6-8 from the foul line.

Junior forward Johnathon Tchamwa-Tchatchoua added nine points and seven rebounds while making all four of his shots. Every day Jon defined his role on last year’s team as being rangy on the defensive end and pick-and-roll lob threat on the offensive end. He showed that once again on Saturday, during the Bears’ second-half run.

Takeaway #3 – Dale Bonner’s defense has adjusted to the D1 level, offense is a work in progress.

Bonner transferred in the off-season from D-II Fairmont State University, where he put up astronomical numbers in his two years with the program. Although Bonner has not had the biggest stat lines, the transfer is getting comfortable with consistent D-1 basketball play.

“He’s a 40% three-point shooter and I think that’ll come the more he can choose to use to play it out there,” head coach Scott Drew said.

Bonner is shooting 2-12 from the field in the early season but has performed well on defense and with more playing time and filling in his role, can find a consistent shot.

Baylor basketball will travel to the Bahamas to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis. the first game will be on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2 against Arizona State.

 

Featured image from 247Sports

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