WACO, Texas – If there was ever a game for No. 4 Baylor’s depth to show, it was Sunday against an overmatched NAIA school in John Brown.
All 11 Bears who played scored at least one basket, and Johnathan Motley had 20 points and nine rebounds in a 107-53 victory.
“Everybody just looks forward to playing basketball like I do, so it was just another game to have fun,” Motley said. “The best part of the season is playing games, so we just tried to have as much fun as possible.”
No Bear had as much fun as Motley, who also added a team-best and career-high five assists. One of those came when he had a breakaway, but passed it off the backboard to teammate Jo Lual-Acuil for a dunk that brought the crowd of 5,045 to its feet.
Baylor (11-0) shot 59 percent from the floor, including an 11 for 21 clip from 3-point range, dominated on the boards by a 51-15 margin and forced 18 turnovers that turned into 19 points on the other end.
“John Brown is a different level, but I think most of the older people remember Virginia-Chaminade,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Each and every year you have non-Division I teams that get upsets. The first year we were in the NCAA tournament, we were upset in an exhibition by Tarleton State. That stuff happens. You have to be on point every game.”
Al Freeman added 16 points for Baylor, Jo Lual-Acuil and Wendell Mitchell had 11 apiece, and Terry Maston finished with 10. Nobody played more than 21 minutes, but 10 Bears logged at least 17.
Josh Bowling led the Golden Eagles (9-5) with 14 points. They have dropped two straight, both against Division I opponents. The Golden Eagles fell to Oral Roberts on Dec. 10.
“We were just thankful for the opportunity today,” John Brown coach Jason Beschta said. “You don’t come in resigned that you’re going to get smashed. You come in and we want to compete and get better in a game like this. But it is exciting for a small school to be able to come into this kind of environment.”
John Brown: Getting the ball inside proved to be a chore against the size and athleticism of Baylor’s front line, but the Golden Eagles had some success from deep with six 3-pointers in the first half and nine overall. They also struggled to a 2 for 12 night at the free throw line.
Baylor: The Bears were playing their second game in as many days and seemed disinterested early against the overmatched Golden Eagles. But they picked up their intensity as the game went on, highlighted by an emphatic roar from Motley after a second-half dunk.
Baylor should be secure in its No. 4 spot when the new poll comes out Monday, but could be in jeopardy of falling should No. 6 Kentucky put up an impressive showing on the road against No. 11 Louisville on Wednesday.
John Brown will take the rest of the month off to gear up for conference play, which begins when it hosts Southwestern Christian on Jan. 5.
Baylor will complete its run of three games in five days and its nonconference slate by hosting Texas Southern on Wednesday night.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.