Baylor coach Scott Drew didn’t have to sweat out his 300th career win Friday night.
With Jo Lual-Acuil and Tristan Clark dominating inside and Manu Lecomte and King McClure hitting from long range, the No. 25 Bears romped to a 78-61 win over Alcorn State at the Ferrell Center.
The win gave Drew a 300-191 record in 16 seasons as a head coach. He’s recorded a 280-180 record in the 15 years at Baylor after going 20-11 in his lone season as Valparaiso’s head coach.
“That’s a huge deal,” McClure said. “Coach Drew deserves it. I feel he’s the most underrated coach in college basketball. He has 300 wins. That’s big time. I’m proud of him, happy for him. Just looking forward to getting him more wins this year.”
The Bears improved to 3-0 as they hit the road in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City. Baylor will face Wisconsin at 8:30 p.m. Monday, and will face either UCLA or Creighton on Tuesday.
Lual-Acuil finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds while Clark showed why he’s so highly regarded as a freshman as he collected 12 points and nine rebounds.
“My role is to just go out there and learn how to play hard,” Clark said. “I’m still getting used to the college game and playing hard every possession. I’m still 18, so I’m still a high-schooler in my eyes. I’m young, so I’m still getting stronger and I’m still getting bigger, but I’m learning each and every game.”
With Terry Maston adding nine rebounds, the Bears dominated the boards by a 49-27 margin. The Bears shot just 42.9 percent overall and 25 percent from 3-point range, but their size was too much for Alcorn State (0-4).
“I thought for the first 12 to 13 minutes we were really good, and then after that we weren’t as efficient,” Drew said. “The bright spot was rebounding, whenever you can outrebound someone 49-27 and 18-5 on the offensive boards, and 15-4 second chance points. It was great to see Jo (Lual-Acuil) really high point balls and rebound better than he did against (Texas A&M) Corpus Christi, so that was a positive.”
Lecomte buried three of 11 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points with five assists. McClure nailed two of four treys and scored 13 points, and Jake Lindsey scored eight points and contributed five assists with no turnovers. The Bears committed just 10 turnovers while dishing out 17 assists.
“Jake’s somebody who is capable of playing good defense, he enjoys and embraces that role,” Drew said. “I thought he gave us good energy in the second half especially. When he came in, he did a good job moving the ball and picking up the tempo a little for us.”
Lual-Acuil set the tone early by scoring Baylor’s first two baskets in the paint before McClure drilled the first 3-pointer. Lecomte followed with a 3-pointer to start an 11-0 run. Lecomte scored on a reverse layup before Clark sliced inside for a putback, Mark Vital got loose for a dunk and Maston sliced inside for a point blank basket.
Lecomte stayed hot as he drilled another 3-pointer. Then the point guard threaded a pass to Lual-Acuil who scored inside, drew a foul and hit the free throw to push Baylor’s lead to 27-12 with 8:16 left in the first half.
Clark enjoyed some good moments later in the half by getting inside for a pair of baskets. Lindsey stole the ball and scored and Lecomte scored on another drive as the Bears went into halftime with a 42-25 lead.
Baylor continued its hot shooting early in the second half as McClure, Lecomte and Lindsey poured in 3-pointers to open up a 61-37 lead.
“Defensively we weren’t very good for the last 30 minutes of the game,” Drew said. “But we got the win and we got everybody healthy, and hopefully that stays that way until Monday night.”