WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — There was misery Saturday night for Baylor coach Scott Drew as his team struggled to reach double-figure scoring before halftime at Wichita State.
The Shockers built a 44-15 halftime lead, and Samajae Haynes-Jones finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds as Wichita State held on to defeat Baylor 71-63 despite letting a 33-point lead get cut to five.
It was one of the 10 largest halftime leads for Wichita State in 40 seasons.
But after the loss, at least Drew knew Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall understood his suffering. “I’m pretty sure coach Marshall and I both had heart attacks at different points tonight,” Drew said.
“Samajae had that look,” Marshall said. “He was solid, man, played like a point guard, too. It was gratifying for me to see that young man play that well in a big game.”
Erik Stevenson added 18 points and Markis McDuffie had 15 for Wichita State (4-3).
Tristan Clark and Mario Kegler each scored 12 points to lead Baylor (5-3) while King McClure added 10. The trio combined for 24 points during the second-half rally.
Trailing by 29 at halftime, Baylor methodically got back in the game, cutting the Shockers’ lead to 60-55 with 3:47 to play.
But that’s when Wichita State’s two stars of the game — Stevenson and Haynes-Jones — came through with baskets. Haynes-Jones’ 3-point play pushed the lead back to 10 with 2:16 remaining.
“I’ve got to figure out what he (Drew) said to his team to start the second half,” Marshall said, “and he has to figure out what I said to mine to start the game, then we’d have one heck of a team.”
Baylor did not score in the game’s first 6 ½ minutes, and with 7:10 remaining in the first half, Wichita State led 20-4 and had held Baylor to 2-of-18 shooting.
Haynes-Jones had as many first-half points as Baylor, scoring 15 on five 3-pointers. Stevenson came off the bench to hit three first-half 3-pointers, helping the Shockers build a 44-15 halftime advantage.
Baylor: The Bears’ lethargic first half cost them the opportunity for their best victory so far this season.
Wichita State: The Shockers, using eight newcomers in the first half, earned a quality win that might show a young team’s potential.
BIG NIGHT, SMALL GUY
Haynes-Jones is often the smallest on the floor, but the 6-foot senior point guard’s game-high 10 rebounds helped symbolize Saturday night’s effort. Haynes-Jones struggled last season with anxiety and health issues but looked confident against Baylor. He created his own shots while hitting five first-half 3-pointers.
Drew was certain some of the Bears’ first-half struggles were due to playing their first road game of the season, a task made tougher by the noted atmosphere of Koch Arena.
“Anytime you play your first road game, it’s a concern,” Drew said. “We certainly showed why tonight. And this place isn’t easy.”
Baylor: The Bears take a two-week break before traveling to Arizona on Dec. 15.
Wichita State: The Shockers play Oklahoma at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Dec 8.
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