“We simply all weren’t collectively:” Baylor exhibits rust coming back from 21-day hiatus


On Monday, Baylor Bears star Jared Butler appeared assured in his group’s capacity to bounce again after its three-week pause as a consequence of COVID-19 protocols, a hiatus he in comparison with being grounded by his mother and father whereas his mates round faculty basketball have been allowed to play exterior.”I prefer to imagine we’ll decide up the place we left off,” he mentioned. “I feel, in the end, we’ll get again within the groove.”But, the Bears by no means discovered a rhythm till the ultimate minutes of Tuesday’s 77-72 come-from-behind win over Iowa State (2-17) in Waco, Texas, on Tuesday. In a matchup between an Iowa State group ranked 236th within the NET towards a Baylor squad, No. 2 within the NET coming into the sport, the latter struggled to regain the stride that had turned this system into an undefeated juggernaut, which many anticipate to fulfill undefeated Gonzaga within the nationwide title sport in Indianapolis.Baylor rallied within the second half to remain undefeated. Jerry Larson/APHowever, Iowa State, 0-13 in Huge 12 play coming into the sport, led by 17 factors with 6:26 to go within the first half. The sluggish begin appeared to substantiate Baylor coach Scott Drew’s considerations previous to his group’s first sport in 21 days.”I imply, yeah,” Drew advised ESPN, “I am nervous.”Baylor solely returned to full follow on Sunday and Drew in contrast the session to the sluggish practices that usually comply with Christmas break. Per the group, COVID-19 protocols created varied ranges of isolation and restrictions for particular person group members.The pause and lack of constant lineups broke within the momentum that is made Baylor a top-five group within the Related Press ballot for 25 consecutive weeks, second solely to Gonzaga (28), per ESPN Stats & Data. Three gamers, together with key reserve Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (7.eight PPG), missed Tuesday’s sport. And the group had solely practiced with a brand new beginning lineup that includes Matthew Mayer at heart 48 hours previous to unveiling it.”Greatest method I can sort of clarify what was occurring was we simply had lots of guys who have been out for quite a few causes,” mentioned guard Adam Flagler, Baylor’s catalyst all through Monday’s sport and led the group with 22 factors (4-for-10 from the 3-point line). “We simply all weren’t collectively.”It confirmed. At halftime, Baylor had 10 turnovers and Iowa State, a 24-point underdog, and the worst offensive group not named Kansas State within the Huge 12 per possession, had made 52 p.c of its photographs.1 RelatedBut Baylor is not the one group that did not instantly regain its outdated type after pausing their seasons. Florida completed 4-for-21 from the 3-point line in a 75-64 loss to Arkansas on Feb. 16 after practically two weeks out of motion. Michigan was down 39-27 at Wisconsin at halftime in its first sport following a three-week pause on Valentine’s Day. Texas’ loss to Oklahoma on Jan. 26, which Shaka Sensible missed after testing optimistic, kicked off a three-game dropping streak for the Longhorns.”I feel it actually confirmed lots of coronary heart from our guys,” Drew mentioned within the postgame press convention on Tuesday. “I’ve talked to lots of coaches who’ve had lengthy pauses. Usually, they are saying three video games till you are regular. Minimal.”The excellent news is that Baylor performed to its pedigree down the stretch on Tuesday. Senior guard MaCio Teague made a few late buckets after breaking down defenders. Mark Important performed nice protection. Flagler hit photographs throughout a key run within the first half after which once more after the break.It was by no means fairly. However the NCAA match choice committee will give attention to the outcome greater than the optics.Baylor, in its first sport again, beat an Iowa State group that performed its greatest basketball of the season and refused to provide Baylor room for a game-altering run. Nothing concerning the matchup made sense: not Baylor’s early missteps, not Iowa State’s effectivity within the first half.A Saturday street sport at Kansas, nonetheless, ought to check Baylor, although. Kansas is enjoying a number of the greatest protection within the nation proper now. A Thursday matchup at West Virginia has been rescheduled for March 2. Two days later, the Bears will face Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State.Baylor appeared rusty towards the Cyclones. However video games towards Kanas, West Virginia and Oklahoma State will demand a greater effort.”It was enjoyable,” Flagler mentioned after the comeback win on Tuesday, “however we positively do not ever need to get down like that.”

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