No. 20 Baylor holds off Charleston Southern

WACO, Texas -- With Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson, No. 20 Baylor was just too big for Charleston Southern.

Both of Baylor's big men scored 16 points, with Jefferson also having 11 rebounds and the 7-foot-1 Austin blocking seven shots, as the Bears remained undefeated with a 69-64 victory Wednesday night.

"It wasn't necessarily just to get it into the bigs," Jefferson said. "We just wanted to get the ball in the paint, whether it was guards penetrating or passing it into the bigs, and them scoring. However we did it, that was our main point of emphasis was to get the ball to the paint."

When Baylor (4-0) had a four-minute scoring drought in the second half, allowing the Buccaneers to close to four points, guard Gary Franklin made a 3-pointer with five minutes left. Then Austin had another of his blocks, leading to Franklin driving the baseline for a layup that made it 64-55.

The 6-9, 220-pound Jefferson added a jumper with 3:57 left that pushed the lead to 66-55, and Baylor was still up by 10 when Austin made a free throw with two minutes left.

But Charleston Southern (2-3) wasn't done, scoring seven in a row.

"We really competed a lot harder, and really we were very efficient the last 10 minutes," Charleston coach Barclay Radebaugh said. "But we've got a good team. We've got a great group of guys and the next step for us is to win these games. We've been in a lot of these games."

Arlon Harper had a layup before a turnover by Austin, then Will Saunders made two free throws. The Buccaneers forced another turnover before Saunders hit a 3-pointer that made it 67-64 in the final minute.

The Bucs, coming off a 109-93 loss at No. 19 New Mexico on Sunday, went the other way after Austin missed a shot. But Saah Nimley missed a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left, then stepped out of bounds trying to set up for another shot after they got the rebound.

"Having games like this helps you mature a little bit, especially going into conference play in the Big 12. It helps you mature for those situations," Franklin said. "Obviously, we'd like for every game to be a blowout all the way to the national championship, but you can't have them like that all the time. So, it was a good test for us."

Brady Heslip added 11 points with three 3-pointers for Baylor, which plays in the Maui Invitational next week.

Saunders led Charleston with 16 points. Sheldon Strickland had 14 points, while Nimley had 11, including three 3-pointers.

The Buccaneers shot 46 percent (12-of-26) on 3-pointers, much better than their 27 percent showing (10-of-37) inside the arc.

"Our plan was to play inside-out," Radebaugh said. "We're not a post-oriented team, we're more of a perimeter-oriented team. We wanted to dribble in, keep our dribble alive and pitch out, and our guys executed that very well for the most part. We probably tried to attack Isaiah a time or two too many."

Soon after halftime, Jefferson was fouled on consecutive dunk attempts by 6-8 Allie Fullah, the tallest player for the Charleston Southern. Those sandwiched a 3-pointer by Harper, but Jefferson made two free throws both times

Baylor opened the game with an 8-0 run, which was capped when Jefferson rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Austin and scored on a short jumper.

The Buccaneers responded with a 13-1 run with consecutive 3-pointers by Strickland putting them up 13-9.

Jefferson then made a layup, and Baylor went ahead to stay on a 3-pointer by Heslip. Those baskets started a spurt of nine consecutive points for the Bears, and they led the rest of the game. Austin even had blocks on consecutive inside shots by Charleston late in the first half.

"Just staying more active on defense for my teammates. I know our guards play great perimeter defense, and sometimes they're going to get beat," said Austin, who has 15 blocks in his past two games. "So, I just want to be there help side for them."