LAS VEGAS (AP) — MaCio Teague scored 21 points and No. 2 Baylor won its delayed season opener 112-82 over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday night.
Baylor, which adjusted its opening schedule after coach Scott Drew tested positive for COVID-19, shot 45-for-80 (56.3%) from the floor, including 15-for-27 (55.6%) from 3-point range.
Davion Mitchell finished with 18 points for the Bears (1-0). Jared Butler and LJ Cryer each scored 17 and Adam Flagler chipped in 12.
Cedric Russell led the Ragin Cajuns (0-1) with 26 points. Theo Akwuba scored 22 and Brayan Au added 16.
The Bears were supposed to open the season with two games in Connecticut, but didn't make the trip to the Empire Classic where they would have played No. 18 Arizona State and No. 3 Villanova.
Baylor had also been scheduled to play Seton Hall on Sunday, but the schools mutually agreed to cancel the game in Las Vegas. Drew stayed home in Waco, Texas.
In an earlier game in Las Vegas on Saturday, Air Force defeated Cal State Northridge, 66-61. There are two games scheduled for Sunday and another Monday.
The games were part of a string of opening-week contests being played in neutral cities without spectators. So, rather than a thunderous two-handed slam dunk by Baylor’s Flo Thamba with 11:55 left in the first half igniting a crowd, it took the sounds of Waka Flocka Flame, Lil Baby or Drake to make the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights’ home arena vibrate during timeouts.
The Bears came out sluggish in the first half, allowing Louisiana-Lafayette to hang around. The Ragin’ Cajuns hit five of their first six free throws, including four straight at the midway point, cutting Baylor’s lead to one, 21-20.
The Bears went on a 32-20 run and carried a 53-40 lead into the intermission.
Led by Mitchell, who was a 6-for-6 from the floor en route to 13 first-half point, Baylor shot 56.4% (22 of 39) from the field, including 9 of 15 (60%) from 3-point range. The Bears had eight players contribute to the scoring in the first 20 minutes.
Baylor improved to 8-3 all-time against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: After No. 1 Gonzaga opened the season with two dominating wins against Kansas (102-90) and Auburn (90-67), the Bears should be locked into No. 2, provided it gets by Washington on Sunday.
Louisiana-Lafayette: Will play at New Orleans on Dec. 2.
Baylor: Will play Washington in Las Vegas on Sunday.
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