College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Last season, the Baylor Bears compiled an impressive 28-8 record, making its way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tourney, where they were knocked off by eventual nation champion, Duke, in the third round, 76-71.
After that kind of performance, much was expected of the Bears this season, led by shooting star LaceDarius Dunn. The Baylor bandwagon was derailed in December with three losses in a four-game stretch after a 7-0 start.
Beaten by Gonzaga, Washington State and Florida State, the Bears were looking more like bubble babies than bracket busters, but since rebounded with wins over Texas Southern and, on Tuesday, Morgan State, topping the Golden Bears, 89-72.
The game was an eyeful for all manner of Bears, golden or otherwise, as Dunn erupted for career-highs in scoring, with 43 points, and three-pointers, canning 10 of 18. Baylor took a 42-40 lead into the half, but blew out their opponents, outscoring them 47-32 in the second half, fueled by Dunn's hot hand. He finished with a stat line which included 13-of-22 from the field, 7-for-7 from the foul line, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 37 minutes.
While Dun is among the nation's leading scorers at 23.4 points per game, the jury is still out on Baylor as the team heads into conference play January 8 at Texas Tech. The Bears may remain a mystery until later in the month, when they face Kansas at home on the 17th and travel to Kansas State on the 24th.
NOTABLE: It was a rough night for the Razorbacks. Not only did their football team fall to Ohio State, 31-26, in the Sugar Bowl, but 12th-ranked Texas Longhorns blitzed them on the hardwoods, 79-46.
#2 Ohio State battled to a 73-68 win at Iowa, getting 24 points from freshman Jared Sullinger.
In the Big East, #5 Pitt toughed out an 83-79 win at Providence, while Notre Dame kicked Georgetown, 73-70, handing the Hoyas their second loss in three Big East Games. Pitt beat them in their conference opener on Dec. 27, 78-63.