Sun, 28 Nov 2021

Streaking No. 6 Baylor meets Arizona State in Battle 4 Atlantis

Field Level Media
23 Nov 2021, 04:55 GMT+10

No. 6 Baylor's average margin of victory in its four wins this season is 34.7 points as it prepares to play Arizona State in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island (Bahamas) on Wednesday.

The defending national champion Bears (4-0) have five players averaging in double-figure scoring led by LJ Cryer (18.5 points a game) and Kendall Brown (15.0).

Matthew Mayer is at 10.5 points a game and James Akinjo and Jeremy Sochan are at 10.3

The Bears are shooting 50.5 percent from the field as a team and have 96 assists to go with 51 turnovers.

Baylor also has 53 steals, including 37 in its past two games -- 21 against Central Arkansas and 16 against Stanford.

Cryer scored 21 points and Akinjo, a transfer from Arizona, had 11 points with a career-high-tying 11 assists in Baylor's 86-48 victory over Stanford at Waco, Texas, on Saturday.

"One thing, when you're making shots, you get a couple of dunks, you can say what you want, but when you do that, you play a little harder on the defensive end," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Arizona State (2-2) has experienced a turbulent start to the season having to incorporate an influx of transfers after top players Remy Martin (Kansas), Alonzo Verge Jr. (Nebraska) and Jaelen House (New Mexico) departed to other programs.

Marcus Bagley, one of the top returners, is averaging 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds a game but injured his knee against North Florida last week and did not play in the Sun Devils' 65-63 loss at San Diego State last Thursday.

His status for the Baylor game is uncertain.

"We've had some setbacks over the last few weeks with it," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said, referring to Bagley's knee. "He made strides and he was doing very well, so this is another minor setback."

Arizona State shot 37.3 percent from the field against San Diego State and was outscored 17-8 in points off turnovers.

The Sun Devils held a 39-30 lead early in the second half, but San Diego State went on a 12-0 run to make the game close.

Kimani Lawrence notched his third double-double in four games with 14 points and 12 rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting, while Toledo transfer Marreon Jackson had 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Jackson, the Mid-American Conference player of the year last season, is trying to hit his stride. He is shooting 27.8 percent from the field, 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Lawrence is averaging a double-double -- 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds a game.

Akinjo faces another familiar Pac-12 foe, ASU, following Baylor's win over Stanford on Saturday.

His other game with 11 assists came as a freshman with Georgetown against Creighton in 2018-19.

"When you win big, it's the opportunity as a point guard to showcase your court vision, showcase your playmaking ability," Akinjo said. "I know we've got talented players on this team, so I know that every game I'm not going to be needing to score the ball."

--Field Level Media

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