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Sunday, November 17, 5 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: FSN-SW. Home Record: Louisiana 2-0, Baylor 1-0. Away Record: Louisiana 0-1, Baylor 1-0. Neutral Record: Louisiana 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Series Record: Baylor leads, 6-3.
GAME NOTES: The 23rd-ranked Baylor Bears continue their three-game homestand at the Ferrell Center on Sunday afternoon, as they entertain the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns.
After opening the season with two consecutive home wins over Louisiana College (101-67) and McNeese State (92-66), Louisiana hit the road on Friday night and dropped a 76-63 decision to Arkansas to fall to 2-1. The Cajuns have not fared well away from home recently, as they have won just twice in 17 road bouts since the start of last season.
Baylor started the 2012-13 campaign ranked No. 19 in the country, but endured a disappointing campaign, finishing just 9-9 in the Big 12 and out of the NCAA Tournament. The Bears made the most of appearance in the NIT by winning five games en route to the championship, and they have carried that success over into the early part of this season with victories over Colorado (72-60) and South Carolina (66-64).
The Bears hold a 6-3 advantage over Louisiana in the all-time series, although the teams haven't met since 1994.
The Cajuns kept their contest with Arkansas close, even leading by one with 6:09 to play, but the Razorbacks ended on a 17-3 spurt to hand Louisiana the 13-point defeat. Elfrid Payton put forth a tremendous effort in scoring 27 points, but he also cost the squad with nine turnovers. He was off the mark from 3-point territory as well (0-of-3), contributing to the team's lackluster 2-of-17 showing from long range. Shawn Long netted 12 points in the setback, while Elridge Moore tallied 10 points and eight rebounds. Despite the defeat, the Cajuns still boast an outstanding scoring offense (85.3 ppg), which puts up nearly 16 more points per game than their opponents. They are fortunate to have two of the best players in the Sun Belt Conference in Payton and Long. Payton patrols the perimeter with 23.3 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game, while Long (21.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 3.0 bpg) has been a beast in the paint. Moore (12.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is also off to a solid start.
Baylor's home debut against South Carolina last Tuesday did not go as smoothly as it had hoped, as it shot just 38 percent from the field, but after trailing for most of the game it grabbed the lead with 2:02 left and held on down the stretch. Brady Heslip was the catalyst off the bench, netting 18 points on 5- of-10 from beyond the arc. Isaiah Austin tallied 14 points and three blocks, while Taurean Price recorded eight points and 12 boards in 17 minutes off the bench. The Bears have yet to find their groove this season offensively (.413 FG percentage, 69.0 ppg), but luckily they have been stingy at the other end, holding opponents to less than 35 percent field goal shooting. Heslip (15.0 ppg) leads the team in scoring followed by Kenny Chery (11.5 ppg), while Cory Jefferson (10.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Prince (9.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg) have been solid down low.
Despite two high-level playmakers, Louisiana showed down the stretch on Friday that it's not quite ready to win road games against good teams, so while the Cajuns may be able to show some signs of life, expect Baylor and its dominant frontcourt to pull away late.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 77, Louisiana 67
11/17 10:34:46 ET