Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
WACO, Texas (AP) — Manu Lecomte scored 24 points and No. 9 Baylor took over in the second half in a 76-61 victory over No. 7 Xavier on Saturday.
Johnathan Motley added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bears (8-0), who have beaten three Top 10 teams in the same season for first time. Half of Baylor’s eight wins have come against Top 25 teams.
Xavier (7-1) was up 51-50 when Edmond Sumner, who had 19 points, hit a 3-pointer with 11:15 to play. The Musketeers then went almost 9 minutes before making another field goal.
Lecomte, the former Miami transfer, put Baylor ahead to stay with two free throws. By time he made a jumper with 3:36 left, it capped a 21-2 run to put the Bears up 71-53.
Trevon Blueitt, who led the Musketeers with 23 points and fouled out, made a 3-pointer with 2:33 for their first basket since their last lead.
BIG PICTUREXavier: The Musketeers had won 21 consecutive non-conference games since a double-overtime loss at Auburn two years ago. They were 3-0 against Top 10 opponents last season, but the Big East’s best team in field goal percentage couldn’t hold down Baylor.
Baylor: The Bears have gone from not even getting a vote in the AP poll two weeks ago to No. 9 — and likely higher after another impressive victory. They even got a first-place vote last week, and may get more now. The Battle 4 Atlantis champions previously beat Top 10 teams Oregon and Louisville, and also defeated Top 25 Michigan State.
Xavier plays its next two games against Pac-12 teams, going to Colorado on Wednesday and then hosting Utah next Saturday. The game against Utah is the first of four consecutive home games, a stretch that will conclude with the Big East Conference opener against Providence on Dec. 28.
Baylor has a 10-day break between games during final exams after what was their last real on-court test before Big 12 play begins Dec. 30. Their next game is Dec. 14 vs Southern University, one of three SWAC teams that will play in a four-game stretch over eight days when they also host John Brown, an NAIA school from Arkansas.
Photo: USA Today Sports
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.