Baylor has one game remaining before it gets its star player back, and while the Bears are undefeated without Perry Jones III, they're looking like they could use his energy.
The ninth-ranked Bears look to remain undefeated and continue their recent dominance of visiting Texas-Arlington on Wednesday night.
Baylor improved to 4-0 - all without Perry Jones III - after a 70-50 win over South Carolina State on Tuesday. Senior forward Anthony Jones scored a career-high 21 points and the Bears broke the game open in the second half by scoring 14 consecutive points in a span of just over 4 minutes.
"It was just slow and sluggish," senior forward Quincy Acy said of the Bears' play up to that point. "We've got to work on that as a team. When it's like that, somebody has to do something to get a spark. Ant Jones came out with the buckets."
Slow starts have been an issue for Baylor, which has led at halftime of all three games against mostly inferior competition, but only one of those leads has been by more than seven points.
While Perry Jones III, the preseason Big 12 player of the year, might be the spark the team is looking for, the sophomore big man has missed the first four games of this season and the final one of 2010-11 while sitting out an NCAA suspension for receiving improper benefits before arriving at Baylor. This is the final contest of his suspension, and he will return next Tuesday to face Prairie View A&M.
Besides the energy he'll bring, his return figures to strengthen an already impressive frontcourt. Jones averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds last season.
Anthony Jones and Acy continue to do an admirable job without him, with Jones averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds while Acy is putting up 12.7 points and 6.0 boards per game.
Acy had nine points and eight rebounds Tuesday, although the Bears were outrebounded for the first time this season, 38-34.
"I was very disappointed in how we rebounded," coach Scott Drew said. "I thought we would be better at it."
Texas-Arlington (3-0) is looking to win its first four games for the first time since 2007-08. The Mavericks defeated North Texas 97-64 on Tuesday, shooting 57.8 percent. Five players scored in double figures led by junior center Jordan Reves, who had 13.
After the Mean Green scored the first three points of the game, Texas-Arlington scored 43 of the next 46, including a 32-0 run.
"It was unbelievable," coach Scott Cross told the Mavericks' official website. "That kind of set the tone and lifted our guys' intensity and enthusiasm up. We got a couple of turnovers and it set the tone for the game."
Transfer Kevin Butler had another good game with 12 points in 16 minutes. After playing two years at TCU and sitting out last season, he had 17 in his previous contest, a 68-61 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Texas-Arlington has lost six straight and 12 of 13 to the Bears, including a 94-63 defeat in 2009.