James Anikjo scored 16 points and the Baylor defense was stifling throughout as the second-ranked Bears steamrolled No. 6 Villanova 57-36 on Sunday afternoon in a Big East/Big 12 Battle slugfest in Waco, Texas.
The Bears (9-0) took the game right to Villanova from the jump, never trailing and limiting a very good Villanova team to just 22.2 percent shooting while owning the paint (22-12 edge in points) and the glass (a 42-35 advantage), Baylor won easily despite shooting just 39.3 percent from the floor.
Baylor has now captured eight consecutive games against Top 10 teams, beating teams ranked No. 5, 9, 6, 6, 10, 6, 1 and 6 over that stretch. The win Sunday was the Bears’ 33rd straight against nonconference teams.
The Wildcats’ 36 points were the fewest in the 20 years Jay Wright has been coach at Villanova and the 15 first-half points tied the fewest points in any half under Wright.
Adam Flagler added 10 points for the Bears, with Jeremy Sochan taking a game-high 10 rebounds in the win.
Justin Moore led the Wildcats (7-3) with 15 points, with 12 of those coming in the second half. No other Villanova player scored more than six points.
Defense from both teams dominated the first half but especially from the Bears, which held Villanova to just 15 points over the first 20 minutes and only 5 of 24 shooting from the floor.
Baylor was not much better, shooting just 37.9 percent, but the Bears were good enough on offense to forge a 25-9 lead with 3:09 left in the half. Villanova would have been even further down if it not for Collin Gillespie, who canned a pair of 3-pointers in the final 2:48 to cut the Baylor lead to 25-15 at intermission.
Akinjo led all scorers with seven points at the half; the Bears forged a 22-15 edge in rebounding. Gillespie’s six points, on 2 of 3 shooting, paced the Wildcats’ anemic attack prior to halftime. Villanova hit four 3-pointers in the half — it was only 1 for 10 on 2-point attempts and was outscored 12-2 in the paint.
The second half was more of the same, with the Bears never allowing Villanova closer than eight points and eventually leading 45-25 after a 3-pointer by Akinjo with 6:15 to play.
–Field Level Media