Freshman Matthew Mayer scored 18 points and graduate transfer Makai Mason had 11 in his Baylor debut as the Bears beat Nicholls State 81-54 on Friday.
Mark Vital had 11 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Baylor (3-1), which has won three in a row since being upset by SWAC team Texas Southern in its season opener. King McClure also had 11 points and Tristan Clark scored 10 on 5-of-7 shooting.
Jeremiah Jefferson had 13 points for Nicholls (2-3), which shot only 33 percent (18 of 55) from the field.
Baylor never trailed after Mason’s 3-pointer made it 11-9 about 6 1/2 minutes into the game. Mayer and Mason both made three 3-pointers.
Mason, the first grad transfer to play for the Bears, missed the first three games because of a sprained right ankle. The 6-foot-1 guard played only one game over the last two seasons at Yale because of left foot issues after scoring 31 points for the Bulldogs in their 79-75 win over Baylor in the 2016 NCAA Tournament opener.
The Bears had a 20-0 run early through the second half when seven different players scored to push the lead to 38 points. The spurt began on a 3-pointer by Devonte Bandoo, who had a steal that he turned into slam dunk.
Nicholls St.: The Colonels, like Baylor, had only three returning players this season. They also have a first-year head coach in 28-year-old Austin Claunch, an assistant the past two seasons before becoming the youngest Division I head coach. They were unable to build on the momentum of an 83-80 win at Idaho when their two graduate transfers Jefferson and Gavin Peppers each had 20-point games. Peppers had only two late free throws against Baylor and was 0-of-8 shooting in 28 minutes.
Baylor: Still without 6-7 sophomore Mario Kegler, the transfer from Mississippi state who has two games left to serve on his six-game suspension for violating team rules. But the Bears are starting to come together with their changed roster. They wrapped up a season-opening, four-game homestand.
Nicholls State is at Ole Miss on Tuesday night before playing North Carolina Central in Niceville, Florida, next Friday.
Baylor has a bit of a break before playing Ole Miss in Niceville next Friday night as part of the Emerald Coast Classic.
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Source: The Associated Press