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No. 23 Baylor buries overmatched Randall

No. 23 Baylor buries overmatched Randall

No. 23 Baylor wanted put on a show for a special crowd Saturday, when the Bears took on Randall on Saturday on the Fort Hood military base.

Nuni Omot delivered.

Omot scored a career-high 30 points and Jo Lual-Acuil recorded a double-double as Baylor beat Randall 105-82 inside a packed gym full of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.

Lual-Acuil finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and King McClure added 23 points for the Bears (7-2), who have bounced back from losses to Xavier and Wichita State with two straight wins, albeit against inferior competition.

Omot hit 12 of 17 shots, including six 3-pointers, on his way to doubling his previous career high.

“I got a lot of open threes, and my teammates did a great job finding me,” Omot said. “When I was open I just continued to shoot it, and they did a good job setting me up for those shots.”

Randall won the last two National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) national championships and hung tough in the first half against the bigger, more talented Bears.

Brad Ficken hit a step-back 3-pointer that got the Saints within seven at 41-34 with two minutes left in the first half. Baylor responded with 3-pointers from Omot and McClure and went into halftime with a 49-34 lead.

“The crowd was great,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Our guys were a little concerned about the offensive end trying to entertain the crowd, giving them things to cheer for more than they were the defensive end. Fort Hood does an unbelievable job serving our country, and that allows us to be secure here over the holidays, so playing here gives us a chance to be able to say thank you and provide entertainment for the people here to watch. That’s a real honor for us.”

The tempo picked up in the second half, and the Saints (5-9) couldn’t keep up.

Baylor knocked down 13 3-pointers and outrebounded Randall 45-22. The Bears shot 57.1 percent from the field and eclipsed the 100-point mark for the second time this season.

The Bears are banged-up and had only six scholarship players active against Randall. All five Baylor starters finished in double figures. Freshman forward Tristan Clark scored 16 points, and junior guard Jake Lindsey finished with 12 points.

Randall senior forward Trey Sneed led the Saints with 28 points, and senior guard Xavier Hunter finished with 23 points.

The game inside Fort Hood’s 2,400-seat Abrams Gym marked the third straight year Baylor has played on the base. Tickets were free.

“I always look forward to playing in this game. It’s a great honor,” McClure said. “These people fight for our freedom and our ability to do this and it’s an honor to go out there and dedicate this to them. I love playing hard for them to say thank you. We can never really say thank you enough for what they do. It’s a small token we can give to them to show our appreciation.”

Randall head coach Mark Berokoff said before the season began that Baylor would be a major challenge.

“Every year we strive to build the toughest schedule possible in order to prepare our guys for the postseason,” he said. “We believe that this year is the toughest schedule we have ever put together, and can’t wait to see how our guys respond to it.”

NOTES: Baylor senior F Terry Maston missed his third straight game after suffering a broken right hand against Xavier on Nov. 28. Matson, who is averaging 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds, is expected to be out until mid-January. ... Randall missed five of seven free throws in the first half. ... Four of Baylor’s starters reached double figures in points in the first half. ... The Bears host Texas Southern, Savannah State and Southern during a seven-day stretch before entering Big 12 play at Texas Tech on Dec. 29. ... The Saints travels to Ozark Christian College on Tuesday.

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