No. 19 Baylor opens with 99-77 victory over Lehigh
- Article by: STEPHEN HAWKINS
- Associated Press
- November 9, 2012 - 6:52 PM
WACO, Texas - Baylor freshman center Isaiah Austin scored 22 points in 17 minutes before spraining his right ankle, and Corey Jefferson had 26 points with nine dunks for the 19th-ranked Bears in a season-opening 99-77 victory over Lehigh on Friday.
The 7-foot-1 Austin, a McDonald's All-American considered one of the nation's top freshmen, went to the ground after making a turnaround jumper with about 16 minutes left. He apparently stepped on somebody else's foot coming down.
Austin was 10-of-12 shooting, including three dunks and two 3-pointers. The crowd went silent as trainers looked at Austin before he was helped off the floor while trying not to put weight on his foot. He returned to the bench before the end of the game.
Preseason AP All-American C.J. McCollum had 36 points for the Mountain Hawks, who as a No. 15 seed in last season's NCAA tournament upset Duke.
The season opener provided both teams a matchup that almost was in that NCAA tournament.
Lehigh lost its next NCAA tournament game to Xavier, which then advanced to play Baylor in the round of 16. The Bears won that game before losing to eventual national champion Kentucky in a regional final.
While returning preseason Big 12 player of the year Pierre Jackson, the Bears are a different team after losing three players to the NBA draft — Quincy Acy and underclassmen Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller.
Jackson, the senior point guard, had 14 points and 12 assists.
McCollum scored the first seven points for Lehigh. That included two free throws even before the tipoff because of a technical foul assessed against the Bears for dunking during a pregame warmups.
There were no rules against all the dunks once the game started.
Jefferson finished one short of Acy's school record of 10 dunks in a game.
After McCollum's 3-pointer made it 7-4, Baylor got its first dunk on Jackson's alley-oop pass to Jefferson. Then after McCollum got called for charging, the Bears went ahead to stay when Austin hit a 3-pointer from the left side only about 3 minutes into the game.
Baylor quickly extended its lead to 17-7 on a putback by Jefferson. There was also a play in that span when Leigh guard Mackey McKnight twice grabbed rebounds of his own missed shots, before Jackson stole the ball and passed ahead to Deuce Bello for a layup.
McKnight had 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting for Lehigh, which last season tied a Patriot League record with 27 victories. McCollum made 14 of 32 shots.
The Bears had a 51-41 halftime lead, and then scored the first six points after the break. Brady Heslip made a layup before Austin's alley-oop dunk on an inbound pass from Jackson and then a layup by the freshman.
All the cheers went silent when Austin went down to the floor after making a turnaround jumper with about 16 minutes left in the game.
While sitting on the court after he made a turnaround jumper, the 7-foot-1 center pulled his goggles off his head and pulled his jersey over his face.
Austin did return to the bench with about 6 minutes left. He didn't have any wraps or ice on his foot, but appeared to have a slight limp when moving around during a timeout.
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