Baylor experienced a bit of a scare last time out, as LaceDarius Dunn hit the court hard while going for a rebound.
Thankfully for Scott Drew’s team, the ninth-ranked Bears have had 13 days off since, which should be plenty of time for Dunn to fully recover to face Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday night in the first meeting between these programs.
Dunn was injured with 6:43 left in a 68-54 victory over Arizona State on Dec. 2. He was trying for an offensive board but fell hard on his left arm and was on the court writhing in pain.
Still hurting, Dunn returned to the game 2 minutes later but missed his final two field goal attempts for the Bears (6-0). He finished with a game-high 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range, and the following day X-rays confirmed that he only bruised his forearm.
“You’re always concerned, but obviously Lace, especially with him just getting back to us, you don’t want to see him be out for an extended period,” Drew said. “Lace is a very tough kid, and if it’s not broken, he’s playing.”
Dunn had already missed the first three games while serving a suspension because of a domestic dispute charge earlier this fall.
In three games since returning, Dunn is averaging 22.7 points and has made 16 of 31 shots from 3-point range. The senior guard is already the school’s all-time record holder with 315 3s and has hit at least one in 20 consecutive games.
“Dunn is clearly one of the top two guards in the country,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. “He’s a terrific player, one of the best in college basketball right now. He doesn’t need a lot of time and space, and he’s very accurate.”
While Dunn should benefit from having a nearly two-week break between games, a matchup with seemingly overmatched Bethune-Cookman (5-5) should help the Bears return to form following the layoff.
With forwards Perry Jones and Quincy Acy—who both average better than 9.0 rebounds a game—filling the paint, Baylor should have a major advantage on the glass.
The Bears own the nation’s fourth-best rebounding advantage at 12.5 per game, while Bethune-Cookman has the 20th-worst at minus-7.4.
“Baylor’s long and athletic,” Wildcats coach Clifford Reed told the team’s official website. “When you’re ranked in the top 10, you usually have a first- round draft pick or two.”
This will be the Wildcats’ first game against a ranked opponent since losing to No. 22 Oregon 92-64 on Dec. 11, 2006. Bethune-Cookman has been outscored by an average of 39.3 points in losing all 16 games to Top 25 teams since 1996.
Three of the Wildcats’ five wins this season have come over non-Division I teams, and their only game against a school from one of the six power conferences was a 78-45 loss to Arizona on Nov. 23.
Bethune-Cookman is coming off Monday’s 69-58 win over Webber International of the NAIA, as junior C.J. Reed was limited to 12 points - 7.2 fewer than his team-leading average.