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Chery, Jefferson lead No. 25 Baylor over CU 72-60

AP - Sports
Chery, Jefferson lead No. 25 Baylor over CU 72-60
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Baylor guard Kenny Chery (1) shoots against Colorado Askia Booker (0) during the first half of an NCAA …

DALLAS (AP) -- Kenny Chery figures his most important job is getting to the ball to Baylor's heralded frontcourt duo of Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin.

The transfer guard still handled his share of the scoring in his first game for the No. 25 Bears.

Chery scored 14 points, Jefferson had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Baylor beat cold-shooting Colorado 72-60 in the season opener for both teams Friday night.

''Try to be more of a vocal leader,'' Chery, a native of Canada, said of trying to make a first impression after coming in from a junior college in Missouri. ''Try to get Cory, Isaiah, everybody more touches. Just be a team guy.''

The late-starting final game of a tripleheader at the downtown Dallas home of the NBA's Mavericks featured last year's NIT champion in Baylor and a Colorado team coming off the school's first back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament in 50 years.

And the 9 p.m. local start seemed to show, with the teams combining to miss the first nine shots and not scoring until nearly 3 minutes in.

''We had all day to think about it and both teams were definitely nervous and had their jitters,'' Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Brad Heslip had 12 points, all on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, including the second of two in a row with a defender in his face that gave the Bears their biggest lead at 56-43 with 8:38 remaining.

Josh Scott had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Buffaloes, who shot 33 percent and went 2 of 19 from 3-point range.

Austin and Jefferson helped the Bears pull away after a slow start. Jefferson missed a wide-open, two-handed dunk after an offensive rebound, and Scott hit a layup to pull Colorado to 64-58 with 2:19 remaining.

Jefferson missed again on a jump hook in the lane, but Askia Booker couldn't hit a jumper on the other end. The Bears pushed the lead back to eight when Jefferson drove the lane and passed to Austin for a short bank shot from the left side of the lane with 47 seconds left.

Austin finished with five points and four rebounds.

Each team had a player foul out in the first game with the new hand-check rule - Xavier Johnson for Colorado and Baylor's Taurean Prince, who had 10 points and eight rebounds.

''If I had to give a grade, which I don't like doing, I'd actually say like an A-minus,'' Jefferson said. ''It being the first game, the way the new rule changes, the way we adjusted to that and not knowing how the refs would call it with it being an actual live game, I feel pretty good about the team.''

The Buffs missed their first 12 shots from 3-point range before Spencer Dinwiddie finally hit one to cut Baylor's lead to 44-38. But Royce O'Neale scored inside at the other end for the Bears, and Prince hit a shot in the lane after another Colorado miss from long range to push the Bears' lead back to double digits.

''We never really made a run on them,'' Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. ''Just kind of hung around, hung around. The fight was there. We battled. We just couldn't get over the hump.''

The first point of the game didn't come until the 17:23 mark of the first half on a free throw by Austin. The Buffs missed their first four shots - three from beyond the arc - and the Bears started 0 for 5 with a pair of misses from in close.

The first basket came on a three-point play by O'Neale that put Baylor up 4-0, and Wesley Gordon got Colorado's first field goal on a short jumper at the other end.

''So you guys stayed awake,'' Drew said. ''You obviously had your caffeine, so appreciate that.''

Colorado shot 21 percent in the first half, yet trailed by just two points before an 11-5 Baylor run to finish the half gave the Bears a 30-22 lead.

Chery hit a couple of jumpers and Heslip had a long 3-pointer. After a bucket from Prince, Austin made a hook shot to put the Bears up 10.

Baylor had that lead despite not having anyone with more than six points.

Dinwiddie, Colorado's leading returning scorer, missed all four of his shots in the first half and had two points. He finished with 10, but on 2-of-12 shooting. The Buffs were 0 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half.

''There were a lot of good possessions defensively,'' Drew said. ''But they were very good in transition and exploited us. We'll have something to work out right away with that.''

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