WACO, Texas — To say it’s been a big week for Jo Lual-Acuil is an understatement.
Baylor’s 7-foot center hadn’t seen his family from Sudan in more than four years but had his parents, an aunt and niece in Waco for his graduation and two games this week.
He gave them a show to remember Sunday.
Lual-Acuil had career highs with 31 points and 20 rebounds and No. 21 Baylor used a 21-0 first-half run to rout Savannah State 118-86.
“It was great, having a career high in points and rebounds in front of my family, after not seeing them for a long time. It just caps off the week,” Lual-Acuil said. “I couldn’t have written it any better. I’m proud of it.”
The Bears (9-2) led by as many as 31 during a first half in which they shot 62 percent (21 of 34), including 53 percent from 3-point range (9 for 17). Savannah State had a 14-2 run in the second half to get back to 78-68 with 10:56 left before the Bears put it away.
“When you shoot that many 3s, you get back in the game so quick,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Combine it with them causing some turnovers and (how fast they play). There are certain games where a 10-point lead is like a 20-point lead, and a 20-point lead is like a 10-point lead. This is one of those games where a 20-point game is like a 10-point lead.”
Manu Lecomte added 25 points for Baylor, King McClure had 19, Nuni Omot 18, and Mark Vital 12.
Savannah State scored all but four of its 37 first-half points from beyond the arc. The Tigers (3-10) didn’t attempt a two-point shot until 13:48 to go in the first half, and they missed their first five inside the arc before Ralueke Oriza’s dunk with 7:54 left in the half.
“We try to get the kids to understand what’s a good shot,” Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax said. “I could tell them all day long. We let them have the freedom of shooting the 3, but I want to get the easiest shot we can. A lot of times 3s are available. They just weren’t making shots.”
They were a little more balanced in the second half and finished shooting 38 percent (30 for 79), but the vast majority of their attempts were from outside, where they finished 20 for 51 (39 percent).
Dexter McClananahan led Savannah State with 22 points, and Austin Dasent had 18.
Savannah State: This is the fourth straight game and eighth time in 13 games Savannah State has given up 100-plus points. The Tigers had no answer for Baylor’s size and athleticism inside. They were outscored in the paint 54-20 and outrebounded 58-26. Savannah State entered the game 18th in the nation with 271 free throw attempts, but received none in the first half and nine for the game.
Baylor: The Bears didn’t want to get into a 3-point shooting contest with the Tigers, but they showed plenty of proficiency in that area. Their 14 made 3s was a season high, and they hit them at a 42 percent clip. Despite turning the ball over 18 times to only 10 for Savannah State, they had the advantage in points off turnovers, 19-15.
Baylor is in the middle of a soft spot of the schedule, so chances to move up on its own accord are limited. That will change with the usually difficult Big 12 stretch, which begins on the road against No. 24 Texas Tech on Dec. 29.
Savannah State will play its fourth of a seven-game road swing against No. 16 Virginia on Tuesday.
Baylor closes nonconference play at home against Southern on Wednesday.