As the dust settled on Austin Clark Court and Jimmy Duke Arena on Friday night, one thing was clear: this was not your typical Baylor McCallie basketball game. This past week, the long and storied rivalry added another chapter with fans seeking another textbook finish coming down to the wire. These fans were out of luck.
As the roars from the starting lineups only grew louder, the game began with a corner three for the blue tornado, and this 3-0 lead was one of their only leads of the game. The blue tornado managed a measly lead of 8-5 early in the first. The Red Raiders responded with an 8-0 run and from that point on, it was a flurry of red. The student sections traded cheers and the teams traded baskets, but the final score gave Baylor a victory margin of 24, the largest margin of victory in the rivalry in what seems like forever.
The Red Raiders had strong showings from senior guards Beyuan Hendricks and Blake Pruitt along with a great game down low from sophomore Nick Kurtz. In general, the team chemistry was great all night, and McCallie had no answer on defense for the likes of Hendricks and Kurtz. When asked about the game, Hendricks stated that his coach, first year man Mark Price, “put [him] in the right positions to score and facilitate” throughout the game. Hendricks also attributed the win to “Kurtz getting off to his hot start” which he also said opened lanes for himself to score the ball efficiently. The scoring was spread around pretty well for the Red Raiders with the likes of five players surpassing five points on the night. Senior shooting guard Greyson Linderman, who finished the game with six, claimed that “ball movement and selflessness of the team” propelled the Red Raiders to their dominant victory. “Nobody cares who gets the credit,”started Linderman, “we just want to do what’s best for the team.”
On the defensive end, the Red Raiders had a terrific showing locking down many of the Blue Tornado’s top scoring threats. Linderman claimed that “it’s about everyone on defense being engaged and all five guys working together.” The man to man defensive scheme run by Baylor defiantly slowed down a relatively high scoring team and ultimately aided in the blow out victory which is one this years seniors won’t forget. Hendricks put it eloquently: “It’s a special feeling. Especially winning on your home court by such a big amount.” This was truly a great victory for the seniors all of whom played well, even senior small forward Baird Thoni who doesn’t see consistent playing time scored three.
The environment in Duke was one of the loudest in recent memory in anticipation of the big game, and the players and fans alike showed out. As a result of Friday nights contest, the Red Raiders surged to 16-1 standing at 6-0 in region play. Next up on the schedule are region tests in Nashville against the likes of MBA and Ensworth followed by a home contest against Lipscomb. If there’s one thing you take from this article, I hope you show up to Duke Arena whenever you can, cause the Red Raiders have come to play.