WACO, Texas (AP)Adam Flagler scored 21 points to lead six players in double figures for fifth-ranked Baylor, which overwhelmed Mississippi Valley State 117-53 Monday as the Bears opened their 20th season with coach Scott Drew.
Flagler, a preseason All-Big 12 pick who also was the Bears’ leading scorer last season, also had eight assists and one of his four 3-pointers started a 24-0 run midway through the first half.
LJ Cryer had 16 points and Dale Bonner, another returning guard, had 14. Langston Love, making his Baylor debut after missing last season with a torn ACL, five-star freshman guard Keyonte George, and West Virginia transfer Jalen Bridges each had 13 points.
Alvin Stredic scored 14 points and Terry Collins 10 for Mississippi Valley State in its first game for new coach George Ivory.
The game started just after 11 a.m. Central time on the Waco campus, one of three games that started in that slot. But the Bears were the only major conference school starting in that earliest tip time on the season’s first day.
With thousands of screaming elementary school students in the stands, the Bears jumped out to a 13-2 lead and later added that 24-0 run while making all six of their 3-pointers in just under five minutes.
Flagler and Cryer, who dealt with a surgically repaired right foot most of last season, alternated made 3s twice to open the run. The Bears led 40-10 when Lohner made two free throws with 5:44 left in the first half.
Mississippi Valley State: Opening against the nation’s fifth-ranked team was going to be a tough task regardless for the Delta Devils, who were 2-26 last season. But they are still missing several key players that haven’t been cleared to play. The best Valley did was tie the game at 2-2 on a field goal by Collins before giving up 11 points in a row.
Baylor: A solid start with a mix of old and new players for the Bears, who won the national title two seasons ago and last season shared the Big 12 regular-season title with Kansas, which gave the league its second consecutive national championship. They shot 51.4% (37 of 72) overall and 41.2% on 3-pointers (14 of 34). … Flo Thamba, the 6-foot-10 senior forward and only returning starter other than Flagler, had five points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Love tore an ACL in the first scrimmage before last season. George is a Texas kid who signed out of IMG Academy in Florida.
Mississippi Valley State is headed to Hawaii for three games in the Rainbow Classic.
Baylor, which plays its first three games at home, hosts Norfolk State on Friday in a rematch of an NCAA Tournament opener in March that the Bears won 85-49.
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