WACO, Texas -- Back on the mainland after a week in Hawaii, Baylor coach Scott Drew got exactly what he hoped for from his No. 18 Bears.
Playing for the only time between their first loss and another game against a top 10 team, Brady Heslip and Rico Gathers each had 17 points to lead six Baylor players scoring in double figures and Cory Jefferson had a double-double in a 104-59 win over Hardin-Simmons on Sunday.
"It was the first game back and it's good to get this one out of the way," Drew said. "That first game back you're never 100 percent. We were gasping for some air at the beginning of the game. It takes a couple of days. ... One of the toughest things coming back from Hawaii, it takes a couple of days, and playing a game gets it out of your system quicker."
Baylor played three games in three days earlier in the week at the Maui Invitational, leaving Hawaii with its first loss after a 74-67 loss to No. 8 Syracuse in the tournament's championship game Wednesday night. This was its only game between then and playing No. 3 Kentucky in the Dallas Cowboys' stadium Friday night.
"I've recovered from the trip, but I've just been a little tired, just trying to adjust back from the time difference," said Jefferson, admitting he's anxious to play Kentucky. "It's a big game on our schedule. We've been waiting on it all year. But we've been doing pretty well as a team, not to overlook all of the games that were before this game coming up. Now, the main focus is on the big game."
Jefferson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season, and Heslip had five 3-pointers. Gathers also had nine rebounds.
"I'm not even going to lie to you, I'm still tired. I was tired the whole game," Gathers said. "It's a big adjustment from a four-hour difference. It's hard to get adjusted. But overall, I think we did a good job tonight of going out there and competing."
Cameron Barnes had 15 points to lead Hardin Simmons (0-4), including one of the Cowboys' two 3-pointers in the first 75 seconds of the game for an early lead. They then missed 15 in a row from beyond the arc until Eric Taylor made another with 14:46 left in the game, when the Cowboys still trailed 65-34.
"I think that Scott (Drew) has assembled a team now that is just one echelon away from being one of our premier teams in the country. He's already consistent with their tournament play in the Big 12. In Maui, you saw with Syracuse, they're just right there," Hardin-Simmons coach Craig Carse said. "Naturally, as an NCAA Division III non-scholarship team, we don't have the length, the height, the vertical, the talent. They have a wonderful team."
After the early 3s by Barnes and Jim Walter for a 6-3 lead, Hardin-Simmons had its last lead with 16:22 left in the first half when Taylor made a jumper to make it 8-6.
Jefferson then had a tying jumper before Ish Wainright made a layup that put Baylor ahead to stay. That was part of a 15-2 run in a span of just more than 3 minutes. During the run, Heslip had two 3s, including one with 13 minutes left that made it 21-10.
Baylor shot 61 percent (20 of 33) from the field while building a 52-27 halftime lead. Jefferson had nine points and seven rebounds by that point.
The Bears then opened the second half with a 9-0 lead that included back-to-back 3s by Heslip. They built as much as a 47-point lead.
The Bears, who won their eighth straight home game, are 18-1 against instate competition since the start of the 2011-12 season.
John Barnes added 12 points for Hardin-Simmons, which played for the second day in a row. The Cowboys lost 80-57 to Texas-Dallas on Saturday.
Derrick Jefferson, Hardin-Simmons' leading scorer and rebounder through the first three games, had seven points and three rebounds. Those were well below his averages of 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Baylor has won 11 straight games against Hardin-Simmons, winning the last six by an average margin of more than 51 points.
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