Sports

Baylor's Jones doesn't sweat his quiet offensive nights

ALBUQUERQUE -- Baylor forward Perry Jones III, the team's leading scorer, expressed no regrets Friday about being held to a season-low two points in Thursday's NCAA Tournament debut by South Dakota State.

The Bears won 68-60 when guards Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip combined to score 35 points and carried Baylor (28-7) into tonight's matchup against Colorado (24-11) at The Pit. The 6-foot-11 Jones, who had a game-high 11 rebounds against SDSU, said fans and critics tend to judge him too much on his scoring totals and not his overall game.

"People expect me to score 30 points a game. I don't have to," said Jones, a sophomore who is pondering an early departure for the 2012 NBA Draft. "Everybody [in the lineup] can score. But not everybody is going to score every night ... If I have a good night, I'm glorified. If I have a bad night, then I'm the worst player ever."

Jones, who made only 1 of 6 shots against SDSU, said difficult shooting nights "can happen to anybody." When they happen to him, he is satisfied dishing the ball to teammates and grabbing rebounds.

That became his mindset against SDSU, Jones said, because it worked. Jones drew a parallel between himself and another high-profile player who has his share of critics: Miami Heat standout LeBron James.

"If LeBron doesn't score in the fourth quarter, they say he's the worst player ever," Jones said. "But LeBron is still one of the greatest players out there, no matter what. No matter the criticisms, you just have to be yourself. I was dealt this hand. I'm going to use it to my best ... The game is fun to me, regardless if I have a bad night or not."

Overcoming jitters

Baylor coach Scott Drew said he expects the Bears to perform better against Colorado because four starters, and five of the eight who played Thursday, made their NCAA Tournament debuts.

"I didn't do a very good job calming it," Drew said. "But the good thing is, after you get up and down the court a little bit, those jitters leave you ... I think both teams will be more relaxed [tonight]. I know definitely that the last 15 minutes of the first half is how we'd like to play for 40 minutes."

Transplanted Texan

Andre Roberson, a sophomore from San Antonio, is the lone Texan in Colorado's starting lineup.

The past two seasons, the Buffaloes are 12-4 when Roberson (6-foot-7, 210 pounds) grabs at least 12 rebounds. He had 16 rebounds in Thursday's 68-64 victory over UNLV and averages a team-high 11.2 rebounds per game.

Underdog status

Despite having the better seed, players from Wisconsin (25-9), the No. 4 seed in the East Regional, are embracing the underdog role in tonight's matchup against fifth seed Vanderbilt (25-10) at The Pit. Vanderbilt has become a trendy upset pick in many fans' tournament brackets since knocking off Kentucky, the tournament's top overall seed, to win the SEC tournament on Selection Sunday.

Asked if the Badgers like being considered underdogs, Josh Gasser said: "Yeah, why not? It's just another tough opponent on the journey. They deserve the credit they've gotten."

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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