Baylor’s Rico Gathers is the Beast of the Big 12 Conference

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Chery was able to hit the game winning three-pointer for the Baylor Bears Tuesday night, but time expired before Chery could release the basketball. With the 66-64 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Bears have now lost six of their last seven games. Baylor started conference play ranked in the top 10 nationally, but have seen their offensive and defensive numbers fall off a cliff. Baylor’s shooting percentage and three-point percentage has dropped 10 percent since entering conference play. As a result, the Bears are scoring few points per game while allowing approximately 10 more points per game on the defensive end.

Baylor needed to answer the bell and get a much needed win at home. The Bears were unable to do so, but one Bear in particular put on a clinic in effort. Rico Gathers is currently averaging a rebound every 2.5 minutes of playing time. To put that number into perspective, Hall of Fame basketball player Dennis Rodman, arguably the greatest rebounder in NBA history, averaged a rebound every 2.4 minutes. Gathers had eight points and 12 rebounds coming off the bench Tuesday night.

Gathers is much more than a rebounding machine. He is a physical specimen. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is 250 pounds of solid muscle. For the vast majority of the first half, Gathers outrebounded the entire West Virginia team. The Mountaineers were mere gnats compared to the determined Gathers. He showed off his athleticism on a fast break jam that awakened the home crowd. For 39 minutes and 57 seconds, Gathers was unstoppable. With three seconds remaining, Gathers was a hair late in help side defense which resulted in Mountaineer guard Juwan Staten making a go-ahead lay up with three seconds left in the contest. The Bears may have faltered tonight, but they have found their spark in Gathers.

Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyRS.

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