Wednesday, April 16, 2014 · 2:57 p.m.
Baylor's Gage Upshaw (30) navigates his way through traffic during Tuesday's win over Bradley Central. (Photo: Michael Murphy)

Bradley Central boy’s basketball coach Chuck Clark had watched tape of Baylor, and what he’d seen was a solid shooting team with good size and numbers, but certainly beatable. That film from last week’s one-point loss to Walker Valley didn’t paint the most accurate of pictures, though. 

The first-year head coach learned that firsthand on Tuesday night, as the Red Raiders rolled to a convincing 69-44 victory over the visiting Bears at Jimmy Duke Arena.

Baylor's Amedeo Giussani connects on one of his five 3-pointers in Tuesday's win over Bradley Central. (Photo: Michael Murphy)

“We knew they were long, but we didn’t know they were quite that long,” Clark said. 

As it turns out, they’re a little better than a just a solid shooting team, too. If Tuesday was any indication, terms like exceptional and outstanding are much more suitable.

Amadeo Guissani, a senior from Switzerland, knocked down five 3-pointers for Baylor (3-2), finishing with 19 points to lead all scorers. He wasn’t the only one hitting shots, though, as teammates Matt Clendenan (18), Sammy Lupas (13) and Gage Upshaw (10) also finished in double figures. Baylor connected on eight treys in the contest. 

“I think we have shooters,” Baylor head coach Austin Clark said. “When their feet are set we have a lot of options. I think they’re going to get more and more comfortable. I was really proud of them coming out and shooting like they did, but they were open shots and that was good.” 

It was unselfishness that afforded the Red Raiders will such good looks. 

“I thought team play [made the difference],” Austin Clark added. “Team defense was excellent and I thought we shared the basketball really well with each other; not caring who got the shots, we got the best shot. That’s what you hope for, and that’s what we did tonight.”

The Bears (5-6) kept up for a while—Bradley pulled to within 20-16 on Cole Copeland’s free-throw with 4:01 left in the second quarter—but Baylor’s 2-2-1 half court trap defense started to wear on them as the game progressed. 

“We were having to gamble so much because I wanted to try and get it to a fast pace,” Chuck Clark said. “I didn't want to have to work against that zone as much.”

Bradley Central's Sam Gregory (left) elevates for a second-half layup over Baylor's Sammy Lupas. (Photo: Michael Murphy)

By the time the first half had expired, the Red Raiders had extended their lead to double digits, and an 11-0 second-half run stretched their advantage to 20 with 4:25 left in the third. 

“They’re giving everything they’ve got, but we don’t play smart sometimes,” Chuck Clark added. “We get to moving too fast and our brain isn’t moving as fast as our body is moving.

“Give them credit, we gambled and they burned us on it.” 

Taylor Bentley finished with 11 points to lead the Bears, Logan Cox and Daniel Clark each added eight while Ty Morgan chipped in six. 

“As a coach I’m never satisfied and I don’t want them to be, but I’m excited that they took a step towards becoming a good basketball team,” Austin Clark said. 

The Red Raiders return to action Thursday at the Rhea County Invitational, where they’ll take on Sequatchie County (6:30 p.m.). After that, it's on to the Best of Preps Tournament at Chattanooga State (Dec. 26-28). 

The Bears travel to Cookeville to face the Cavaliers on Friday, and they’ll take part in next week’s Renesant Bank Christmas Tournament at Maryville High School (Dec. 26-29). 

Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.

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