WACO, Texas (AP) — Highly touted freshman center Isaiah Austin gave Baylor an impressive glimpse of what he's capable of doing — and a big scare — in his first game.
The 7-foot-1 Austin scored 22 points in 17 minutes before spraining his right ankle, an injury that apparently wasn't as bad for No. 19 as it initially appeared when he sat on the floor after making a shot and the crowd went silent.
"Baby ankle," senior point guard Pierre Jackson was able to joke after Baylor's 99-77 season-opening win over Lehigh on Friday.
"For 17 minutes, I don't know if you can be much more impressive than Isaiah was. We have to get him healthy now. Obviously the rest of the world knows about him now," coach Scott Drew said. "It didn't look real severe. He was limping around in the locker room so that's a good thing."
Cory Jefferson added 26 points with nine dunks for the Bears, who play Jackson State on Sunday and have five games in the first 10 days of the season. Jackson had 14 points and 12 assists.
Austin, a McDonald's All-American considered one of the nation's top freshmen, went to the ground after making a turnaround jumper with about 16 minutes left. He stepped on somebody else's foot coming down.
Austin was 10-for-12 shooting, including three dunks and two 3-pointers. The crowd became quiet as the trainers looked at Austin, who removed the goggles from his head and pulled his jersey over his face. He tried not to put any weight while being helped off the floor and to the locker room, but was able to return to the bench before the end of the game.
Preseason AP All-American C.J. McCollum had 36 points for the Mountain Hawks, who as a No. 15 seed in last season's NCAA tournament upset Duke.
"We've already tried to forget about it, put it in the past because every year is a new team, a new identity and we're just trying to form that right now," McCollum said. "And hopefully as the season continues to progress, people will stop talking about what we did in the past and try to focus on what we're trying to do this year and in the future."
The season opener provided both teams a matchup that almost was in that NCAA tournament.
Lehigh lost its next NCAA tournament game to Xavier, which then advanced to play Baylor in the round of 16. The Bears won that game before losing to eventual national champion Kentucky in a regional final.
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