WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor center Isaiah Austin had been hampered by a gimpy right ankle for most of the season. On Wednesday night, the prized 7-foot-1 freshman was finally healthy and showed why he was one of the top recruits in the nation.
Austin had 23 points and 17 rebounds, and Baylor pulled away in the second half to beat Lamar 85-68.
Powered by Austin's performance on the boards, the Bears had 17 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 21 second-chance points.
Austin had 22 points in 17 minutes before spraining his ankle in Baylor's season opener. Baylor coach Scott Drew said the injury had limited Austin's play before Wednesday.
"He had that explosive step," Drew said. "He's more healthy than he's been all year long."
Austin finished with six offensive rebounds, including a put-back in the middle of a 13-2 second-half run that put the game away. He finished 11 of 19 from the floor.
"I was getting more lift," said Austin, who had season highs in points and rebounds. "I was running as hard as I could to the front of the rim, and I was getting some rebounds."
Pierre Jackson had 21 points and Cory Jefferson added 10 for Baylor (6-3), which snapped a two-game home losing streak.
Lamar (1-9) lost its fifth in a row. Amos Wilson scored 21 points and Rhon Mitchell had 19 for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals, who played Tuesday night at Louisiana-Lafayette, had lost their previous four games by an average of 29.5 points. Lamar has not played a home game this season and won't do so until Dec. 29.
Lamar coach Pat Knight said the rare back-to-back road games were the result of a scheduling mix-up. Knight said Wednesday's game was the best the Cardinals had played all season.
"They just competed," Knight said. "When you're a small school, you want guys to play hard and be competitive. We just haven't been that, except for one game. So it was good to see that."
Baylor led 35-19 in the first half before Lamar came back to tie it early in the second. Trailing 38-31 at halftime, Lamar outscored Baylor 11-4 to open the second half. Wilson and Donley Minor had consecutive baskets to tie the game at 42 with 17 minutes remaining.
Baylor was up 58-55 before going on its 13-2 spurt. Deuce Bello converted a three-point play that made it 61-55, and Gary Franklin made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Bears a 12-point advantage.
A.J. Walton capped the run with a basket, putting Baylor on top 71-57 with 7:27 left. Lamar got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
The Bears avoided losing three straight at home for the first time since 2009. They had not lost three straight nonconference games since 1960.
Baylor fell at home to College of Charleston on Nov. 24 and to Northwestern on Dec. 4. In between, the Bears upset Kentucky on Dec. 1, ending the Wildcats' 55-game home winning streak.
"Normally with younger teams, you don't get the consistency," Drew said. "We're trying to get 40 minutes of consistent play, and we're getting better at it. I think we can beat anybody, and at the same time, we can lose to about anybody."
Powered by a 27-7 run, the Bears built a 35-19 lead in the first half. Jackson had 11 points in that stretch, including a 3-pointer to cap the run with 5:33 left until halftime.
Lamar closed the half with a 12-3 run to get within seven. Minor started the surge with a 3-pointer, and Stan Brown and Wilson made consecutive baskets to bring the Cardinals within seven at halftime.