You are looking live at the propaganda planted in the student section for tonight’s game. I know Fake Bob Huggins is excited, but I have to think this is one game the student section has been anticipating. There’s something bout Baylor that does not sit well with the natives, and Rico Gathers has that effect on opposing fans.
See, when you’re so big, so good at rebounding, so hard to move and so demonstrative, you’re going to get some boos when you’re on the road. It’s like that with Devin Williams, too, which makes tonight’s game so interesting.
Gathers and Williams walked into a china shop last season, and Baylor won, quite handily, it turned out, but those two had some fun. Williams had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Gathers finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
They’d meet again in Baylor, and Rico rolled again as Williams found foul trouble, before Williams had a better showing in the Big 12 Tournament. But in the three games, Gathers was one rebound shy of three double-doubles and averaged 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds on a combined 13-for-20 shooting — lots of free throws in there.
As you might expect when those two go nose-to-nose, the competition left a mark.
“I’m going to give credit where credit’s due – that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Williams said. “He’s been the top rebounder in the league the last two years and done a good job rebounding the ball. My years, from my freshman and sophomore years to now, it’s been like I’m trying to keep up with Rico. Now it’s like I want to show I’m the best rebounder in the country.”
Gathers leads the Big 12 with 9.8 rebounds per game. A year ago, he led the conference in rebounds per game (11.6), offensive rebounds per game (4.8), defensive rebounds per game (6.8) and double-doubles (17).
But Williams was on Gathers’ level last season, averaging 11.6 points and 8.2 rebounds and finishing second to Gathers with nine double-doubles. Against Baylor, he averaged 11.3 points and 9 rebounds — foul trouble at Baylor limited him to four points and five rebounds — and made 17 of 32 shots.
The last time they met in the Coliseum, Williams had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Gathers finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
“He’s a hell of a talent,” Gathers said. “I can’t wait to get out there and go against him. We compete. We’re two physical specimens out there on the court and we could probably be playing some football, but we go out there and give it our all on both ends of the floor.”
Tonight’s their sixth matchup, and Gathers holds a 4-1 lead. The Bears have won four straight in the series, each by 10 or more points, and are the only Big 12 team that hasn’t lost in the Coliseum.
Let’s continue the theme and decide this one in the post.
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