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No. 6 Baylor tops VCU 69-61, reaches Battle 4 Atlantis ultimate

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Baylor lastly confronted a take a look at. The sixth-ranked Bears responded by cleansing up turnovers, hitting the glass and staying a step or two forward of VCU.

Matthew Mayer scored 15 factors to assist the Bears maintain off the Rams 69-61 in Thursday’s semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, sending Baylor into Friday’s championship sport. It marked the reigning nationwide champions’ first sport determined by fewer than a dozen factors within the younger season, and this one had them battling till the ultimate seconds to guard their margin.

“It was large for us,” Mayer stated. “Simply our first actual take a look at, I might say, by way of an in depth sport on the finish. … we have numerous toughness. I am simply glad we might type of get that out of the way in which so we are able to discover that out about ourselves.”

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Freshman Kendall Brown added 14 factors for the Bears (6-0), who dedicated simply 5 second-half turnovers after 13 within the first half towards VCU’s full-court and trapping strain. That first-half whole surpassed Baylor’s full-game totals in 4 video games earlier this season.

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“It simply reveals us how linked we’re (towards) a crew like that that may get in your head and press and trigger turnovers,” Brown stated. “It simply reveals our poise all through the sport: Simply keep level-headed and preserve going at it.”

Baylor additionally managed the glass (42-33) and pulled down 17 offensive boards to complete with a 15-3 edge in second-chance factors.

Vince Williams scored 17 factors to steer VCU (3-3), whereas Stockard had 13 factors. The Rams shot 48% after halftime to hold round, continuously inside two possessions, however they could not fairly overtake Baylor.

“I assumed at instances we put Baylor on their heels and we bought our model of play going,” VCU coach Mike Rhoades stated.

“I simply thought at instances we type of shot ourselves within the foot. Earlier than you may beat a crew like Baylor, you may’t beat your self. I feel at instances we did that with careless turnovers, some blown assignments popping out of timeouts or {dead} balls.”

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Bears are again on the event for the primary time since successful it in 2016. They opened with a 75-63 win towards Arizona State for his or her second win in every week towards Pac-12 opponents. They have been examined Thursday, needing free throws from James Akinjo with 14.3 seconds left to maintain this one of their grip. It marked Baylor’s twelfth straight win courting to final 12 months’s title run within the Indianapolis bubble.

VCU: The Rams took down a power-conference opponent within the first spherical, holding Syracuse to 29% taking pictures and forcing 16 turnovers within the 67-55 win. VCU managed to create complications for Baylor, too, significantly within the first half. However the Rams could not fairly catch the Bears, getting the second-half margin to 4 factors thrice and three factors as soon as (45-42 close to the 11-minute mark) however no nearer in a sample that held all the way in which into the ultimate minute.

“We could not recover from the hump, however we simply saved combating to the top of the sport,” Williams stated.

KEY SEQUENCE

Baylor led 29-27 and got here out of the break with 9 straight factors. That included a five-point possession with Brown making two free throws after being hit on a flagrant foul by Levi Stockard III, then Mayer discovering Flo Thamba with a lane-to-lane move for a rating and a three-point play.

Baylor protected that margin, although the Bears struggled to place the sport away because the Rams continued to make use of full-court protection to maintain Baylor out of rhythm.

“That was a killer,” Rhoades stated. “We talked about it within the locker room, that they are identified for that this 12 months however prior to now, (coming) out of the locker room making a run. They usually certain made one.”

UP NEXT

Baylor: Performs Michigan State in Friday’s title sport.

VCU: Faces No. 22 UConn in Friday’s third-place sport.



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