NEW ORLEANS -- As Baylor’s players left the locker room Thursday on their way to the playing floor at New Orleans Arena, several of them were playfully shouting, “Sam who?”
They know now after being taken to the final minutes by No. 14 seed Sam Houston State before pulling away and winning 68-59 in a first-round East Regional matchup.
The game was tied at 55-55 with just over three minutes to play, and Baylor’s A.J. Walton missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity. Sam Houston State was unable to capitalize and take the lead, and Baylor turned on the jets.
Quincy Acy had a dunk, and it was the LaceDarius Show from there. He scored the Bears’ next eight points, as the Bearkats kept firing away and missing from 3-point range.
Sam Houston State finished 6-of-31 from behind the arc. Senior guard Ashton Mitchell was just 1-of-11.
Baylor junior forward Ekpe Udoh showed just why some around the country consider him to be one of the most complete big men in college basketball. He finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. He also had five of the Bears’ 14 turnovers.
The Bears also had their struggles from 3-point land, going just 5-of-20. Senior guard Tweety Carter had a season-low two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
Baylor will now face Old Dominion in Saturday’s second-round game.