MaCio Teague scored 22 points and hit a pair of key late 3-pointers to propel Baylor to the Final Four with a 81-72 victory over Arkansas in the South Region final on Monday night in Indianapolis.
The top-seeded Bears (26-2) advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 1950 when the NCAA Tournament was just an eight-team tournament.
Baylor, set for its third Final Four appearance all time, will take on Houston in a national semifinal on Saturday night. The second-seeded Cougars (28-3) won the Midwest Region earlier Monday, beating 12th-seeded Oregon State 67-61.
The Bears led wire-to-wire against the third-seeded Razorbacks (25-7), who fell short of clinching their first trip to the Final Four since 1995.
Baylor’s Jared Butler finished with 14 points while Davion Mitchell scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Adam Flagler finished with 10 points.
JD Notae and Davonte Davis led the Razorbacks with 14 points each while Jalen Tate had 13 points. Moses Moody finished with 11 points, and Justin Smith added 10.
Notae, however, fouled out with 13:38 left in the second half.
Baylor continuously took advantage of Arkansas’ mistakes, scoring 21 points off 15 turnovers.
Arkansas, which trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, pulled within four points with 7:34 left in the second half. However, the Razorbacks missed their next 12 shots while Teague hit two 3-point to spark a 10-1 Baylor run that ended Arkansas’ hopes of a fourth consecutive comeback from a double-digit deficit in the tournament.
The Bears made 15 of their first 21 shots, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, and shot 53 percent (8-for-15) from 3-point range for the game. However, when Mitchell picked up three fouls and was forced to the bench, the momentum swung in Arkansas’ favor.
Both teams shot 48 percent overall.
Baylor jumped out to a 29-11 lead, but the Razorbacks shot 62.5 percent in the first half and closed the period on a 9-2 run to get within 46-38. Baylor was held without a field goal for the final 4:10 before the break.
–Field Level Media