Baylor’s first-half flurry propels Bears into NCAA Final

Baylor quickly made it clear that it would be playing for the NCAA national title on Monday night. 

The Bears went on an incredible 29-9 run over the final 12:48 of the first half to take a commanding halftime lead in a comfortable 78-59 win over Houston in Saturday’s semifinals of the men’s NCAA Final Four.

Houston pulled within five points of Baylor at 16-11 with less than 13 minutes to go in the half. Baylor’s lead was 10 less than two minutes later and expanded to 20 over the next 10 minutes. Two baskets in the final minute of the first half gave Baylor a 45-20 halftime lead and sucked all the drama out of the game. 

If Houston wanted to have a chance to beat Baylor it needed to do what it does best. The Cougars are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country and rebounding is one of Baylor’s (relative) weaknesses. But rebounding doesn’t accomplish much when you can’t put points on the board — even if you’re out-rebounding your opponent. 

Houston shot 27% from the field in the first half and got out-rebounded by nine. 

Yeah, it was that kind of night for the Cougars.

Baylor has been to the national championship game once before. That came in 1948 when the Bears beat Washington and Kansas State to advance to the title game against Kentucky. But the Wildcats won that game, 58-42.

If this Bears team plays anything like it did on Saturday night, it’s not losing by 16 points on Monday.

Baylor beats Houston

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