Baylor MBB Advances Past UCSB to NCAA Second Round

Baylor vs. UCSB
Photo credit: Kenneth Prabhakar – Baylor Lariat

The Baylor Men’s Basketball team followed the trajectory of last year’s NCAA appearance (though we hope for a better result for the next matchup!) as they advanced past UCSB in the round of 64 to move on to the second round! The Bears (23-10)—seeded at No. 3—challenged 14th-seeded UCSB (27-8) in the first round at Ball Arena in Denver to win 74-56! Baylor has struggled off and on throughout the regular season and conference postseason as they closed the former with a 22-9 record and exited the Big 12 tournament in the first game against Iowa State, against whom they’d lost three times this season. Head Coach Scott Drew rotated between 10 different athletes in the UCSB matchup to ensure the unfamiliar altitude levels wouldn’t negatively impact the players. According to Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa), the 74-56 victory was the team’s “fifth-straight opening-round win.” Despite UCSB shooting 61.56% (16-26) of field goals, 33.33% (2-6) of 3s, and 66.67% (2-3) free throws in the first half to outscore the Bears by one point as the Bears shot 53.85% (14-26) of field goals, 28.57% (2-7) of 3s, and 62.5% (5-8) of free throws, a second half run by Drew’s crew put Baylor on top! The team was led by redshirt senior G Adam Flagler, who had 18 points and 5 assists from shooting 70% (7-10) of field goals, 60% (3-5) of 3s, and 50% (1-2) of free throws to become the Bears’ all-time leading scorer in NCAA Tournament play with 120 total points. Junior G LJ Cryer followed with 15 points on 46.1% (6-13) of field goals, 16.7% (1-6) of 3s, and 100% (2-2) of free throws. Junior F Caleb Lohner had a season-high 13 points with 5 rebounds by shooting 100% (5-5) of field goals, (1-1) 3s, and (2-2) free throws for a perfect breakout night. The team finished shooting 54.9% (28-51) of field goals, 36.4% (8-22) of 3s, and 62.5% (10-16) of free throws. Baylor will face No. 6 Creighton in the second round on Sunday at 6:10 p.m (CT).