No. 1 seed Baylor men’s basketball (19-14) defeated eighth-ranked Wagner (23-10), 80-59 in the first round of the NIT at the Ferrell Center. The Bears will continue their postseason run, facing the winner of the Nebraska and Mississippi State matchup in the second round of Waco games.
Baylor senior PG Manu Lecomte carried the Bears to victory with his game-high 24 points, shooting eight of 14 FGs, five of eight 3’s, and leading the team with six assists. Riding Lecomte’s shooting success, the Bears scored quickly, notching 21 points in the first quarter. They made 63.6% of FGs (7-11), 100% of 3’s (3-3), and 66.7% of FTs (4-6) in the quarter with each 3 shot by Lecomte, G Jake Lindsey, and F Nuni Omot. Despite the 3 point line moved out one foot due to NIT rules, the Bears shot extremely well, averaging 50% of their shots (10-20). Adding 19 more points to their lead, Baylor finished the first half with extra help from F Terry Maston and Lecomte’s three 3’s, averaging 47.1% of FGs (8-17) and 50% of 3’s (3-6).
The Seahawks led the offensive board race in the third quarter, benefiting from Baylor’s turnovers and scoring 16 points to the Bears’ 13. The Bears bounced back in the fourth quarter with a 17-4 run thanks to Lecomte and G King McClure’s drained 3’s and back-to-back layups by Maston and F Jo Lual-Acuil. Baylor’s 27 points in the final quarter helped add to their lead in the final victory. Five of the Bears scored in the double digits (Lual Acuil- 10 pts, Omot- 11 pts, Lecomte- 24 pts, McClure- 10 pts, and Maston- 13 pts) in the first round win.