As soon as Mitchell returned for all 20 mins of the second one 1/2, he had quite a few time to lend a hand his group reply to the rush from Arkansas. The Bears’ protection fended off the Razorbacks’ comeback bid, and Trainer Scott Drew’s workforce earned a joyous night time with the 81-72 win on Monday evening at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Drew had led this program to the Elite 8 two times ahead of, however every time, the Bears didn’t advance to the elusive ultimate weekend of the match. For the primary time in 71 years, they now have a Ultimate 4 date scheduled for Saturday in opposition to No. 2 seed Houston.
When requested in regards to the emotion of this momentous accomplishment, Drew stated: “Simply natural pleasure, pleasure, clearly drained as it’s past due and it was once an emotional sport. However seeing our guys have a possibility to chop down a web and have a good time, it doesn’t get a lot better than that come March.”
The Bears, who every now and then showcased their excellence on each ends of the ground, discovered a steadying presence in MaCio Teague. The senior scored 22 issues, highlighted by way of his pair of game-sealing three-pointers past due in the second one 1/2, with the primary coming when Arkansas handiest trailed by way of six. And with the second-half go back of Mitchell and a well-rounded roster, the Bears fought off a third-seeded Arkansas squad that had navigated double-digit deficits conveniently right through its prolonged keep in Indianapolis. The Razorbacks, who trailed by way of as many as 18 issues all the way through the primary 1/2, may just by no means claw inside one ownership.
Teague and Mitchell each transferred to Baylor in 2018, and Teague stated they envisioned this second. “In the event you let Davion inform it, he’s going to inform you that he’s the rationale I got here to Baylor,” Teague stated. “However on a significant word, regardless that, he did textual content me and say that if I got here right here, he felt like shall we make it to a Ultimate 4. And we’ve finished that.”
3 years later, Teague rankings greater than 15 issues in keeping with sport for the Bears. He made the ones vital three-pointers. Mitchell is a defensive pressure. Drew thinks he’s the most productive defender within the country — and in the second one 1/2 in opposition to Arkansas, Mitchell couldn’t be as competitive at the ball as same old as a result of his 3 fouls.
“He’s a nightmare to convey the ball up in opposition to,” Drew stated. “He units the tone for our protection. He’s the tempo automobile. Everybody sees him operating, in order that ends up in everyone else operating. In order that power he brings.”
Baylor’s protection held Arkansas to 36.7 p.c capturing in the second one 1/2, and the Razorbacks neglected all seven in their makes an attempt from deep after the smash. As soon as the Razorbacks trimmed the deficit to 4 with nine:34 left within the sport, they neglected their subsequent 12 pictures.
Teague stated the Baylor avid gamers knew the Razorbacks had been “the comeback youngsters,” however he and his teammates have “been within the hearth ahead of.” In order that they had been able and carried out properly past due.
“We knew they had been going to make a run at us as a result of that’s what they do,” Drew stated. “That’s what any group within the Candy 16 and Elite 8 will do. They’re well-coached they usually don’t wish to move house both. Credit score our upperclassmen for now not panicking. I assumed each and every time they made a gigantic play, our guys truly responded.”
The Bears’ offense, probably the most perfect within the nation, completed capturing 48.four p.c from the sector and eight for 15 from three-point vary. Jointly, they confirmed their vary and intensity right through the night time and handiest had occasional moments of vulnerability. And Baylor’s protection helped provide extra scoring alternatives by way of forcing 15 turnovers.
After falling in the back of early, the Razorbacks’ glimmer of hope arrived by means of Michell’s foul hassle. Mitchell, probably the most perfect defenders within the country, had already helped his group construct a double-digit lead when he substituted out after selecting up a couple of fouls fewer than 4 mins into the sport.
The Bears couldn’t prolong their merit with out Mitchell, however as soon as he returned a couple of mins later, Baylor once more stormed forward. Then got here the scary 0.33 foul, with nonetheless such a lot time to play on this vital sport. Mitchell may just handiest watch the general eight:21 of the 1/2. Baylor’s 15-point lead withered to only 8, with the Razorbacks swinging the sport in the ones final mins.
Arkansas made 10 of 12 box objective makes an attempt after the midpoint of the primary 1/2, whilst Baylor appeared disoriented. Junior guard Jared Butler mishandled the ball, and Davonte Davis stormed down the courtroom for a layup — the beginning of a dark stretch wherein the Bears dedicated turnovers on 4 in their final six possessions ahead of the smash.
However as soon as the groups returned, Baylor’s protection clamped down. Arkansas main scorer Moses Moody, a standout freshman guard, didn’t make a basket till the second one 1/2. He completed with 11 issues on 2-for-10 capturing. Arkansas guard JD Notae, who scored 14 issues in simply 15 mins off the bench, fouled out along with his 5th approaching a rate name and 13:38 nonetheless left within the whistle-heavy sport.
All the way through the match, the Razorbacks replied when down. However they hadn’t confronted a group of the caliber of Baylor, a squad with poise and a handful of veterans who can ship. And so the Bears’ evening ended with confetti and items of self-trimmed items of netting tied to their regional championship hats.