No. 24 Baylor men’s basketball will face No. 17 Villanova on Sunday after pulling out a 77-65 win Friday against unranked Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers twice held leads of at least seven points, but the Bears were able to heat up at the end of each half to put the game away.
Redshirt-junior wing Mark Vital added 10 points and a game-leading nine rebounds off the bench to liven up the Bears ailing offense. The starting front court, junior Tristan Clark and redshirt-senior Freddie Gillespie, each struggled in the win. Clark registered two points, three rebounds and three turnovers in 23 minutes as he recovers from the non-surgical procedure on his knee last week, while Gillespie grabbed four points and one board in 19 minutes as he sat in foul trouble.
The first half began and ended ugly for Baylor, interrupted only by a 16-0 run after the Bears fell behind 21-12. Coastal Carolina jumped back to a 39-37 lead by the intermission thanks in large part to their 6-8 shooting from behind the arc.
The defense was lapsing in the first 20 minutes, as Baylor was out-rebounded 19-12, including giving up 42% of boards on the defensive end. Those offensive rebounds led to eight second-chance points for the Chanticleers as compared to only one basket for the Bears.
The two saving graces to keep the Green and Gold in it at the half were Coastal Carolina’s nine turnovers, as well as the play of redshirt junior MaCio Teague. The guard racked up 11 points, including three made shots from deep, while sophomore wing Matthew Mayer provided the second-most points in the first period with six.
With a -2 scoring margin in the first half, the Bears lagged for the first five minutes of the second before ripping off a 16-3 run which led to a +14 comeback. Baylor’s game control came into the picture after the break, grabbing 50% of the rebounds on the offensive end and allowing only three threes from the Chanticleers.
The Bears’ offensive efficiency picked up in the second half, with three players approaching double-digits. Sophomore guards Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler provided 12 and nine points, while Teague stayed hot with another 10, completing his season-high 21.
Baylor’s beach trip to the Myrtle Beach Invitational will come to a close at 4 p.m. Sunday in Conway, S.C. against No. 17 Villanova in the tournament championship game. The Bears’ first game against a ranked opponent this season will be aired on ESPN and streamed on the ESPN app.