CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Baylor clamped down on Coastal Carolina, either taking the ball away or forcing the Chanticleers into tough shots. That tenacity kept the Bears from becoming their latest upset victim.
MaCio Teague scored 21 points and Baylor pulled away to beat Coastal Carolina 77-65 on Friday night in a Myrtle Beach Invitational semifinal.
Davion Mitchell added 15 points and Jared Butler finished with 12 to help the Bears (4-1) earn a matchup with No. 17 Villanova on Sunday in the championship game.
“Teams that win championships early on, I think if you look at the track record, most of those teams have strong years and a lot of them make deep runs in the (NCAA) tournament,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “If you can string multiple days together, it shows you can win in March.”
Baylor trailed for the first 9 minutes of the second half before taking control with a 30-8 run, holding the Chanticleers (3-3) without a field goal for the final 8 minutes while forcing eight turnovers in that span.
Keishawn Brewton had 17 points for Coastal Carolina, which lost leading scorer Ebrina Dibba to a knee injury early in the second half. Coach Cliff Ellis said Dibba may have torn ligaments in his knee.
“Baylor took advantage and without him in the game, they got after us and we got a little shaky,” Ellis said. “Without Ebo we’re a totally different team.”
The Chanticleers were looking for a second straight victory over a Power Five opponent after routing Utah 79-57 in the quarterfinals, but they had 22 turnovers that Baylor turned into 19 points.
“Davion did a great job heating up the ball. He’s a one-man show up there, a one-man wrecking crew,” Teague said. “He does a great job making it easy on us because he’s such a great defender on the ball. We can key in on our defender because he’s a great defender.”
Coastal Carolina led 54-47 on Gumbs-Frater’s layup with 14½ minutes to play. Mitchell started the decisive run with a free throw and a 3-pointer, and scored nine points during the burst while Teague added eight.
Baylor: This was a character-building victory for the Bears, who rallied late to beat a feisty mid-major on its home floor. Baylor, which has four wins over the four mid-majors on its early-season schedule, now has a chance to make a statement for itself and for the Big 12 against the Wildcats.
Coastal Carolina: Another upset of a high-major program was within the Chanticleers’ grasp before that untimely cold spell. Of more pressing concern to them is the health of Dibba, a 12-point scorer who Ellis says may have torn his anterior cruciate ligament “and maybe more” while going up for a layup 4 minutes into the second half. He re-appeared later on the bench with a brace on his knee. Dibba scored 19 points in the victory over Utah.
Baylor doesn’t need Butler to take care of all of its scoring. The Big 12’s leading scorer had led the Bears in scoring in each of their first four games. This was his lowest-scoring game so far — he had at least 15 in every other game — but for the Bears, it was a positive to lean on someone else for a change.
Baylor: Faces No. 17 Villanova on Sunday in the championship game.
Coastal Carolina: Plays Mississippi State on Sunday in the third-place game.