Not much to say about this one, folks. The featured Omar Samhan-Ekpe Udoh match-up turned out to be, well, a dud. Samhan did outscore Udoh, but Udoh had a game high 11 boards to lead the Bears to an easy victory.
Baylor had this one from the opening tip, and although outscored in the second half, they were in cruise control from the get go knowing they would live to see another day.
See a complete wrap-up, including recap and player of the game after The Jump.
Baylor (3) - 72
St.Mary's (10) - 49
LaceDarius Dunn quickly got the ball back from Tweety Carter to complete the alley-oop dunk, then turned and flashed a wide smile.
Baylor was having all the fun Friday night, and now the Bears are only one victory away from the Final Four.
Dunn and Carter both made 3-pointers on their first shots and later hooked up on their highlight play as Baylor rushed to a huge lead. With a 72-49 romp over Omar Samhan and surprising Saint Mary's in the South Regional semifinal, the Bears have reached the NCAA tournament's round of eight less than seven years after a tragic summer nearly destroyed their program.
"That's the reason why we came here. To be a part of something special," Carter said. "It really means a lot to me, this team, this program, for us to come through all the adversity."
Baylor will play Sunday against top-seeded Duke, a 70-57 winner over Purdue later Friday night.
Dunn and Carter, two top Louisiana high school players who were recruited by other established programs, came to Baylor in the reeling aftermath from a murder and scandal that shook the world's largest Baptist university like nothing in its history.
Coach Scott Drew had to rebuild with reduced scholarships, a roster decimated when the top three scorers were allowed to transfer and an unprecedented half-season after the NCAA considered shutting the program down a whole year. Now that is finally starting to seem like a long time ago.
Led by Dunn and Carter, the team picked 10th in the preseason Big 12 poll by the league's coaches last fall still has a chance to win the national title. Dunn scored 23 points with four 3-pointers and Carter had 14 points.
"It's a good step for us, hopefully we can take a couple of more," said Josh Lomers, the only senior other than Carter on the roster. "Hopefully it can keep growing for decades in the future."
Player of the Game: LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor, 23 pts, 2 reb, 3 assists
Up Next: Baylor vs (1) Duke
|Final - 3.26.2010||1||2||Total|
|St. Mary's, Calif. Gaels||17||32||49|