Adam Flagler scored 16 points, Davion Mitchell added 14 and No. 1 Baylor rallied past No. 5 Villanova 62-51 in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region on Saturday in Indianapolis.
The Bears (25-2) will face either No. 3 Arkansas or No. 15 Oral Roberts in the Elite Eight on Monday. It will be their first appearance in the Elite Eight since 2012.
Jermaine Samuels led Villanova with 16 points while Justin Moore added 15 and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had eight points and 12 rebounds. Without Collin Gillespie, who tore his MCL on March 3, the Wildcats (18-7) committed 16 turnovers.
Villanova entered this game averaging 8.8 turnovers per game, the fewest in the nation.
Both teams displayed intense defensive pressure and made each possession difficult as Villanova led 11-10 with 10:57 remaining in the first half.
Baylor scored the next eight points highlighted by MaCio Teague’s three-point play and a trey from Jared Butler for an 18-11 advantage.
The Wildcats came back with 3-pointers from Caleb Daniels and Moore to pull within one at 18-17. Samuels soon scored five points as Villanova extended its run to 13-0 and went ahead 24-18 with 5:04 remaining.
The Bears grabbed eight offensive rebounds, but shot 10 of 29 and trailed 30-23 at halftime. It was their fewest points in a half all season.
Baylor came out aggressive and scored the first four points of the second half to close within three.
Samuels responded with a three-point play and Villanova held a 33-27 advantage with 16:37 left.
Baylor tied the game at 39 when Teague drove to the basket and scored with 11:56 to go.
The Bears then surged ahead 47-41 with 7:00 left as their suffocating defense caused several uncharacteristic turnovers from Villanova.
Robinson-Earl grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with 6:17 remaining to close within 47-43.
Following another Villanova turnover, Butler hit a 3-pointer from the wing – Baylor’s first trey of the second half — for a 50-43 advantage with 5:30 left.
Flagler hit six free throws in the final minute to help seal the victory.
–Field Level Media
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