N.C.A.A. Final Four Live: Baylor all Over Houston
Jared Butler broke out in the first half for Baylor against Houston.
With a barrage of 3-point shooting and a stifling defensive effort, Baylor opened up a commanding halftime lead on Houston, 45-20, in the first national semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It was the most points Houston has allowed in a first half this season.
The Bears are halfway to the school’s first N.C.A.A. men’s championship game appearance since 1948.
“First and foremost, we know that this is only 20 minutes, so there’s 20 more minutes to go.” Baylor coach Scott Drew said on CBS. “We couldn’t ask for a better start the first 20 minutes, but it’s a 40-minute game. So we’ve got to come out, we’ve got to do what we did the first half, that’s share the basketball and get high-percentage shots and then we’ve got to do a great job on the defensive end.”
Jared Butler, a first-team all-America selection, had a masterful first half with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, along with 4 rebounds. Davion Mitchell distributed the ball brilliantly with 7 assists and 9 points. And Matthew Mayer also contributed 9 points off the bench.
Houston had been holding opponents to 28.3 percent shooting from behind the 3-point arc, while Baylor’s 41.1 percent clip from deep leads Division I. So far, Baylor is leading this battle by making 8-of-15 from deep. The Bears also had 12 assists on 16 baskets.
The Bears’ stingy defense also held Houston to 7-of-26 shooting. Marcus Sasser made six of Houston’s seven shots, with five 3-pointers, en route to 17 points.
Houston guard Quentin Grimes went scoreless after coming in averaging 18 points.
Baylor’s only losses this season were to Kansas and Oklahoma State. The Bears are seeking their fifth straight win since falling to Cade Cunningham and the Cowboys in the Big 12 Tournament.