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Mar 22, 2024 3:00 pm

Baylor spreads the offense around in decisive win over Colgate

baylor bears

MEMPHIS — It might have been a late-morning start Friday, but third-seeded Baylor was wide-awake and ready to go for its NCAA Tournament West Region first round game.

Four players scored in double figures and the Bears canned 16 of 30 3-pointers to dispatch 14th-seeded Colgate 92-67 at FedEx Forum.

Jalen Bridges scored a game-high 23 points for Baylor (24-10), which advances to the second round Sunday against either New Mexico or Clemson. Ja’Kobe Walter added 19, while Jayden Nunn tallied 15 and RayJ Dennis contributed 10 points plus nine assists.

Keegan Records paced the Raiders (25-10), which won 17 of 18 prior to this one, with 14 points. Sam Thomson added 11 and Patriot League Player of the Year Braeden Smith scored 10 points but it wasn’t enough against the Bears’ efficiency and brilliant long-distance shooting.

Baylor never trailed and led for all but 48 seconds. The Bears established their first double-figure lead less than 5 1/2 minutes into the game and led by at least 10 points for the game’s last 28:06.

Baylor blew things open after Colgate clawed within 31-23 on Thomson’s putback at the 8:28 mark. The Bears ripped off nine straight points as Dennis hit a pullup jumper in the lane and a 3-pointer, followed by two foul shots from Walter and Josh Ojianwuna’s layup for a 40-23 advantage with 5:34 left.

No matter what combination of players Raiders coach Matt Langel tried, the outcome was the same for most of the game. The Bears moved the ball well and got an open look, usually burying it. They connected on 57.9 percent of their shots for the day, averaging an insane 1.69 points per possession in the first half.

Baylor owned a 54-34 halftime lead after Yves Missi jammed home Dennis’ missed layup just before the horn. The Bears sank 63.3 percent of attempts in the half.

The Bears also earned a 33-24 rebounding advantage for the game.

Colgate shot decently at 45.6 percent but made only 5 of 18 3-point tries.

— By Bucky Dent, Field Level Media

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