Bears top Razorbacks in wire-to-wire win to secure first Final Four berth since 1950
Will face No. 2 seed Houston on Saturday for spot in title game
For the first time in 71 years, the Baylor Bears are dancing into the Final Four of this year’s March Madness NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Bears earned a number-one seed for the first time in program history coming into this tournament and became one of the nation’s final four championship contenders after their 81-72 win over the third-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks in the South Regional Final in the teams’ Elite Eight matchup on Sunday.
The Bears led the game wire-to-wire and jumped out to a 29-11 lead with 11:01 left in the first half after a free throw from 6-foot-8 sophomore Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, but the Razorbacks fought back as they had in their previous three tournament victories. Impressively, each of Arkansas’ tournament triumphs were come-back wins from double-digit deficits.
Arkansas got into a rhythm that carried over into the second half. The Razorbacks trimmed Baylor’s large lead to a much smaller, four-point advantage at 62-58 after Arkansas freshman guard Moses Moody scored on the break with 9:34 left in the second half.
The Razorbacks kept it close until Bears senior guard MaCio Teague tossed in two key 3-pointers, the last coming with 3:59 remaining in the second half, to extend Baylor’s lead back to double figures at 72-61. From there, the Bears held off Arkansas to secure the historic nine-point victory.
Teague led Baylor with a game-high 22 points while Jared Butler added 14 points. Davion Mitchell and Adam Flagler reached double-figure scoring for the Bears with 12 points and 10 points, respectively. J.D. Notae and Davonte Davis led Arkansas with 14 points apiece.
Up next for the Bears is their first Final Four matchup since 1950, and it will come against the No. 2 seed Houston Cougars, who defeated the surprising 12th-seeded Oregon State Beavers 67-61 in the Elite Eight. Each of Houston’s four tournament wins came against double-digit seeds while Baylor has ousted the likes of Hartford, Wisconsin, Villanova, and now Arkansas in each of their previous four tournament games. For more sports and outdoor coverage, click here.