With the help of 38 made free throws and a 37-25 edge on the boards, sixth seeded Baylor advanced passed eleventh seeded Nebraska 74-60 to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Pleased to be able to advance to a very good Nebraska team,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said.
Nebraska was called for 31 personal fouls, leading to 48 Baylor free throw attempts, while the Huskers only attempted 16 shots from the charity stripe, and the disparity helped lead to the ejection of Nebraska head coach Tim Miles.
The Huskers missed nine of their first ten shots from the field, allowing Baylor to jump out to a 12-3 lead. Despite shooting just 33 percent in the first half, the Bears led 29-16 at halftime because Nebraska hit just 23 percent of its shots, missing all 11 three point attempts, while canning just four of nine from the free throw line.
“We were pretty active,” Baylor senior guard Gary Franklin said. “We knew where the shooters were, and the guys that we felt were going to hurt us from the outside, we backed off and played the shooters more, and I think that helped a lot, along with our length.”
Franklin led Baylor off the bench in the game’s first 20 minutes with seven points, which equaled the output from Nebraska’s Shavon Shields. He finished with eight.
Isaiah Austin was held without a point in the first half, but opened the second with a three to push Baylor’s lead to 16 points. Nebraska answered with a 13-6 run to get the game back into single digits, but then the Bears took over.
With 13:56 left in the game, Nebraska guard Terran Petteway was whistled for his fourth foul. After Austin knocked down two free throws, Huskers head coach Tim Miles was given a technical foul. Kenny Cherry knocked down the free throws to make it 42-29 and then Austin made two more free throws to get the Baylor lead back to 15.
Baylor was shooting just over 67 percent from the free throw line entering the game, but on Friday they hit close to 80 percent, but that didn’t surprise Frankilin.
“We’ve done a lot of things in practice,” he said. “Shooting competitions, making a hundred free throws a day. A lot of things in practice that our coaches have come up with to allow us to have more confidence from the free‑throw line, and lately it’s paying off tremendously”
A Benny Parker three-point play brought the lead back to 12, but Baylor scored the game’s next eight points, which included a couple of free throws after Miles was assessed his second technical foul with 11:17 left to play. Nebraska used a 11-0 run to get the Baylor lead back to nine with less than three minutes left, but the Huskers never got any closer.
Petteway led Nebraska with 18 points. Cory Jefferson scored 16 for Baylor, while Austin added 13. Brady Heslip scored 12 despite shooting just 1-of-7 from the floor. He made all 10 of his free throws.
After qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998, Nebraska finishes the season 19-13. They have still never won a game in the big dance.
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