The Bears shook off a first-half slump and sent the Wildcats packing by roaring back from a deficit that ballooned to as many as seven points. The Bears trailed 30-23 at halftime but turned on the turbo in the second half by attacking on offense and capitalizing off turnovers on defense. After going 2-of-12 from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes, they took only seven 3-point shots from beyond the arc and made one. That's a recipe for a top-seeded team to tumble.
Instead, Baylor switched course and thrived by putting the ball on the floor and going right at Villanova, converting its big deficit to a big lead by bouncing off defenders in the paint, scoring at the rim and getting easy looks around the bucket. As a team it made 17 of its 28 layup attempts, scored 40 points in the paint and converted 22 points off turnovers.
Without leading scorer Collin Gillespie, Villanova did not have the horses to run with Baylor and its offense even on an off day. Jermaine Samuels and Justin Moore had double-digit performances but the Wildcats struggled from 3 like the Bears, finishing 3-of-17 and fizzling with an 0-of-9 mark from distance in the second half.
While Baylor and its guard-heavy roster contributed to early struggles and the big halftime deficit, in fitting fashion, that same cadre of cool customers helped key the win. Davion Mitchell had 10 points and a pair of critical steals in the second half, Adam Flagler had 11 points and Jared Butler had four in that span. Most importantly, Baylor as a team committed one turnover in the second half and six for the entire game. To overcome a dreadful shooting performance, Baylor and its guards handled the ball like vets to keep things interesting before the lid popped off the rim broke midway through the second half.