Baylor uses second-half surge to pull away from upset-minded Coastal Carolina

CONWAY, S.C., November 22, 2019 – The combination of some choice halftime words and an unfortunate second-half injury enabled No. 24 Baylor to post a 77-65 comeback victory over host Coastal Carolina in Friday’s second round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Bears will play No. 17 Villanova on Sunday for the tournament championship.

Less than 24 hours after upsetting Utah in Thursday’s opening round, Coastal Carolina (3-3) appeared poised to do it again against Baylor (4-1). The Chanticleers roared out to a nine-point lead less than seven minutes into the game, and still maintained a 54-47 advantage early in the second half.

But two events occurred that changed the direction of the game. First, Baylor coach Scott Drew gave a halftime talk that apparently helped refocus his team. The Bears’ shooting improved from 45 percent in the first half to 52 percent in the second, while their defense went from allowing the Chanticleers to make 56 percent of their first-half shots to 45 percent in the second.

“We got a good talking-to at halftime,” said Baylor junior Mark Vital, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. “Then (in the second half) we came out and played hard and executed the game plan.”

Meanwhile, the Chanticleers saw their plans come undone when point guard Ebrima Dibba, who had six assists and was leading Coastal’s defensive efforts, went down with a knee injury. Unable to regroup on the fly, Coastal was outscored 33-10 over a 12-minute span and failed to make a shot from the field for the final eight minutes of the game.

“When we lost him, it took a lot out of us,” Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said. “Without him in the game, Baylor took advantage of it and got after us, and we got a little shaky. We were just a totally different team.

“It’s very unfortunate. I sure liked the way our team was playing. It’s tough when you have this kind of opportunity, and then to have that happen. We were thrown for a loop without him.”

Baylor was led offensively by Macio Teauge’s 21 points. But Teague gave much of the credit for the Bears’ second-half turnaround to the defense played by fellow guard Davion Mitchell, who had three steals.

“Davion is a one-man show (on defense), a one-man wrecking crew,” Teague said. “He makes it easy for us because he’s such a great defender on the ball, we can key in on other things.”

Despite their second-half scoring drought, the Chanticleers still had five players score in double figures, led by Keishawn Brewton with 17.

Utah 80, Ohio 66: As far as Utah was concerned, free throws meant free points, as the Utes went 27-of-28 from the foul line in defeating Ohio in the second round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

The Utes (4-1) trailed 20-19 midway through the first half, then went on a 22-6 run to take a 41-26 lead. They maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way, partly because they consistently made their foul shots. Timmy Allen paced Utah at the line by going 9-for-9, accounting for nearly half of his team-high 19 points.

“They’re called free for a reason, and I think oftentimes they get overlooked,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “And it’s not just the fact you make most of them, it’s the one-and-ones. (Thursday night) against Coastal Carolina, we missed the front end of two one-and-ones just before halftime, and that was an opportunity for us to take a lead. So those little things can add up. Getting 27 points (at the line) is remarkable for our guys.”

Even though the Bobcats (3-3) never were able to cut the deficit to less than 10 points in the second half, they kept things interesting with a late 14-6 after the game appeared to be decided.

“We never give up,” Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. “We just couldn’t quite get over the hump. We fouled too much and gave up too many points off turnovers (26). But our guys competed and battled. We just have to continue to learn from this.”