March 9, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Baylor pulled off the only major upset of the opening day of the Big 12 tournament with the best shooting performance any team has ever had at the event.
Curtis Jerrells scored a career-high 31 points and Henry Dugat added 25, sparking the 11th-seeded Bears to their first Big 12 tournament win since 2001, a 97-83 victory over sixth-seeded Missouri Thursday night at the Ford Center.
Led by Jerrells and Dugat, Baylor set a tournament record by shooting 63 percent. The Bears were 34-for-54 from the field.
The backcourt combo broke a 30-30 tie by combining for 15 straight points in a two-minute span late in the opening half, helping Baylor to a 48-35 halftime lead. The pair wound up scoring 28 points in a row for the Bears during the last 5 minutes of the first half and first 5 minutes of the second half.
Missouri (18-12) got three 3-point baskets from Matt Lawrence in the first 4 minutes of the second half to cut the Bears' lead to 53-50, but Dugat scored back-to-back buckets and Mark Shepherd added a hoop to run the lead to 60-50. Missouri never challenged from that point.
"We knew going it that it would be a game of runs. You could be up 20 or down 20 with their style of play. You just have to weather the storm," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Our guys were able to handle that early run and not panic and made sure that the early run (in the second half) didn't lead to a bigger run."
Jerrells, who has been visiting a dentist because of a sore tooth, said it was important for the Bears to shake off a habit of losing second-half leads.
"We just didn't want to go down like that again," Jerrells said. "We wanted to change the way we played."
"That's a rivalry game, so I know we'll be excited to be there," Drew said.
The Bears shot 60 percent from three-point range in avenging a 77-71 loss to the Tigers. Jerrells made 12 of his 17 shots and also led Baylor with seven rebounds. Dugat came off the bench to hit 9-of-11 shots.
Missouri had held the old record for field goal percentage at the Big 12 tournament, making 60 percent of its shots in a 2004 game.
It was the most points the Tigers gave up all season, but the third time they yielded at least 90.
"You've got to give them credit. We came out a little tight, and you can tell when you look at the stats," Tigers coach Mike Anderson said.
"They scored 97 points. That tells you getting into this setting I think maybe a little nerves were going. But at the same time, I didn't think we played the type of defense that has been typical of our basketball team all year long."
Lawrence and Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence had 13 points each to lead Missouri. Anderson said he thought an NIT bid "would be great for this basketball team."
"I've got a feeling, I said it before, we are headed for something, I don't know what," Anderson said. "Maybe that means going to the NIT. We'll see."