NEW YORK — Pierre Jackson had 24 points and 10 assists to lift Baylor back into the National Invitation Tournament title game for the second time in five years with a 76-70 win over BYU on Tuesday night.
Baylor’s Cory Jefferson scored 21 points and Isaiah Austin had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears.
Tyler Haws scored 25 points for the Cougars, who couldn’t buy a shot from 3-point range for much of the game. Baylor (22-14) pulled away in the final eight minutes or so, and then withstood a late furious rally by BYU, led by Matt Carlino on 5-for-15 3-point shooting. The rest of the Cougars (24-12) went 0 for 6.
Baylor was set to play the winner between Iowa and Maryland in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Carlino, who finished with 19 points, made three late 3- pointers to give BYU one last chance. His third one, with about 38 seconds to go, bounced three times on the rim and fell through to make it 71-68.
Jackson missed one of two free throws on the other end to make it a four point game. Carlino put up another 3, but this one finally bounced wide, and Baylor was able to finally finish off the Cougars.
The senior has been closing out his career in style, entering Tuesday’s semifinal averaging 19 points and 11.7 assists in the Bears’ three NIT games. For the season, he has led the Big 12 in scoring and assists, and is on track to be the first player to lead a major conference in both since Jason Terry at Arizona in 1998-99.
He helped personally close out the Cougars with about four minutes to play. He made a mid-range rainbow to give Baylor a seven-point lead. Then he sank a 3-pointer with three-and-a-half minutes to go for a 10-point lead that seemed to settle matters.
It was his third straight double-double and fifth of the season. He’s reached double figures in 41 of 42 games this season. Austin got his 11th double-double.
The Cougars were blown out at Baylor in December, but hung with the Bears for the first 30 minutes of this one, and even looked like the better team at parts in the first half.
Baylor went on a 7-0 run midway through the second half to take a five-point lead, but Brandon Davies made a pair of free throws, and Carlino made his first 3- pointer to tie it with about 7:30 to play.
But Jackson took over to put Baylor and coach Scott Drew in the NIT final a year after the Bears made the NCAA’s Elite Eight.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball