November 28, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) The Baylor Bears' No. 6 ranked defense in the country was on full display in the second half against Memphis.

Baylor held the Tigers to 19 percent (4 of 21) from the field in the half and went on to a 71-47 victory Thursday night at the Orleans Arena and advanced to the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational Friday night. Baylor will face Illinois (5-0) and its No. 1 ranked offense.

''It's going to be a war,'' Baylor coach Scott Drew said of the championship game. ''Second game of two days - it usually comes down to the team who executes.''

Against Memphis, Taurean Prince scored 20 with five rebounds and Royce O'Neale added 16 to lead the Bears, who outscored the Tigers 42-15 in the second half. Rico Gathers had eight points and 11 rebounds for Baylor.

''We kept our heads up,'' Prince said after the Bears trailed by six with 19:44 left. ''We stuck to our principles. We stayed aggressive and stayed out on their shooters and long rebounds led to fast break points.''

After the Bears were down 35-29, they outscored Memphis 33-7 in the next 12-plus minutes. Baylor's lead never got below 19 and grew to as many as 24.

''They were missing shots and we got out transition and we got it cranked up,'' Drew said. ''We knew they were a dangerous team from behind the arc. We knew they could come back. If we could bottle this - this would be great.''

Pookie Powell led the Tigers (1-2) with 13 points. In the second half, Memphis also was outrebounded 29-12.

''We just missed a lot of short shots,'' Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. ''We just didn't attack in the second half. Points off turnovers hurt us. We had a chance to extend the lead, but just couldn't put the ball in the basket.''

The Tigers shot 12 of 16 in the first half, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

Baylor scored the game's first eight points, and the Tigers responded with the next 10. The Bears later led 20-15 before Memphis went on an 8-0 run. With two seconds left in the half, Powell hit a top-of-the-arc 3-pointer putting the Tigers up 32-29 at halftime.


Baylor: The Bears are now 43-18 against non-Big 12 teams away from home under Drew. Baylor also won the Invitational's sister tournament in Dec. 2011, the Las Vegas Classic also at the Orleans Arena.

Memphis: The Tigers are 1-1 in the Invitational. After Friday, they are still not finished with the Invitational. They still host Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday in unusual scheduling to complete the four-game format.


Baylor plays Illinois Friday night in the championship game in Las Vegas.

Memphis takes on Indiana State Friday night in the consolation game in Las Vegas.


Baylor outscored Memphis 26-5 on second-chance points and 17-2 in points off turnovers. The Bears, who had eight turnovers, were 11 of 25 from 3-point range. Royce O'Neale was 4 of 6 from there.


This was the first time the teams met since the 1988 NCAA Tournament first round, when Memphis won 75-60. Memphis was 8-1 against Baylor coming into Thursday's game. Baylor is now 2-6 all-time against the Tigers. Their only other win came in Dec. 1977.

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