Bears prove Elite again
Acy leads Baylor to regional final
ATLANTA - Quincy Acy picked up the slack for his roommate to help push Baylor to another regional final.
The 6-foot-7-inch senior had a double-double on an off night for the sharpshooting Brady Heslip as the Bears moved their attack inside to beat Xavier, 75-70, Friday.
“I think I got a little of that magic from him,’’ Acy said.
The Baylor post players were not double-teamed most of the game and Acy took advantage of it to the tune of 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Pierre Jackson had 16 points and 10 assists and Perry Jones III added 14 points for Baylor, which advanced to the its second regional final in three years.
“You stay with Brady, that means we’re one-on-one down in the post, and you see what happens,’’ said Baylor coach Scott Drew.
Heslip, coming off his career-high 27 points on nine 3-pointers in Baylor’s second-round win over Colorado, made only one trey against Xavier. He finished with 11 points.
Acy made 8 of 11 shots from the field and each of his four free throws, including two with 31 seconds remaining after Xavier cut the Bears’ lead to 6 points.
Acy, Baylor’s only starting senior, has his second chance to help the Bears win a regional final. Baylor also won three NCAA tournament games in 2010 before losing to eventual national champion Duke.
On Sunday, the Bears (30-7) play Kentucky in the South Regional final.
“We’re just looking forward to go a little farther and make a little history,’’ Acy said.
Baylor led by 18 points less than eight minutes into the game.
Xavier (23-13) played from behind all night, but never quit. The Musketeers cut the lead to 3 with 22 seconds remaining.
“Down the stretch there, we made it a little closer than it needed to be with some careless turnovers, but credit them for not giving up and fighting through,’’ Drew said of Xavier.
The Musketeers were 0 for 11 on 3-pointers before Justin Martin hit with two minutes remaining. He added another three 40 seconds later, and Tu Holloway’s three with 22 seconds remaining cut the lead to 71-68.
Heslip’s four free throws in the final 17 seconds protected the lead.
Xavier couldn’t advance after making the round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.
Holloway led Xavier with 22 points, while Kenny Frease had 18 points and Mark Lyons had 16.
With Xavier stretching its defense and Baylor working the clock, Jackson sank a 3-pointer with 2:50 remaining to give the Bears their biggest lead of the second half at 65-54.
Following a missed free throw by Lyons, Acy’s basket pushed the lead to 13 points - too much for the Musketeers to overcome.