Chase Hunter scores 20 as Clemson beats Baylor 72-64 in 2nd round of NCAA tourney

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Chase Hunter had 20 points and six assists, and No. 6 seed Clemson held off third-seeded Baylor for a 72-64 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

The Tigers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in coach Brad Brownell’s 14 seasons. They also made it in 2018, when they lost to Kansas in the third round.

“This was a big win for us,” Brownell said. “Baylor’s obviously a very talented, well-coached team. So for us to play the way we did, I thought our defense was outstanding throughout. And that was a big key in both of our wins here in Memphis.”

Joseph Girard III scored 13 points for the Tigers (23-11), and Ian Schieffelin and PJ Hall each had 11.

Next up for Clemson is No. 2 seed in Arizona in the West Region semifinals in Los Angeles. The Wildcats advanced with a 78-68 victory over Dayton on Saturday.

RayJ Dennis led Baylor with 27 points, including 21 in the second half. Ja’Kobe Walter added 20 points, but the Bears (24-11) lost in the second round of the NCAA tourney for the third straight year.

Baylor went 16 for 26 at the foul line, compared to 20 for 24 for Clemson.

The Tigers controlled the game through the first half and most of the second. They opened a 61-46 lead on Schieffelin’s wild layup with 6:41 left.

Schieffelin flipped the ball over his head, and it somehow went in the basket as he was fouled. But he missed the ensuing free throw.

“I just wanted to get a shot up and try to draw a foul,” Schieffelin said. “I was on the ground and looked up, and it went in. If I took that 10 more times, I don’t know if I make it. But it went in when it mattered.”

Baylor coach Scott Drew tried to rally his team during a late timeout.

“I said: ‘Let’s have the best comeback of the NCAA Tournament.’ I think they were excited about that,” Drew said.

The Bears responded. Walter’s three-point play trimmed Clemson’s lead to 64-62 with 2:19 to go.

Baylor had a chance to tie the game with 36.2 seconds left, but Walter missed two foul shots. RJ Godfrey then made four free throws and Girard hit two to help Clemson close it out.

The Bears struggled from 3-point range after their long-distance shooting played a big role in Friday night’s 92-67 victory over Colgate. They went 6 for 24 from deep against the Tigers after going 16 for 30 from 3 in their opening game in the NCAA tourney.

Clemson concentrated on taking away the long-range shot and when Baylor took the ball inside, they were met by a scrum of Tigers.

Brownell said the first priority was limiting 3-pointers.

“I thought we did as good a job as you can,” he said.

Baylor also finished with seven assists and 10 turnovers.

“I think it was just making sure we got big baskets when we needed them,” Hunter said of holding off the Bears. “Getting big stops when we needed them. We knew they were a great team. They were going to go on runs.”

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: The Tigers shot 52% (13 for 25) on their way to a 35-25 lead at the break. They held on at the line.

Baylor: Dennis was 2 for 10 from 3-point range, and Walter was 3 for 9. Walter also went 5 for 11 at the line.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness

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