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Baylor Basketball

Baylor Basketball Scrapes Past VCU 69-61

November 25, 2021
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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – No. 6 Baylor Men’s Basketball (6-0) survived a challenge from the VCU Rams (3-3) Thursday in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals, winning 69-61. 

The game was within four points with only 15 seconds to go, but Baylor was able to distance with free throws and advance to the tournament finals against Michigan State (5-1) tomorrow morning at 10 AM CT on ESPN.

On a day where starting point guard James Akinjo struggled with 7 turnovers, Matthew Mayer, Kendall Brown, and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua stepped up with 15, 14, and 13 points respectively. 

Everyday Jon got Baylor started early with 9 first-half points, including a rainbow of a three from the left-wing. He was the brightest spot for a Baylor team with 3 first-half turnovers and a 37.5% field goal percentage in the first half.

The analyst calling the game on ESPN even said that EJ “plays the game the way God intended it.” That is pretty accurate in my opinion.

Despite the great individual performance, the Rams ended the first half on a 13-4 run to bring the deficit to only two points.

Baylor did start the second half better with Kendall Brown leading the Bears on an 8-0 run. However, VCU’s defense stepped up again and kept the game within single digits the rest of the way. 

Baylor fans, despite how much they trust Scott Drew and the team, had to be feeling the pressure In the final minutes, just like the Bears head been all day from the Rams’ defense. 

A big Mayer jumpshot, which could have been called a three but wasn’t, and an impressive Flagler layup were the big shots that helped Baylor hold off VCU.

Things got extra nervy at the end with a bad inbound pass from LJ Cryer stolen and scored to close the gap to four points with just 15 seconds left. 

The Bears hit enough free throws at the end to finish it out and win 69-61.

This was a hard-fought game from start to finish and Baylor won’t see many defenses this good for the rest of the year. The rotation decisions tonight should give fans a good idea of what the rotation for conference play will be.

The team has plenty of room to grow, but they have the grit necessary to pull tough ones like this out. 

The Bears are now 6-0 and face a tough Michigan State tomorrow morning in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.

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Baylor Basketball Scrapes Past VCU 69-61

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