Baylor held a 12 point lead with 2:54 remaining. The offense had settled down and had only 1 turnover in the previous 4 minutes. The game looked well in hand. Baylor would never score again.
Then R. J. Hunter finally showed up.
In the following 1:20, Hunter went on a personal 9-0 run to bring the game within 5 with 1:24 remaining. In that same span, Baylor turned the ball over 3 times.
Kenny Chery was at the stripe at the 15 second mark with a chance to extend the 56-54 lead and ice the game. He missed the front end of the one-and-one. The Panthers took the ball down the court, scrambled around for a bit, and then Hunter, their NBA prospect that brought them back into the game, did this:
Baylor had a season high 21 turnovers.
Taurean Prince was a beast, especially in the 2nd half. He finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds. His two turnovers late, however, were killer. No other Baylor player reached double figures.
The Bears held a 40-22 advantage in rebounding, the biggest factor that counter-balanced the turnovers all game.
Given how Baylor had executed against West Virginia's pressure, Georgia State's pressure wasn't anticipated to pose a major difficulty for the Bears. I don't know what was different, but Georgia State harassed Baylor's ball handlers all game and expertly jumped pass after pass.
A couple of quick thoughts:
1.) Congrats to Georgia State and the Hunters. They played a terrific game. Before that final 13 point burst, Hunter had been held to just 3 points. He never gave up.
2.) Scott Drew does not deserve to be fired. He put his team in position to win the game, but they continued to make poor decisions that ultimately cost them the game. He did what he could.
3.) The Bears still had a tremendous season. Expected to finish 6th in the Big 12 and have to fight to get to the bubble, Baylor finished 4th and earned a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, also going to the Tourney in consecutive years for the first time in program history. Baylor will bring back nearly the entire roster next season, with the exception of Chery and Royce O'Neale. Good basketball is not dead in Waco.