Waco, Texas- Mark Vital finished his media appearance at the podium and asked MaCio Teague the question we all wondered after Teague finished 10-of-12 from three, “How does it feel to get 10? You tied the history.” Teague replied, “It felt great. A lot of the work I put in seemed to pay off tonight, but shoutout to the guys on the team. They kept finding me and telling me to shoot the basketball.”
Baylor’s had two magical 3-point performances in the last decade. In the 2012 NCAA Second Round against Colorado, Brady Heslip went 9-fo-12. And against TCU two seasons ago, Makai Mason went 9-of-12. Teague started 10-of-11. And having watched all of those performances, he was quite a bit better than the other two.
Mark Vital and Teague connected on what might have been the play of the season:
Teague offered a statement everyone should agree with, “I think that might have been my favorite play of the game.”
Vital’s intensity led to a wonderful save. After Teague drains the step-back three, Vital then exuberantly jumps and mimics Teague’s 3-point celebration. That sequence personifies the motto Baylor has: JOY—Jesus, others, then yourself. Vital goes all out saving that ball for Teague, then Teague is quick to credit Vital for that sequence. Vital said, “If I didn’t give it my all on that play—knowing I could get it—I’d have been sick;knowing I could get that ball, I’d have been sick. What better way than to hit MaCio and a senior...I was in Rodman mode, in worm mode and prove to a lot of people that I’m still the villain too.”
Drew saw, “That was an amazing hustle play. Two seniors leaving it all on the Ferrell Center. And first time being undefeated since 1948 (at home). Hopefully SportsCenter recognizes that one.”
Vital felt confident Teague would have this kind of day. He said, “I knew MaCio was going to have a special game because he felt in shootaround the hoop was super big from the jump.”
Some might wonder why Texas Tech didn’t just deny Teague the ball sometime around make four. After the game, Chris Beard said, “You can’t focus on one (guard), that’s what makes it tough.”
Teague scored in a bevy of ways. He launched off the dribble and off the catch. Whether a man was in his face, or he had enough space to consider the meaning of life before firing a shot, Teague seemed unstoppable. He made more shots than a bartender before last call.
Even inside the arc, Teague had it going today. After missing a free throw, he claimed his own miss, then paused in the lane before laying it in:
I asked Teague about that sequence, and he said, “We play, like our guards, we play in the post every day. Especially me, myself and Obim Okeke...we play out the post. We play 1-on-1 at least three, four times a week in the post. It wasn’t anything to get sped up about. I practiced it before.”
I asked Scott Drew if he thought he’d ever see a 3-point shooting performance better than Heslip or Mason’s 9-of-12 from beyond the arc. He said, “I tell you, when you’re seeing that, as a coach you’re like, ‘Get ‘em the ball, get ‘em the ball.’ our team does a good job finding the hot guy...what’s incredible is the toughness making shots. Probably half were really good looks, and the rest they were on a roll and made those buckets. MaCe was on his feet and getting up quick. When a player gets hot like that, it means they work hard at their craft. Not many people work harder than Makai, Brady or MaCio, and there’s a reason those guys made shots like that.”
With how well Teague played today, he’s now over 40% from three on the season. That makes six Baylor players that are shooting at least 40% from deep. Maybe that’s why Beard said after the game, “If those three starting guards play like that, they can win the whole thing.”
Teague had a choice this summer. He could have gone pro instead of returning for his fifth year of eligibility. He told me he met with multiple NBA teams and had a difficult decision. I asked him about how he feels about returning now, and he said, “Really happy, mainly because we’re winning as a unit. It’s not just about me. It’s about the entire team. I’m just really happy with my decision, and we’re champions. And we’ve obviously won a lot, and I’m happy with the winning so far.”