LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The No. 5 Baylor Bears (3-1, 0-0) stumbled for the first time in an 86-79 loss to the No. 16 Virginia Cavaliers (3-0, 0-0) in the opening game of the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas.
It was a tale of 2 halves. In the first 20 minutes, the game was very tightly contested with the Bears leading at the break by 3. Baylor took care of the ball and was led in scoring by their talented backcourt. The first frame was relatively low scoring and Baylor was forced to settle for numerous desperation heaves as they struggled to handle the hard hedges that UVA was using against pick-and-roll sets.
The 2nd half started with an onslaught from the Cavaliers who, after going 1/2 from deep in the 1 st half, started the 2nd making 8 of their first 9 attemptedzzzzzzzzzzzz three-pointers as part of a 25-2 run where the Bears’ offense went completely silent and the Hoos could hardly seem to miss.
The deficit was as high as 23 points in the 2 nd half before the Bears started to battle back behind heroics from Keyonte George (20 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals) and Caleb Lohner (11 points and 5 rebounds off the bench). George fouled out with about 2 minutes remaining, potentially thwarting the comeback effort. The Bears did get the Virginia lead down to just 6 with about a minute remaining, but the Cavaliers were simply too good from the free-throw line. In fact, Virginia had a +21 advantage in free throw attempts in the game due, in part, to a pair of flagrant fouls assessed against Baylor (George and Lohner the culprits).
Heavy rotation players, Jalen Bridges (2 points in 22 minutes played) and Dale Bonner (4 points in 23 minutes played and some costly mistakes) struggled to find their footing against UVA’s tough defense.
LJ Cryer (19 points and 4 assists) and Adam Flagler (15 points and 7 assists) had relatively strong performances in the loss. Langston Love only saw 4 minutes of action begging the question about his place in the guard rotation moving forward.
Overall, Baylor had both a positive rebounding margin and a positive turnover margin. Further, the Bears shot the ball well (48% FG, 42% 3P, and 86% FT).
Baylor’s next game will come on Sunday, November 20, 2022, at 4:30 PM CT in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they’ll take on UCLA. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. The Bears will be looking to get back on track before Thanksgiving.