Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor Advances to Sweet 16 with 82-78 win over USC

The Baylor Bears defeated the USC Trojans, 82-78, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the last eight years.

Facing a 4-point deficit, the Baylor Bears big finish to their second round game with the USC Trojans centered on going small.  As All-American Johnathan Motley struggled with fouls in the second half, the Bears went to an uncharacteristically small lineup, moving senior small forward Ish Wainwright to power forward next to backup post player Terry Maston with 8:16 left in the second half.  

The Bears would hang tough, but a 4-point play by the smallest man on the court, Manu Lecomte, gave the Bears the lead for good and started a 8-0 run by the Bears junior point guard that took all of 46 seconds.  Struggling with his shot the first 75 minutes in Tulsa, Lecomte came alive when the Bears needed him the most.  Baylor would turn that into a 73-67 lead. 

In the end, it would be an 82-78 victory for the Bears, giving them a fourth Sweet Sixteen trip in the last 8 seasons under coach Scott Drew.  Baylor was led by Johnathan Motley's double-double, a 19 point, 10 rebound effort in limited minutes.  The Bears led by as many as 10-points in the first half, riding the career night for sophomore guard King McClure who scored 14 points in the first half.  McClure would end up with a career high 17 points on 6-10 shooting, including 5-8 from 3-point range. 

With Motley doing his work down low, TJ Maston  continued his excellent play from the first round, scoring 19 points on 7-13 shooting. The Trojans were led by Chimezie Metu, who had 28 points on 11-14 shooting, with Bennie Boatwright scoring 16 points.  

The Bears though were the tougher team inside, out-rebounding the Trojans 34-23, including 14 offensive rebounds.  Baylor time and time again were able to clean the glass and get second chance points. 

Baylor is now the third Big 12 team to advance to the Sweet 16, joining Kansas and West Virginia.  The Bears play next Friday night in Madison Square Garden, awaiting the winner of South Carolina and Duke. 

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