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NCAAs in Memphis: No. 3 Seed Baylor Handles No. 14 Seed Colgate

The Baylor Bears huddle together in the first half of their game against Colgate.
The Baylor Bears huddle together in the first half of their game against Colgate.

In what was the first of four NCAA tournament first-round games hosted by the University of Memphis, the No. 3 seed Baylor Bears defeated the No. 14 seed Colgate Raiders, 92-67.

"We've had a top-five offense most of the year, and we know we're efficient," said Baylor Coach Scott Drew. "It's nice to finally play somebody that doesn't know every tendency, every set, everything you do."

Baylor entered the tournament 23-10 led by star freshman and potential lottery pick Ja'Kobe Walter and redshirt senior RayJ Dennis.

The day before the game it was announced that Baylor guard Langston Love would miss the contest with an injury.

Colgate came into the contest at 25-9 off their fourth consecutive Patriot League championship. The Raiders are led by sophomore guard Braeden Smith.

Both teams brought a fair number of fans, as well as a band and cheer squad. For Colgate, the University of Memphis' own Mighty Sound of the South filled in as pep band because Colgate's women's hockey team is in the Frozen Four, so their band traveled to that event.

Ten minutes before tip-off, the crowd at FedExForum looked similar to that of a Memphis regular season AAC matchup, with large chunks of the lower bowl empty.

Baylor's two star freshmen controlled the contest in the early going. Yves Missi and Ja'Kobe Walker scored the Bears' first 10 points.

The Baylor defense struggled against fifth year senior Keegan Records, who scored Colgate's first six points. At the first media break, Baylor led 13-6.

Records was the only thing working offensively for the Raiders, who used a timeout two minutes after the media thanks to an 8-2 Baylor run.

The difference in length and speed was noticeable throughout the game. Despite Colgate contesting some of Baylor's looks quite well, the Baylor players were able to comfortably get into rhythm on their jumpers.

At the under-12, The Bears led 23-12.

Colgate found some life offensively, but their defense continued to struggle to defend Baylor's athletic wings. At the under-eight, Baylor led 33-23.

Baylor began to create major separation as their athleticism was too much for Colgate. At the half, Baylor led 54-34. Ja'Kobe Walter led the Bears with 15 points.

"This is a new season, you know," said Walter. "Coach showed us a bracket, it was just us and Colgate. It was just the next game up."

The Raiders came out of halftime on a mission, forcing Baylor coach Scott Drew to call a timeout after an 8-3 burst.

Colgate's run would be short-lived, as Baylor pushed their lead back out to 20 points at the under-12 media timeout.

The Raiders struggled to contest three-point shots, and both teams traded a string of threes with Baylor extending their lead.

Colgate attempted to press Baylor, but Jalen Bridges took over for the Bears, keeping the Raiders at bay.

With 1:51 to go, Colgate subbed out its senior core who made four NCAA tournament appearances together.

"They played with great confidence and freedom and made us pay for every mistake that we made," said Colgate Coach Matt Langel.

After a three buy walk-on Austin Sacks, Baylor won 92-67.

After a dominating victory, Baylor advances for the fifth consecutive season; extending the program record. Meanwhile, this marks the fifth consecutive tournament the Colgate Raiders have been eliminated in the first round.  

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