SAN ANTONIO – Entering the NCAA tournament, sixth-seeded Baylor had the billing of being one of the field's most dangerous teams.
It lived up to that reputation Sunday, advancing to the Sweet 16 with an 85-55 rout of third-seeded Creighton at the AT&T Center before an announced crowd of 13,431.
All-American Doug McDermott, the favorite to be named Player of the Year who entered the game averaging 27 points, was held to 15 on 7-of-14 shooting. He had three points in the first half, hitting just 1-of-4 shots.
"I'm not sure if it was Baylor being that good or us being that bad or if it was somewhere in between," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "Over the course of a season, you're going to have a few clunkers, and we had one at the wrong time."
Baylor's length, size and athletic ability bothered Creighton, and it didn't help the Bluejays' cause that the Bears shot 63.6 percent in the first half, including 7-of-9 on 3-pointers, to take a 40-20 halftime lead.
"We thought we could maybe get a few easier looks from the perimeter to start the game," Doug McDermott said. "When we've done that all season, gotten off to good starts shooting 3s, it's always been a good game. But they made it tough. They forced us to get it in the middle of that zone, and it's hard to score over those guys they're so long and athletic where they challenge every shot in there. So to their credit, they took away what we do best and kind of controlled the tempo of the game and made it hard on us."
Royce O'Neale, Kenny Chery and Brady Heslip combined to hit 11-of-14 3-pointers for Baylor, who reached the Elite Eight in 2012. In contrast, Creighton finished 5-of-24 from 3-point land. Yeah, you could say the vaunted Baylor zone gave the Bluejays some problems.
"I thought their slides in the zone to take away Doug and Ethan [Wragge] were a little different than what they've done in the past," Greg McDermott said. "We got the ball to the middle of it, and at times we made plays and at times we didn't. The reality of it is when you try to go down low against [7-foot-1] Isaiah Austin, that's a challenge because of his length."
For the third consecutive year, the Bluejays failed to survive the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. For Doug McDermott, a senior who ends his career as the fifth-ranked scorer in NCAA history with 3,150 points, it wasn't an easy.
"This is the worst we've played all season, and it just stinks that it's the last one," he said.
The Bears, who started 2-8 in Big 12 Conference play, won the battle of the boards (32-22) and hit more free throws (14-of-21 to 6-of-9).
Baylor – which has won eight of nine, including tournament games – faces second-seeded Wisconsin on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.
Check out more NCAA tournament coverage on Yahoo Sports:
- Sports & Recreation
- NCAA tournament
- Doug McDermott
- Greg McDermott