Electricity was the name of the color of the uniform for the Baylor Bears Saturday night, and electric is what Brady Heslip was for Baylor. Playing a stingy Colorado defense, the Bears relied on 9 three pointers on only 12 attempts form Heslip to lead them to an 80-63 win, earning the Bears a spot in the Sweet 16 for the 2nd time in only 3 years.
Whether it was senior Quincy Acy, junior Pierre Jackson, or sophomore Perry Jones, Baylor could not seem to buy a bucket near the rim on Saturday night. No matter - they left the fate of their season in the hands of the sharp shooter Heslip who delivered with unbelievable precision.
Baylor will face the winner of the Xavier vs. Lehigh matchup in the Sweet 16, and if they can win one more, have a probable date with the Kentucky Wildcats, who will take on Indiana.
Despite critics barking at their heels all season long, Baylor has done nothing but win basketball games consistently. While falling short of the Sweet 16 would have been a disappointment, it was clear this was another banner year under Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew. Drew's teams seem to draw a bit of ire from those nationally on the college basketball landscape, but after knocking off heavy weight Kansas in the Big 12 tournament last week, and following that up with 2 victories in the NCAA Tournament to make the Sweet 16, Coach Drew has once again silenced all doubters.
A key moment in the 2nd half came when Coach Drew called for a switch to the zone defense that Baylor used to be known for in past games this season. Lately, the Bears had been more successful at running a man defense and showed that to Colorado most of the night. The switch to zone proved to be brilliant as Colorado was unable to convert with regularity the last 5 minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Heslip continued to nail 3 pointers, and was joined by a few key buckets from teammates Jackson, Acy, Miller and Anthony Jones.
As the Bears season continues, the Baylor coaching staff has to feel like they have more left in the tank. Star player Perry Jones struggled offensively in each of these first 2 games, and the staff knows if he can get going the Bears are really going to be a tough out.
With a nod to Boston College for letting Heslip go, and a glance to Colorado for departing the Big 12, the Baylor Bears once again stand tall in what is becoming known in many circles as the "Year of the Bear."