New York, NY (Sports Network) - The BYU Cougars will look to avenge a regular-
season loss as they tangle with the Baylor Bears in the semifinals of the
National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
The winner of this game advances to take on either Iowa or Maryland for the
tournament title on Thursday, April 4.
BYU holds a 5-4 all-time series lead against Baylor, but it lost, 79-64 to the
Bears earlier this season in Waco.
The Cougars have won each of their NIT games by double digits. First they
defeated Washington (90-79) and Mercer (90-71) at home. Then, they took their
talents on the road to take down Southern Miss, 79-62. BYU's strong showing in
the NIT is serving as redemption from their early exit from the West Coast
Conference Tournament due to an upset loss to San Diego. The tandem of Tyler
Haws and Brandon Davies has continued to provide plenty of scoring for BYU in
the postseason. BYU is in the midst of its 11th appearance in the NIT, winning
titles during the 1951 and 1966 seasons.
BYU consistently relied on Haws during the regular season and he usually
answered the call as he led the WCC in scoring at 20.9 ppg. Davies posted 17.6
points and 7.8 rebounds per contest while sophomore point guard Matt Carlino
added 11.3 points and 4.7 assists per outing. The most valuable performance
from the quarterfinals came from outside the trio though, as Brock Zylstra
accounted for 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the third-seeded
Cougars, shooting 5-of-9 behind the 3-point line along the way. Carlino
contributed 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds, followed by Davies, who
logged a double-double with 12 points and a team-high 13 boards in the
triumph. Haws made his mark with a game-high 25 points.
Baylor has a sensational scorer of its own in senior point guard Pierre
Jackson. The floor general has scored in double figures in 41 of his last 42
games and led the Big 12 in scoring (19.7) and assists (6.9). No player from a
power six conference has led the league in points and assists since Arizona's
Jason Terry in the 1998-99 campaign. Scott Drew's Bears have beaten Long Beach
State (112-66), Arizona State (89-86) and Providence (79-68) during their NIT
Against the Friars, Cory Jefferson scored a game-high 26 points on 10-of-14
shooting from the floor. Jackson registered a double-double for the Bears with
20 points and a game-high 13 assists, adding seven rebounds as well. Rico
Gathers checked in with eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds. Freshman
center Isaiah Austin tallied just five points on 1-of-7 shooting from the
field, but he contributed 13 points and six rebounds in both prior games.
Austin is an NBA prospect due to his rare combination of shooting touch and a
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