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Elite Eight: No. 1 Baylor drops No. 3 Arkansas to reach first men’s Closing Four since 1950

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Elite Eight: No. 1 Baylor drops No. 3 Arkansas to reach first men’s Closing Four since 1950

, USA TODAY
Published 12: 12 a.m. ET March 30, 2021 | Updated 12: 19 a.m. ET March 30, 2021

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SportsPulse: Baylor used to be primed to produce the Closing Four final year till COVID shut all the pieces down. Now they’ll acquire your entire thing says Scott Gleeson.

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A seven-decade drought has ended. 

No. 1 Baylor relied on its nation-most productive backcourt and seemed the phase as a national title contender in heading off Arkansas 81-72 on Monday in the boys’s Elite Eight. The Bears earned this technique’s first Closing Four berth since 1950. 

Baylor (26-2) seemed clear to keep aside the game faraway from the launch and built an 18-level lead. But Arkansas – the comeback group of this NCAA Tournament – wasn’t fazed. The Razorbacks took easiest thing about three fouls on Davion Mitchell (and most productive 9 first-half minutes) to cut the halftime deficit to eight after which cut the Bears’ lead to four with 9: 34 closing off a Moses Mopish lay-up.  

But Baylor saved scoring witch snatch buckets in the closing minutes. The Bears gotstops all sport – forcing 15 turnovers. Jared Butler, the first-group All-American guard who had struggled in previous video games, came across his groove with 14 aspects. But it definitely used to be MaCio Teague (22 aspects) who used to be carving by draw of Arkansas’ defense most to inject the group with vitality. Mitchell performed with 12 aspects, because the Bears’ backcourt trio as soon as extra came by draw of. The nation’s most productive three-level taking pictures group, Baylor performed 8-for-15 (53%) from beyond the arc. 

JD Notae led Arkansas’ offensive heed with 14 aspects off the bench, but he fouled out with 13: 38 closing. The Razorbacks (25-7) had reached the Elite Eight by storming back from broad deficits in every of their three victories – in the first spherical vs. Colgate, the 2d spherical vs. Texas Tech and the Candy 16 vs. Oral Roberts. But it definitely wasn’t going on on Monday, as main scorer Mopish performed 2-for-10 from the floor.

Baylor had an acknowledge for all the pieces Arkansas threw its draw. The Bears’ Closing Four path started in 2020. Baylor used to be a national title favorite and lock for a No. 1 seed sooner than the NCAA Tournament used to be canceled due to COVID-19. Unbiased about every player from the 2019-20 roster returned for 2020-21 – with the mission of capitalizing on a restored March Madness. 

Coach Scott Drew at final punched his mark to the Closing Four, after guiding Baylor to 5 Candy 16 trips and three Elite Eights. 

Practice college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson

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Elite Eight: No. 1 Baylor drops No. 3 Arkansas to reach first men’s Closing Four since 1950