Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

April 5, 2013

Baylor wins its first NIT title, over Iowa

Pierre Jackson leads Bears to 74-54 victory

NEW YORK — Pierre Jackson made the National Invitation Tournament his own.

The Baylor senior finished his college career in style with his fourth straight double-double, putting up 17 points and 10 assists to lead the Bears to the first NIT title in school history with a 74-54 win over Iowa on Thursday night.

"You can put his numbers up with any guard in the country," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "The bigger the stage, the bigger the moment, the bigger — better — he performs."

The point guard who transferred to Baylor from the College of Southern Idaho before his junior season was a shoo-in as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

"My emotions are really high right now," Jackson said. "I'm trying to relax in here."

Cory Jefferson scored 23 points and Isaiah Austin had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bears (23-14), who reached the tournament final five years ago, but never had won it before.

Mike Gesell led Iowa (25-13) with 13 points and Aaron White had 12. Hawkeyes star Devyn Marble was held to six points.

Baylor reached the title game with a disjointed, but ultimately winning, effort against BYU in Tuesday night's semifinal. The Bears looked much more complete on Thursday night, combining their offensive fluency with a pesky defense, led by senior guard A.J. Walton, that pressured Iowa on the edge and thwarted them inside with a tangle of long arms and legs.

"We're a driving team, we get to the free throw line more typically, and we just didn't do that tonight," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.

Austin had five of Baylor's seven blocked shots.

Jefferson threw down two rattling dunks in the first eight minutes of the half as the Bears slowly pulled away. Eric May's layup two and a half minutes into the half cut Baylor's lead to a point, but Baylor got out to an 11-point lead less than four minutes after that, thanks to a couple rattling dunks by Jefferson and a big 3-pointer by Jackson that made it 42-31.

Jackson made a 3-pointer with about 10 and a half minutes to play that put the Bears up 49-34, and the Bears never looked back.

After using a fast start and its characteristically tough defense to beat Maryland in the semifinal, Iowa began the second half on the wrong foot and spent most of the period just trying to keep pace. The Hawkeyes began the second half almost completely unable to make a basket, too, missing eight of their first 10 shots and 11 of 14 after the break, while Baylor pushed its lead out to double digits.

Iowa kept it close in the first half, going into the break down only five points despite being outshot 44 percent to 25 by Baylor.

Jackson led the Big 12 in scoring and assists, the first major-conference player to lead his league in both since Jason Terry did it at Arizona in 1998-99. He also finished his career with at least one 3-pointer in 48 straight games.

Just reaching the semifinals, let alone the title game, was a first for Iowa's program. Baylor lost the NIT title game to Penn State in 2009.

Walton left with cramping in his legs after colliding with May with about three minutes to play. Shortly after that, May came out of the game and the Iowa fans at Madison Square Garden gave him an ovation and chanted his name as he sat on the bench.

He won't be part of the Hawkeyes, who should look promising next season with most of their core players returning. Baylor could lose Austin and Jefferson to the pros, and Jackson and Walton will be gone.

But the Bears will raise a banner in Waco next season, and they had Thursday night to enjoy the men's program's first major title.

"The only thing I haven't done is get a hot dog at the hot dog stand," Drew said. "So that's how I'm celebrating."

 

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Alco beats Northern Alco beats Northern

    CRESAPTOWN — Ashleigh Eisentrout knocked in four runs to lead Allegany to an 11-2 win over Northern in Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference action Wednesday at Carl Belt Field, marking the 200th victory in the Camper head coaching career of Rick Twigg.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Allegany blanks Bishop Walsh

    CUMBERLAND — Colton Sivic and Dylan Shockey doubled and singled, and four pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout to lead top-ranked Allegany to a 7-0 win over Bishop Walsh Wednesday at Al Martin Field.

    April 16, 2014

  • Christopher Newport tops FSU 2-1 on Nicely’s RBI

    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A.J. Nicely’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a tie game and lifted third-seeded Christopher Newport to a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Frostburg State in the opening round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament Wednesday afternoon.

    April 16, 2014

  • FSU rallies, defeats Saint Vincent, 15-13

    LATROBE, Pa. — Malory Brunett, Megan White and Ellie Garner combined to score nine goals as Frostburg State rallied for a 15-13 women’s lacrosse victory over Saint Vincent on Wednesday afternoon.

    April 16, 2014

  • Sports Roundup - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

  • Sports Calendar - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

  • Jets Chris Johnson Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

    NEW YORK — Always fast on the field, Chris Johnson is looking to quickly prove his critics wrong.
    The New York Jets signed the former Titans running back Wednesday, a little over a week after he was officially released by Tennessee.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wizards vs Celtics Wizards head to playoffs with win

    BOSTON — Bradley Beal scored 27 points and Washington clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Quick-strike Keyser turns back Fort Hill, 6-4

    Keyser scored four runs in the bottom of the second and concluded the game with a bang-bang double play to defeat Fort Hill Monday in an Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference game at Keyser.

    April 15, 2014

  • Thompson leads Petersburg’s victory

    Marley Thompson had two hits, including a leadoff home run, to lead Petersburg over Pendleton County 9-1 on Monday evening.

    April 15, 2014