The Baylor Bears are headed to the Big XII championship finals for the first time in the conference tournament’s 13 year history.
The Bears had lost their previous 24 games against the Texas Longhorns.
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The Longhorns had seen the conference semifinals ten times, four in the last four seasons. This was only the second time Baylor had made it past the quarterfinals.
All these factors serve merely as an underscore for the historic 76-70 Baylor victory on Friday night in Oklahoma City.
Sophomore LaceDarius Dunn provided 16 points, most of which were crucial in the waning moments, and 4 rebounds. Kevin Rogers provided the Bears with 20, and Henry Dugat had 17 off the bench.
Texas struggled to get center Dexter Pittman involved in the game, though A.J. Abrams was ubiquitous, tallying 20 points on 8-17 shooting. The Longhorns looked strong in the early stages of the game, and led by six at halftime (39-33).
But these Baylor Bears never seem to quit. Not when they slid to a 5-11 conference record, not after losing 10 of their last 12 to end the regular season and certainly not on Friday night.
The Bears closed in on the Longhorns in the second half. Texas retained the lead for most of the frame, before Dunn hit a three with 1:13 remaining, to give Baylor the 67-65 edge.
A.J. Abrams launched an unsuccessful three that was corralled by Curtis Jerrels, who was instantly fouled.
Jerrells hit both free throws to extend the Baylor lead to four.
Abrams then hit a three from no-mans-land, to cut the lead to two, but it proved to be in vain. Dunn hit four subsequent free throws to seal the victory for the Bears.
Baylor will play either Oklahoma State or Missouri in the Big XII Championship on Saturday.
The contest will mark the first time Baylor has played for the conference championship.
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