NEW ORLEANS -- It probably wasn’t a win befitting of a No. 3 seed.
Then again, with the way the lower seeds are pulling off upsets and the higher seeds are falling, who’s worrying about style points?
Not Baylor, which won its first NCAA tournament game in 60 years Thursday by pulling away from Sam Houston State in the final minutes for a 68-59 victory in New Orleans Arena.
“I think it’s more weight off anybody’s shoulders that’s a part of Baylor,” junior guard LaceDarius Dunn said. “But to come in and get this victory, it was awesome. We knew it had been a long time since they got one. But I think we did a great job of just coming in, and I guess, cutting the streak.”
Baylor's play was inconsistent and they looked pretty beatable for the first 37 minutes or so. But the Bears closed the game like a tournament-tested club.
"We call it Kobe time," Baylor junior forward Ekpe Udoh said. "So we just buckled down, stayed aggressive and pulled out the win."
Sam Houston State played a triangle-and-two defense against Baylor, and it took the Bears a while to adjust.
“We were shocked. We’d never faced anything like that,” Dunn said.
After taking 13 3-pointers in the first half, Baylor attempted just seven in the second half and scored 22 of its 38 points in the second half in the paint.
“Not many of us have been in this position, been to the tournament,” Udoh said. “I think it’s just three (players). So it’s good to finally get the first game out of the way.
“Now we can just stay aggressive.”