NEW ORLEANS -- When Sam Houston State's Ashton Mitchell drove the lane and dropped in a layup to tie Baylor at 55-55 with 3:48 remaining in their first-round NCAA tournament game, the No. 14 Bearkats could smell an upset of the No. 3 Bears.
But, Baylor Bears had been here before, playing tightly contested games all season. Remember, through 33 games entering the contest with Sam Houston, the Bears hadn't lost by more than seven points and they had seven wins by five points or less, so they understand the pressures of crunch time.
Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh said the team has a name for it.
"We call it Kobe time," Udoh said. "So we just buckled down, stayed aggressive and pulled out the win."
The Bears channeled the Lakers superstar after Mitchell tied it up, going on an 8-0 run over the next 2:44 for a 63-55 lead with 1:04 to go.
Udoh, A.J. Walton and Quincy Acy all came up with key steals. The run finally sprang LaceDarius Dunn, who scored six of his 13 points in the stretch. Sam Houston's surprising triangle-and-two defense caused Dunn and Tweety Carter problems throughout the game.
The Bears just might need to turn to "Kobe time" in Saturday's second-round game with a trip to the Sweet 16 in Houston on the line. No. 11 Old Dominion Monarchs pulled out a 51-50 win over No. 6 Notre Dame on Thursday.
Saturday's tip time is 4:50 p.m.