2021 NCAA Tournament Elite 8: #1 Baylor defeats #3 Arkansas 81-72 (3-29-21)

By: Lamonte Thomas

Headline Photo Credit: NCAA

Lamonte Thomas-LMS Network Colunmist & Co-Host of “Commonwealth Sports Talk“

Bigger. Faster. Stronger. That’s been the case for this Baylor team all season. MaCio Teague started hot with five of Baylor’s 7-0 run after the tip-off. Two consecutive threes by the Big 12 player of the year Jared Butler and Matt Mayer opened the lead 13-2. Arkansas found some bright spots via big man Jaylen Williams, who scored three buckets in the early going. It was Baylor, however, who took care of the basketball (0 turnovers to Arkansas 6 after 10 minutes of play) and found easy points in the paint– one of which a nasty no look from Davion Mitchell (no relation to Donovan) to Mark Vital, who flushed it down. The Bears led Arkansas 29-11 with 10 minutes left in the half. Though Butler and Teague combined for 21 first half points, the Razorbacks played some heavy defense to get back within eight at the half, as they trailed Baylor 46-38.

The lead was cut to five in the second half before Butler and Mitchell activated for Baylor once more. After falling behind by 12 again, Arkansas guard Davonte Davis fought back; with some crafty athleticism on offense and steady hands defensively, helping the Razorbacks bring the score to 62-58. Davion Mitchell responded with some moves of his own, getting a layup and finding Butler for yet another three, pushing the gap to nine with five minutes to play. Teague would connect on another three, and when he missed a shot off the glass on the next possession, Mark Vital slammed it home, flushing the dunk and the comeback from Arkansas on one accord. Davonte Davis and JD Notae finished with 14 points for the Razorbacks, but Teague’s 22 points and Baylor’s 17 assists and 9 steals did the trick for Baylor. They would break the 71 year drought since their final four appearance, beating Arkansas 81-72.