MARCH MADNESS IN MEMPHIS: Baylor and Clemson Dominate in NCAA Tournament Opener

0
1026

In the kickoff to the NCAA tournament’s Memphis session, the expected Madness took a backseat as Baylor and Clemson sailed to comfortable victories. Here are recaps from Day 1 of the NCAA Regionals in Memphis.

Baylor cruised to an easy win over Colgate at the NCAA Regionals in Memphis on Friday, March 22. (Photo: William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

Baylor 92, Colgate 67

Baylor, holding the number three seed, left no room for surprises as they dominated Colgate with a 92-67 win in the day’s first game.

From the outset, Baylor asserted their superiority, taking a commanding 20-point lead by halftime and shutting down any hopes for a Colgate comeback. The Bears’ performance marked their sixth consecutive opening game victory in the NCAA tournament, a testament to the program’s consistency and head coach Scott Drew’s 21-year leadership.

Colgate, entering as the fourteenth seed, closed their season with a respectable 25-10 record. Despite a solid shooting performance at 46 percent from the field, Colgate found themselves outmatched. Head Coach Matt Langel praised Baylor’s execution, admitting the challenge in countering Baylor’s shooting prowess and strategic play.

Baylor’s victory was fueled by standout performances from Jalen Bridges, with 23 points and five rebounds, and Ja‚ÄôKobe Walter, adding 19 points. The team’s impressive 63 percent shooting in the first half set the tone for the rest of the game, with the Bears finishing at 57 percent and hitting 16 three-pointers.

Clemson rolled to an easy win over New Mexico. (Photo: William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

Clemson 77, New Mexico 56

In the day’s second game, Clemson thwarted any upset hopes by defeating New Mexico 77-56, advancing to the tournament’s second round. Despite a competitive first half, Clemson pulled away, leading by 14 points at halftime. Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell expressed pride in his team’s spirit and resilience, looking forward to the next challenge.

New Mexico ended their season with a 26-10 record, struggling from the field at just 30 percent. Despite outrebounding Clemson, the Lobos’ cold shooting day proved costly. Coach Richard Pitino acknowledged the difficulty in overcoming Clemson’s defensive discipline and size.

Clemson’s victory was led by Chase Hunter’s 21 points and six assists, with significant contributions from Ian Schieffelin and P.J. Hall. The team’s performance from beyond the arc and at the free-throw line underscored a well-rounded offensive effort.

Looking ahead, the stage is set for a compelling matchup as Clemson and Baylor will face off on Sunday at the FedExForum. With both teams coming off strong opening wins, anticipation is high for this second-round clash.