Baylor’s Brady Heslip (5) reacts to one of his three-point plays against South Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday in Waco, Texas. Leaving the court is South Carolina’s Duane Notice (10). Baylor won 66-64.
WACO, Texas — Really, it seems only appropriate that No. 23 Baylor had to wait out a lengthy review before officials determined that the game ended just before yet another foul.
Brady Heslip scored 18 points with five 3-pointers and the Bears held on for a 66-64 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday, even without making a field goal in the final 7 minutes and after the foul that came following the final buzzer while the Gamecocks tried desperately to get a tying field goal.
“A foul occurred but it was after the horn,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “So there were zeroes on the clock. I was happy with the response.”
Sindarius Thornwell got off two wild shots in the final 4 seconds for South Carolina (1-1). Michael Carrera then grabbed a rebound and went back up, drawing contact that led to a whistle that was almost simultaneous with the buzzer.
The officials then took several minutes to review the video, before speaking with both coaches and then declaring that the game was over.
“Those guys did a great job. I haven’t seen the play, but those guys manage games,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.
Even without the extra foul that would have sent Carrera to the line with a chance to force overtime — he was 6 of 6 on free throws in the game — there were 55 fouls called. There were only a total of 37 field goals, none in the final 4 minutes.
The Gamecocks didn’t score again after Thornwell, who finished with 20 points, penetrated around 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin for a short floater with 4:20 left. That tied the game at 64.
While Baylor (2-0) shot only 54 percent from the free throw line (22 of 43), the difference was free throws by Royce O’Neale with 2:02 left and by Kenny Chery with 20 seconds left that set up that crazy final segment.
“The good thing is free throw shooting is the one area that tends to get better throughout the season and the one thing we’ve practiced more this year,” Drew said. “Free throws are the most mental thing in the game. It’s like someone gets a cold in your house. It spreads.”
South Carolina had a chance to take the lead with 2:27 left when Tyrone Johnson had a steal and breakaway, but he missed the layup.
“Just no excuse. I missed the layup. I could say that I was running too fast, this and that, but there’s just no excuse,” said Johnson, who finished 1-of-7 shooting for eight points with eight assists. “As the point guard, as the leader, I’ve just got to come through and make the layup.”
O’Neale’s free throw finally broke the 64-all tie. South Carolina then had a shot-clock violation, when Brenton Williams had to throw up a long shot and missed the rim after the ball had been knocked out of bounds with 4 seconds left on the shot clock.
Carrera blocked a shot by Cory Jefferson before Johnson missed another layup with 42 seconds left when Austin got a block.
The Bears led 63-59 lead with 7:14 left when Ish Wainright’s inbounds bounce pass to Rico Gathers led to a layup, their last made field goal of the game. Gathers missed a free throw.
Heslip, who uncharacteristically missed three consecutive free throws in the first half, had three of his 3-pointers in a 5-minute span of the second half. The Bears went from a five-point deficit to a four-point lead.
“He’s good. He’s old. He’s a fifth-year senior. He knows how to play. Two of his 3s came from offensive rebounds off missed free throws,” Martin said. “For as young as we were, I was scared we were going to lose him. That’s the one thing we were halfway decent at, know where he was at. We lost him one time.”
Austin had 14 points for Baylor and Taurean Prince had eight points and 12 rebounds.
Early on, both teams seemingly couldn’t miss from the field. Baylor made its first six shots and the Gamecocks were 8 of 9 before missing consecutive shots, including a putback before a foul, less than 8 minutes into the game.
But with all the whistles that followed, neither team could get into much of a rhythm after that. Baylor finished shooting 39 percent from the field (19 of 49) and South Carolina was at 36 percent (18 of 50).
“ I think coaches have really tried to do a good job keeping hands off. I think we’ll get better at coaching what are going to be called fouls, and I think officials will get better at calling what things are going to be called,” Drew said. “So I think probably the next month both of us will make improvements and keep getting better.”MORE IN Sports Wire
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