Late bucket guides Baylor past Dayton
Maui, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Cory Jefferson's putback layup with 16.4 seconds remaining lifted No. 18 Baylor to a hard-fought, 67-66, victory over Dayton on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational from Lahaina Civic Center.
Baylor trailed 59-49 with 7:26 remaining, but used a 16-7 swing to pull within one on Gary Franklin's right wing 3-pointer with 1:22 on the clock.
After Devin Oliver missed from in close on Dayton's next possession, Kenny Chery came up short on a right baseline jumper, but Jefferson corralled the rebound and finished the layup to give Baylor its first lead since the opening minute of the contest.
Following a series of timeouts with 12.8 seconds left, Vee Sanford made his way to the left block, but missed a fadeaway shot and Oliver's tip-in try rimmed out as well to end the Flyers' upset bid.
"I don't know how I missed it," Oliver said of his tip-in try.
Royce O'Neale and Chery each netted 13 points, while Isaiah Austin, Jefferson and Franklin finished with 10 points apiece for the Bears (6-0), who extended their winning streak to 11 games, the longest active streak in the nation.
"We just wanted to be tough," Chery said. "Our mental toughness was in question as a team, so we just wanted to stay together, be tough and try to pull one out and that's what we did."
Baylor will take on No. 8 Syracuse in Wednesday's title game.
Jordan Sibert paced Dayton (5-1) with 20 points, while Oliver added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Flyers, who will face California in a consolation game on Wednesday.
Dayton built its first double-digit lead of the game on back-to-back buckets from Sanford just over nine minutes in that gave the Flyers a 20-10 edge.
An Oliver trey with just under five minutes left in the half had the margin at 14, but Baylor netted the final nine points of the frame to pull within 33-28 at the break.
Dayton opened the second half on an 8-2 surge to push the margin back above double digits, which is where it stood after Sanford drilled a triple with just under 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the contest.
Baylor has started 6-0 for the fourth time in the last six years ... It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the hardwood ... Dayton shot 55 percent (11-of-20) from 3-point range ... Baylor shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field overall ... Baylor outrebounded Dayton, 35-25.
11/27 02:03:13 ET