WACO, Texas (AP) — King McClure scored 15 points, and Baylor finished the game on a 12-0 run in a 63-57 win over South Dakota on Tuesday.
Mario Kegler added 12 points for the Bears (5-2), who won despite missing 20 of their first 24 shots. Kegler, a sophomore transfer from Mississippi State making his Baylor debut, also had six rebounds and blocked three shots.
“It was an ugly (win), but I’m glad we got it,” Kegler said. “I’m just happy to be back out there fighting for my team. I came out trying to rush it a little bit, but I slowed down in the second half and just let it come to me, and it worked out for me.”
Baylor scored first on a McClure layup but didn’t have the lead again until the early stages of the second half. South Dakota’s deliberate pace limited Baylor’s possessions, and that was magnified by a 19-9 edge in second-chance points for the Coyotes.
“As a coach you couldn’t have a better game than this game to win,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “If you win by 20, it’s fool’s gold. When you get into Big 12 games and Power Five games they’re close games, so you have to have experience in those close games. Nobody likes close games, and nobody likes close game against teams nobody knows about, but we knew how good they were coming in.”
Trey Burch-Manning led South Dakota (3-3) with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and his layup with 4:58 remaining put the Coyotes ahead 57-51.
Those were the last points for the Coyotes, who missed their final 10 shots. South Dakota led by as many as nine in the first half and for 30:13 of the game’s 40 minutes.
“I was proud of the way our guys played and battled the whole night,” South Dakota coach Todd Lee said. “I thought we gave one away in the second half. Up six, you come into a place like this against a well-coached team, very athletic and you don’t get many chances to win games like this. Disappointed in the end result, but I was proud of the way the guys played.”
Mark Vital tied the game with a layup with 2:55 remaining, and Makai Mason followed with a short jumper in the paint and a 3-pointer that put the Bears in front for good.
Tristan Clark fought through foul trouble to score all of his eight points in the second half to go with six rebounds and six blocks.
South Dakota: The Coyotes were 4 for 8 from 3-point range in the first half, but made only one of their 17 tries from distance in the second. The Coyotes appeared to be quicker to loose balls for most of the night and had a 42-41 advantage on the boards but Baylor’s length in the lane bothered them to the tune of 12 blocked shots.
Baylor: The Bears never got the tempo up to the point where they could use their athleticism in the open floor to their advantage. Kegler was anxious to get shots up early, and he missed badly on his first five – including three that missed everything — before settling into the flow of the game. The Bears pounded the ball inside more in the second half and shot 50 percent (13 for 26).
South Dakota will host Cal State-Bakersfield on Saturday.
Baylor goes on the road to face Wichita State on Saturday.
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