Baylor basketball coach Austin Clark threw his usual variety of zones at McCallie.
McCallie coach Dan Wadley briefly countered with a 2-3 defense of his own Saturday night, but Blue Tornado guard Jamaal Calvin was in his own zone -- of the shooting variety.
Calvin hit his first six shots, five of them 3-pointers, and finished with 17 first-half points on his way to a game-high 23 on 8-for-10 shooting. McCallie jumped to a huge lead and held on for a 60-54 Division II-AA East-Middle Region victory over its chief rival.
"I've never seen a guy get as hot as Jamaal tonight," Wadley admitted.
Said Calvin: "Once you get that feeling, there's nothing like it. It's like shooting in the ocean."
C.J. Reese added 12 points for McCallie (15-5, 5-1), which maintained second place in the region. Leo Born had 13 points and Gavin Gibson scored 10 for Baylor (11-9, 3-4).
Calvin had 14 points in the first quarter as McCallie led 24-8. The margin grew to 30-11, but Baylor started to chip away, cutting the gap to 13 points by halftime.
The Red Raiders' defense, which alternated between a 2-3, a 3-2 and a trapping 2-3 zone, started to confuse the McCallie attack, which led to turnovers and layups or 3-pointers. Baylor closed to within 41-36 on a 3-pointer by Born with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter.
"I knew it was too easy in the beginning," Wadley said. "We've struggled all year against zones; we're just not as comfortable out there against a zone as we are against man, but we were able to make plays when we needed them."
The fourth quarter was more of a defensive struggle, with open looks increasingly rare. McCallie started to work the top of the key against Baylor's zone, with Chad Lee making a couple of nice feeds on high-low looks for baskets. A drive by Reese stretched the Blue Tornado's lead to 54-45 with 2:45 to go, but 3s by Reggie Upshaw and Gavin Gibson trimmed that to 56-54 with 25.2 seconds to go.
McCallie's Terrance O'Donohue hit a pair of pressure-packed free throws to stretch the lead to four with 23 seconds remaining. Then after a Gibson miss, Cordell James iced the game with two more.
"One thing we do is that we practice situations all the time," Wadley said. "Tonight it worked. We held our composure when they came back."
"If we didn't fight as hard as we fought, we would have been blown out," Clark said. "We were able to cut the lead to two, but that's a real talented McCallie team. It's tough when you having to make shots from behind.
"I'm not going to be satisfied with a loss, but we were competitive against a talented team. I'm very proud of my team."
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