It took a while for the Baylor boys' basketball team to duplicate the confidence the student section showed Saturday in the Red Raiders' Division II-AA state quarterfinal matchup against rival McCallie, but the chants of "This is our house!" eventually rang true and showed on the scoreboard.
Leo Born finished with 24 points and Reggie Upshaw added 18, and the Baylor defense allowed only one 3-pointer on the way to a 60-48 victory to reach the Division II-AA state tournament next week. The Red Raiders (15-10) will face the winner between Briarcrest Christian and Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville on March 2.
There was a 15-minute delay 30 seconds into the contest as chalk thrown from the Baylor student section during pregame introductions got onto the court, causing a slippery surface that even after being cleaned led to players slipping on the court.
The excitement was added for Born because it was his first victory over the top-ranked Blue Tornado. McCallie won the two regular-season battles by a total of six points, including a last-second victory in their first meeting.
"It shows that we've gotten better over the course of the season," he said. "We couldn't let those two losses over the season hold us back from playing our best tonight."
McCallie was shut down by a "Doughnut," the name of Baylor's 2-3 defense, which opened gaps in the middle of the zone but put pressure on the ball-handlers out front. The extended pressure led to some opportunities by the posts to take shots but prohibited the McCallie shooters -- which combined for 10 3s in the second meeting -- from getting open looks.
Baylor coach Austin Clark praised the play of second-teamers Mike Davis, Andrew Linehart, Beck Chen, Blake Maum and Joey Rogers for their part in the game preparation.
"We wanted to play the 3-point shot," Clark said. "Those guys did a great job and made us work our hardest.
"The kids played great tonight. It's good to be able to do some things and not have to worry about a last shot. We're excited for the opportunity [to play in the state tournament]."
Terrance O'Donohue led McCallie (23-4) with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Cordell James had 10. The Blue Tornado played without point guard and Southeast Missouri State signee C.J. Reese, who was suspended for breaking a school rule.
"We're disappointed because it was our goal to get to state," McCallie coach Dan Wadley said. "We went 23-4 and that's not bad, but we didn't get where we wanted to go.
"Give Baylor's defense credit. We just picked a heck of a night not to shoot well."