DIVISION II-AA STATE SEMIFINAL
At Lipscomb University
BRIARCREST CHRISTIAN 68, BAYLOR 50
Briarcrest 13 31 10 14 -- 68
Baylor 11 4 18 17 -- 50
Briarcrest Christian (68) -- McGhee 3, Austin Nichols 30, Ollie 3, Tuohy Jr. 3, DeMarc Richardson 13, N. Jones, C. Jones 5, Bennette Hill 11, Hodges, Clark, Sillyman, Adams, Powell.
Baylor (50) -- McRae 2, Reggie Upshaw 16, C. Born 3, Bowens 2, Leo Born 16, Davis 3, Linehart, Chen, Maum, Rogers, Belcher 2, Clendenen 6.
3-point goals: Briarcrest 6 (Hill 3, Richardson 2, Ollie); Baylor 8 (L. Born 3, Upshaw 2, C. Born, Davis, Clendenen). Other highlights: Nelson Ollie 7 a; Nichols 6 r, 6 b; Richardson 7 r (Br); Upshaw 7 r; L. Born 4 s (Bay). Records: Briarcrest 24-5; Baylor 15-11.
NASHVILLE -- Usually, an unexpected delay during a game has a negative impact on the teams involved. That might have been the case Friday for the Baylor boys' basketball team, but it did just the opposite for the Red Raiders' opponent, Briarcrest Christian.
Junior post Austin Nichols scored 30 points and the Saints broke a close game wide open with a 27-2 run in the second quarter of a 68-50 semifinal victory in the Division II-AA state tournament at Lipscomb University.
The Saints shot 18-for-24 (75 percent) in the first half, led by Nichols' 17 points. They did cool off in the second half but still shot 68 percent for the game. Baylor shot 25 percent in the first 16 minutes.
There was a 30-minute delay during warmups as tornadoes touched down in Nashville.
"In a way, it was a positive," the 6-foot-8 Nichols said. "During warmups, we were ready and anxious to play, but then we had to wait for a while. It showed we are a strong team to come off the break and start the way we did."
He had 10 first-quarter points as the Saints held a two-point lead. His dominance inside caused the Red Raiders to double-team the post, and Briarcrest responded with the flurry of baskets from 3-point range. They led 44-15 at halftime, outscoring Baylor 31-4 in the second quarter.
"I think that's as good of a half that we've had a team play against us," Baylor coach Austin Clark said. "They're a balanced team; the Nichols kid is a willing passer."
The lead grew to 50-20 in the second half before the Red Raiders responded with a run of their own, a 13-2 spurt built on a trapping defense that caused some turnovers. They would get only as close as 14 the rest of the way.
Reggie Upshaw and Leo Born each had 16 points to lead the Red Raiders, who complete their season 15-11. Sticking to their halftime goal, they outscored Briarcrest 35-24 in the final two quarters.
"We knew we couldn't let the game worse, but if we didn't execute the game would get worse," Upshaw said. "We battled hard but just came up short in the end."
DeMarc Richardson scored 13 points and Bennette Hill had 11 for Briarcrest,
"Baylor's so good defensively. We're just fortunate to have some guys that can stand still and shoot," Briarcrest coach John Harrington said. "It was just one of those nights that we were hitting."