Butler scores 22, No. 24 Baylor tops No. 17 Villanova, 87-78
By JOEDY McCREARY
AP Sports Writer
CONWAY, S.C. (AP) - Jared Butler scored 10 of his 22 points during the final 6 minutes, helping No. 24 Baylor pull away for an 87-78 victory over No. 17 Villanova on Sunday night.
MaCio Teague scored 18 points while Davion Mitchell added 13 to help the Bears (5-1) pass their first Top 25 test, a matchup that for much of the way felt like a potential Sweet 16 preview.
Baylor (5-1) broke open a tight, tense game with nine ties and 18 lead changes by scoring on their final 12 possessions and holding the Wildcats without a field goal during the final 2½ minutes while winning their fourth straight.
Butler, the tournament MVP who has led the Bears in scoring in five of six games, hit 3s on back-to-back possessions early in that stretch, the first of which put them up 67-66 with just under 6 minutes left and the second breaking a 67-all tie.
Collin Gillespie scored 27 points, Saddiq Bey finished with 16 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Villanova.
Villanova: The run of in-season tournament success is over for the Wildcats, who were chasing their seventh straight championship in a holiday event. They hadn’t lost one of these since 2012 - and still have more national championships (two) than in-season tournament losses (one) in that span. But they also fell to 0-2 against Top 25 opponents after also losing to No. 10 Ohio State.
Baylor: Coach Scott Drew likes to say teams that win in-season tournaments also tend to play well in the big tournaments in March. Now that his team has won three of these events in four years - this one behind a backcourt led by Butler and Teague that took the game over down the stretch - he hopes he has the combination for an even deeper run through the NCAA Tournament.
Villanova: Faces LaSalle in a Big Five game on Dec. 1.
Baylor: Plays host to Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 3.
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