PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) – L.J. Cryer had 15 points and sixth-ranked Baylor beat Arizona State 75-63 on Wednesday night to wrap up first-round play at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Matthew Mayer added 14 for the national champion Bears (5-0), who led 45-31 by the break, then pushed that margin to 22 midway through the second half. Baylor again showed plenty of offensive balance with five double-figure scorers while holding Arizona State to 36% shooting, a combination that carried the Bears to an 11th straight victory dating to their title run in the Indianapolis bubble last spring.
D.J. Horne had 20 points to lead the Sun Devils (2-3), including a jumper and a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 2 1/2 minutes. Arizona State led by six early and was tied with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half, only to see Baylor put together a 19-4 burst — highlighted by 3s from James Akinjo, Adam Flagler and freshman Kendall Brown — to take a 42-27 lead.
The Sun Devils never got within single digits again.
While knocking down shots against Baylor’s defense was a challenge, Arizona State didn’t help itself with 15 turnovers that led to 16 points and 15 more shots for the Bears, who had eight turnovers.
Arizona State: It’s been a bumpy start for the Sun Devils, with two early losses by a combined three points. They lost a game on a three-quarter-court heave to UC Riverside on Nov. 11, followed by a defeat at San Diego State on Saturday. And sophomore Marcus Bagley (10.0 points) didn’t travel to The Bahamas due to a lingering knee issue. Arizona State was trying for its first win against a ranked nonconference opponent since beating top-ranked Kansas in December 2018.
Baylor: The Bears are back in the tournament for the first time since winning it in 2016 and boast a reshaped lineup after losing four starters, including No. 9 overall NBA draft pick Davion Mitchell. Coming off Saturday’s blowout win against Stanford, they had relatively little trouble stretching out the lead on another Pac-12 team.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils face Syracuse, which lost to VCU earlier Wednesday, in Thursday’s consolation bracket.
Baylor: The Bears face VCU in Thursday’s semifinals.
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