ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Baylor's impenetrable zone defense turned out to have gaping holes. The Bears' athletic scorers got few easy shots, and they missed most of them anyway.
Everything that was so easy last weekend in the NCAA tournament became incredibly difficult when the Bears ran into Wisconsin.
Baylor headed home from the West Region semifinals with a 69-52 loss Thursday night, still wondering how everything went so wrong so quickly.
"Wisconsin really played a great game, and we did a very poor job in making things tough," said Baylor coach Scott Drew, who still led his team to a strong finish after its 2-8 start to Big 12 play. "They're extremely hard to pressure and rattle. ... Once we got behind, we had to do some things we wished we didn't have to do."
Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points and blocked six shots while Wisconsin romped into the West Regional final, reaching the final eight for the third time in school history. Ben Brust hit three of the six 3-pointers from the second-seeded Badgers (29-7), who jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half and never let up on the overmatched Bears (26-12).
Cory Jefferson scored 15 points for the sixth-seeded Bears in their third Sweet 16 trip in five years. Isaiah Austin and Kenny Chery scored 12 points apiece for Baylor, which needed a late rally just to match its lowest-scoring performance of the season in the final seconds.
"They know we're a great shooting team, and credit to them," Chery said. "They did a great job just containing us and making every shot difficult."
Kaminsky and his disciplined teammates shredded the Baylor zone that played so well against Nebraska and Creighton. And though the Bears lamented several easy missed shots in the first half, Wisconsin also methodically shut down Baylor's talented offense.
Wisconsin moved into its second regional final in 13 years under coach Bo Ryan, who has seen just about everything except the Final Four in his 700-win coaching career.
"That would be a very special thing to do, but we also know that he's not going to let us look too far ahead," said Brust, who scored 14 points. "When that time comes, we'll handle it. I'd definitely like to do that for him."
The Badgers advanced by countering everything the Bears do well. Wisconsin wrecked Baylor's zone, negated their 3-point shooting acumen with perimeter defense, kept the tempo at the Badgers' preferred speed and even held a 39-33 rebounding edge on Baylor, one of the nation's top rebounding teams.
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