Freeman scores 21 as Baylor tops New Mexico State

Baylor's Al Freeman (25) moves the ball past New Mexico State's Braxton Huggins (2) during a first-round game in the men's NCAA college basketball tournament in Tulsa, Okla., Friday March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Al Freeman came off the bench to score 21 points, and No. 3 seed Baylor defeated No. 14 seed New Mexico State 91-73 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA’s East Regional.

Jo Lual-Acuil scored 16 points and Johnathan Motley added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (26-7), who were upset in the first round by Georgia State and Yale the previous two years.

Ian Baker and Braxton Huggins each scored 19 points for New Mexico State (28-6).

Huggins hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give New Mexico State a 40-38 lead at the half. The Aggies made 6 of 14 3-pointers before the break to counter Baylor’s 55 percent shooting.

Baylor took control for good with a 14-3 run early in the second half to take a 58-47 lead. Baylor held the Aggies to 37 percent shooting in the second half.



New Mexico State: The Aggies gave the Bears all they could handle for a half. The Western Athletic Conference tournament champions led early in the second half and gave Baylor’s normally stout defense fits. The Aggies had a 20-game win streak earlier in the season under first-year coach Paul Weir.

Baylor: The Bears got a much-needed win after a shaky finish to the season and re-established its defensive dominance in the second half. The Bears looked like the team that started the season 20-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation.


New Mexico State: Season is over.

Baylor: Will play the winner of the SMU-USC game. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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