SAN ANTONIO – Baylor in its two NCAA Tournament victories here made it clear: You won't make history against us.
The Bears started NCAA play Friday against Nebraska, a team seeking its first NCAA victory. The Cornhuskers are now 0-6 in the Big Dance. Sunday No. 6 seed Baylor faced No. 3 seed Creighton, a team that was trying to win consecutive NCAA games for the first time.
Denied, with extreme prejudice.
The Bears played a complete and dominant game in dispatching the Bluejays, 85-55, Sunday night in the third round of the West Regional. Baylor advances to the semifinals Thursday in Anaheim against No. 2 seed Wisconsin.
"For 40 minutes I thought our guys did a great job of staying focused," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Sometimes you execute well on the offense and defensive end and things just fall into place. "
Baylor set a school record for points scored in an NCAA Tournament game and all five starters were in double figures; sophomore center Isaiah Austin and senior guard Brady Heslip with 17 points each. Heslip made 5-of-7 3-pointers. The Bears shot 63.8 percent from the field and made 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
Creighton's defensive strategy of backing off Baylor's guards to help guard the paint was shot full of holes early. The Bears made four consecutive 3-pointers – two by point guard Kenny Chery – to build an 19-7 lead in the first seven minutes. The Bluejays never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
"I felt like they sagged off a little bit from me, and one thing I did was take advantage of that," Chery said.
Baylor's zone defense smothered Creighton – one of the top shooting teams in the nation – and senior Doug McDermott, the nation's leading scorer. The presumptive player of the year was averaging 27 points a game but managed just 15. The Bluejays shot 40 percent for the game and the 5-of-24 effort from 3-point range was their worst of the season.
"This is the worst we've played all season, and it just stinks that it's the last one," said McDermott, who was 7-of-14 from the field but missed all three of his 3-point tries. "It's tough to go out this way."
Coach Greg McDermott, Doug's father, acknowledged that Baylor's size and length forced adjustments that proved ineffective.
"The way they shot the basketball, I'm not sure our best would have even been good enough tonight," he said. "I'm not sure it was Baylor being that good or us being that bad. Over the course of the season you're going to have a few clunkers. We had one at the wrong time."
Baylor led 40-20 at halftime and crushed any Creighton hopes for a rally by making threes, converting three-point plays and soaring from dunks off lob passes.
"We knew we had them on their heels and we wanted to step on their throat," Austin said.
"I was impressed that we started fast but we kept playing that way for 40 minutes," Drew said. "We've had some games where we've played well for 20 minutes, for a first half, then given some of it back."
On Feb. 8, Baylor was 2-8 in Big 12 play. The Bears have now won 12 of their last 14 and have reached the Sweet 16 for the third time in five years. They've reached the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012 and is one victory away from keeping the even-year trend alive.
And they're doing it with a chip on their shoulders.
"We take pride in people hating on us, and we love proving people wrong," Austin said. "Our team right now, we have a tremendous amount of confidence and everybody has bought into the one goal that we have in mind and that is winning a National Championship."