No. 3 seed Baylor breezes past Colgate 92-67, wins 6th straight March Madness opener

No. 3 seed Baylor breezes past Colgate 92-67, wins 6th straight March Madness opener

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jalen Bridges scored 23 points, Ja’Kobe Walter added 19 and third-seeded Baylor coasted past 14th-seeded Colgate 92-67 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Jayden Nunn added 15 points, going 4 of 5 from 3-point range, and RayJ Davis finished with 10 points and nine assists for coach Scott Drew’s Bears (24-10), who have won their past six first-round games in March Madness.

Baylor, which shot 38.8% from 3-point range during the season, finished at 53.3% (16 of 30) on Friday while setting a program record for scoring in an NCAA Tournament game. The Bears advance in the West Region to play No. 6 seed Clemson on Sunday.

“Hopefully, we saved a couple of made 3s for the next game because 16 for 30 is pretty efficient,” Drew said.

Keegan Records led Colgate with 14 points. Sam Thomson had 11 and Braeden Smith scored 10.

Colgate (25-10), which dominated the Patriot League in the regular season and won the conference tournament, fell to 0-7 in the NCAA Tournament. The Raiders had lost only once in their previous 18 games.

“Clearly, we had no chance of stopping them, the way they shot the ball,” Colgate coach Matt Langel said. “They put us in a number of dilemmas. Tip your cap to Baylor for their effort, getting the lead they did and managing the game the rest of the way.”

Both teams shot well early, but Colgate only found success closer to the basket. The Bears switched to a zone defense that left the Raiders struggling from outside the arc. Colgate finished 5 of 18 on 3-pointers.

“We have a lot of guys who are good shooters on our team,” Records said. “We just couldn’t get them to fall.”

Baylor’s 3-point shooting helped the Bears build an early 22-point lead. Colgate made one of its first nine shots from deep.

Walter, the Big 12 freshman of the year, already had 15 points at the break as the Bears led 54-34.

“I really wanted to come out aggressive, set the tone early,” Walter said. “My teammates, they were finding me. They were encouraging me. When we got things going, it was pretty hard to stop us.”

Colgate made a slight dent in the deficit to open the second half, but it was not enough to threaten Baylor, which shot 57.9% overall.

“I feel like we let up a little bit defensively,” Bridges said of Colgate's second-half start. “And that’s something that we cannot do going forward, or we’re going to be heading on a flight home.”

BIG PICTURE

Colgate: As good as they were in their league, the Raiders were overmatched against a perennial Big 12 power. Colgate shot 57.1% in the first half, but nearly all the scoring came inside.

Baylor: Drew's team played a typically rugged schedule but came into the tournament in reasonably good form, winning four of six. If the Bears can make 3s like they did Friday, they could make a long run.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness