Acy has 22, Baylor still falls to Kentucky, 82-70
Acy sent that message early in the game with a hard foul on Terrence Jones. Kentucky's answer was devastating.
The Wildcats went on a 16-0 run to take control of the game and never looked back, ending the Bears' Final Four dream with an 82-70 victory in Sunday's South Regional final.
It was Baylor's second loss in three years in a regional final. They lost to eventual national champion Duke in 2010.
''Duke was a very good team,'' said Baylor coach Scott Drew. ''But this Kentucky team is better.''
Acy had 22 points and Pierre Jackson had 21, most in the final 2 minutes. Their efforts were not enough as Baylor was overwhelmed by Kentucky's talent and depth.
''We didn't execute as well as we should have,'' Acy said. ''It cost us the game. They're a very good team. They got off to a hot start. We came back in the second half and eliminated the transition points, but it was too late then.''
Perry Jones III added 17 points for Baylor (30-8), which was denied its bid for its first Final Four appearance in 62 years. After Acy's foul on Jones, the Bears took a 10-5 lead. But Kentucky answered with 16 unanswered points and never lost the lead.
The difference-makers for Kentucky were on the front line. Anthony Davis had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots. Terrence Jones had 12 points and three blocks and regional MVP Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 19 points.
''They're a great team,'' Acy said. ''They've got some good dudes down there.''
Kentucky's shot-blockers affected Baylor's offense as the Bears had trouble putting the ball in the basket.
''It's just one of those games where it just doesn't seem like it's meant to be,'' Drew said. ''We don't miss that many layups, I can promise you.
''Some of them, people weren't around, either.''
But after seeing Davis and Jones swat away shots, Baylor players began changing their shots and missing inside even when the two were not close to the basket.
Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III was among the Baylor faithful who watched Kentucky reject nine Bears' shots.
''We weren't making shots that we usually make,'' said Anthony Jones. ''We missed a lot of point-blank layups, wide-open 3s.''
Kentucky (36-2) will play in-state rival Louisville in the Final Four on Saturday.
Acy had said Baylor couldn't shy away from Davis and Kentucky's other shot-blockers.
Acy backed up his point less than 2 minutes into the game when his hard foul on Terrence Jones, who was trying to score on a fast break, sent the Kentucky forward sprawling off the court into the Baylor cheerleaders.
After reviewing the play, officials called a flagrant foul on Acy.
The play gave the Bears a temporary boost. A 3-pointer by Quincy Miller capped an 8-0 run that gave Baylor a 10-5 lead.
Baylor wasn't prepared for Kentucky's answer.
Led by Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wildcats took command by scoring 16 unanswered points. Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer had 3-pointers in the run.
''We were figuring them out a little bit and what they did well, but we knew they were going to make runs,'' Wiltjer said. ''We just wanted to stay calm and just play our game and we did that and that is why we got off to a pretty good start ourselves.''
Kentucky kept up the pressure after Acy's jumper ended Baylor's scoring drought that lasted about 5 minutes. Jones and Davis combined for five blocked shots and three steals and the Wildcats led 42-22 at the break.
Brady Heslip missed a 3-pointer to open the second half, setting up a dunk by Jones. It was a telling start to the final 20 minutes as the Wildcats continued to take advantage of Baylor's misses and mistakes.
A 3-pointer by Doron Lamb stretched Kentucky's lead to 23 points at 51-28 early in the second half. Even as guards A.J. Walton and Gary Franklin were called for their fourth fouls, Baylor stretched its defense to a full-court press as it tried to rally.
Heslip's first 3-pointer cut Kentucky's lead to 63-50. Teague and Kidd-Gilchrist answered the challenge with back-to-back baskets before Terrence Jones slammed home his missed free throw to quickly push the lead back to 19 points.
There was a scary collision early in the second half. Davis, flying through the air on a drive to the basket, had his left knee hit Perry Jones' hip.
Davis was sprawled on the baseline, grimacing in pain as Jones was helped back to bench. Both players soon returned, but in the end, the Bears just didn't have enough.
''Every loss is horrible, but being that it's our last game of the season, it really (stinks),'' Baylor's Jackson said. ''It hasn't sunk in yet, but we're going to get back in the gym and get ready for next year.''