WACO, Texas (AP) — Pierre Jackson had 26 points and had 16 assists to lead Baylor to an 89-86 win over Arizona State on Friday night in the second round of the NIT.
Cory Jefferson added 21 points, Brady Heslip had 14 and Isaiah Austin 13 for Baylor (20-14).
Carrick Felix scored 23 points to lead Arizona State (22-13). Jahii Carson — the top-scoring freshman in the country — had 20 points, Chris Colvin scored 15 and Evan Gordon 14.
“Going in, we knew how good Arizona State was. And we knew what a great game it was going to be,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “And they shot 46 percent from 3. And normally when you shoot 46 percent from 3, you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Baylor was up 84-78 with 44 seconds left before Arizona State cut it to 85-83 with 26 seconds to play. Jefferson hit one free throw to put Baylor back up by three, but Carson turned the ball over under the Sun Devils’ basket. The teams then combined to shoot 10 free throws in the final 24 seconds.
Jackson, who was 17 of 21 at the line, made six of eight free throws in the final 55 seconds.
“How many I miss? I should have had 30 points. Those are free points,” he said.
Jefferson scored six early points to help Baylor jump out to a 12-4 lead. Heslip, on a pass from Walton, hit a wide-open 3-pointer, prompting Arizona State coach Herb Sendek to call a timeout just 3:45 into the game.
With Baylor holding a 20-11 lead, the Sun Devils tied it with three consecutive 3s. Chris Colvin hit the tying shot with 5:47 left in the first half.
After a Baylor turnover, Jonathan Gilling hit another 3 and gave the Sun Devils their first lead, 23-30, with 4:03 remaining.
Arizona State eventually took a 29-22 lead with 1:47 to play, but Jackson converted a three-point play to cut it to four. After an easy layup by Carson, Jackson drove for another layup, and Gary Franklin stole an inbound pass and fed Jackson for a short jumper to cut the Sun Devils’ lead to 31-29 with 26 seconds left. Arizona State wasn’t able to get a shot off before the end of the half.
“Well, I don’t ever feel like we pulled away, but we certainly felt like we got ourselves back in the game,” Sendek said. “We started very slowly, on the offensive end especially.”
With 16:50 left in the game, Baylor guard A.J. Walton picked up his fourth foul and was then called for a technical. Gordon hit both free throws to give ASU a 38-37 lead. From there, Baylor went on a 7-0 run — led by Jefferson’s three-point play and dunk — and went ahead 44-38 with 15:19 remaining.
Gilling later picked up his fourth foul and fouled out on a technical, with Jackson hitting all four free throws to give Baylor a 53-49 lead. Gordon’s three-point play pulled Arizona State to 64-63 with 5:48 remaining before Baylor went on an 8-0 run to take a 72-63 lead with 4:01 to play.