No. 20 Bears beat No. 24 Spartans 73-58 in Battle 4 Atlantis
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Johnathan Motley scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and No. 20 Baylor dominated after halftime to beat No. 24 Michigan State 73-58 on Thursday to reach the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. added 14 points and eight rebounds – nearly all in the second half – for the Bears (5-0), who sprinted out of the break with a 12-2 run on the way to shooting 55 percent in the second half. That quickly turned a 33-30 halftime deficit into a double-digit lead against the cold-shooting Spartans (3-3).
Michigan State went 7 minutes between baskets spanning halftime as Baylor made its push, while the Spartans' thin front line was no match for the 7-foot Lual-Acuil and 6-foot-10-inch Motley.
Freshman Miles Bridges scored 15 points for the Spartans, who shot 39 percent after halftime – including 1 for 10 on 3-pointers.
Baylor: That's two wins against ranked teams in roughly a week for the Bears. And in their first two games in the Bahamas, they've notched a tough win against VCU and now a rout against the Spartans.
Michigan State: The concerns about the Spartans' front line showed up in a big way in this one. Motley went just about anywhere he wanted in the first half, while Lual-Acuil led a strong Baylor effort on the boards. Coach Tom Izzo said Wednesday there would be some growing pains while this group sorted things out – and this performance illustrated it perfectly.
Baylor: The Bears will play the Wichita State-Louisville winner in Friday's championship game.
Michigan State: The Spartans will play the Wichita State-Louisville loser in Friday's third-place game.
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