PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Makai Mason had a career-high 31 points, including six of Yale’s final nine points, and the No. 12 seed Bulldogs held on to upset fifth seed Baylor 79-75 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
Yale (23-6) earns its first NCAA Tournament victory. It comes in its first appearance since 1962.
Justin Sears added 18 points. Brandon Sherrod finished with 10.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points in the second half before having its lead cut to 1 point. But a late turnover by the Bears helped Yale secure the victory.
Taurean Prince led Baylor (22-12) with 28 points. Johnathan Motley finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Expelled Yale player Jack Montague, dismissed last month because of a sexual assault allegation, was in the stands for the game. He was present as a fan and sat across from the Yale bench.
Yale will play No. 4 seed Duke on Saturday.
Yale played a chunk of the second half without Sears and Brandon Sherrod after both picked up their fourth fouls. Both returned with just over four minutes to play in the game.
A layup by Sears and two free throws by Mason helped the lead back to 72-65, before Prince gave the Bears some life with a 3-pointer.
That was followed a steal and layup by Jake Lindsey that cut the lead to a basket with 1:12 remaining.
Mason was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and connected on both of his free throws to get the lead back up to 74-70 with less than a minute left.
Baylor’s Prince was called for an offensive foul on the Bears next possession, but Sears misfired on both of his free throws.
Baylor took the rebound and raced down the floor and got a layup from Lester Medford.
Mason was fouled and hit two more free throws, but Prince got free and nailed another 3-pointer that cut the lead to a point with nine seconds showing on the clock.
Baylor applied full court pressure on the inbounds play, but Yale got a long pass into Nick Victor, who was fouled with 6.8 seconds left.
Victor connected on the first, but air balled the second attempt. Baylor got the ball into Medford. He slipped on his way to the basket, turning it over.
Mason had the hot hand in the first half with 17 points, as the Bulldogs took a 39-34 lead into the break. Yale was also efficient from the field, connecting on 16 of their 25 field goals.
They made the most of their possessions with only four turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, while handing out seven assists.
Baylor is also shot well (15 for 29), but was beaten to loose balls and struggled to deal with Yale’s quickness.
Yale: The win gave the Bulldogs their most wins since 1906-07, when the team won 30 games. … The last No. 12 seeds to win a first round game were Harvard, Stephen F. Austin and N. Dakota State in 2014.