No. 6 Baylor beats Michigan State 75-58 to win Atlantis title
Paradise Island James Akingo scored 15 points and No. 6 Baylor blew the game open after the break to beat Michigan State 75-58 on Friday in Battle 4 Atlantis.
The defending national champion led only 38-36 in the first half. But they started to dominate in the early minutes of the second half, throwing some full defensive looks at the Spartans and capitalizing on their mistakes.
The Bears used 8-0 to lead to a two-digit lead, and it ended when Akinjo stopped an inside pass against Tyson Walker’s pressure and buried a three-pointer to make it 55-42 with 13:57 left.
Baylor (7-0) hasn’t left Michigan State in singles again, improving to an all-time 6-0 at Atlantis to return to the 2016 championship.
Freshman Kendall Brown added 12 points in a 6-for-7 shot for the Bears, who shot 49% and had four players score in double digits. Akingo was named the best player at Atlantis.
Gabe Brown scored 13 points for the Spartans (5-2), who shot just 37 percent and missed all seven of his three-pointers after the first half. Michigan also recorded 19 game spins.
The Big Picture
Baylor: The Bears beat Arizona State 75-63 in the first round on Wednesday, then took a 69-61 victory over the VCU in the semifinals on Thursday, the result marking their first game by a number one lead. They seem to be heading toward another nearby target, but their balance and sportiness have allowed them to pounce when the Spartans make mistakes. Baylor now has 13 straight wins dating back to last year in a row in the Indianapolis bubble.
Michigan State: The Spartans have not lost since relegating to Kansas for fourth place in the Champions Classic season opener. They had to work their way through their first two games in the Bahamas by defeating Loyola Chicago 63-61 at the second Dunk Alley by Marcus Bingham Jr, then beating No. 22 UConn 64-60 by closing the match. In the 9-0 round. But they couldn’t face Baylor’s depth after the break.
If recent history is any indication, bears may have another nickname in their future.
Vilanova won the 2017 Atlantis title and went on to win his second NCAA Championship in three seasons the following April in San Antonio. Then Virginia followed the same path, winning here in 2018 and then claiming the program’s first national title in 2019 in Minneapolis.
But the 2019 winner Michigan didn’t get a chance to test the trend once the 2020 NCAA Championships was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately putting the Atlantis tournament on hold for a year.
Baylor: The Bears have a week off before hosting the Arkansas-Pine Bluff on December 4.
Michigan State: The Spartans host Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball, https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll, https://twitter. com/AP_Top25
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap
Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.