• Men’s hoops headed to NYC, Madison Square Garden and NIT Final Four

    Cory Jefferson vs. ProvidenceFor the second straight year, Baylor is the last Texas team standing in both men’s and women’s basketball.

    One night after the Lady Bears won at home to advance to the NCAA’s Sweet 16, head coach Scott Drew’s men defeated Providence in the Ferrell Center, 79-68, to move on to the NIT semifinals. The Bears will face BYU on Tuesday, April 2, in Madison Square Garden (6 p.m. CT, ESPN2), with the winner playing for the title two days later.

    As has been the case so many times this season, Wednesday’s win was keyed by senior guard Pierre Jackson (20 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds, 0 turnovers) and junior forward Cory Jefferson (26 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks). Freshman Rico Gathers added a tough 8 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and played a season-high 27 minutes. [See pictures from Baylor Photography and the Associated Press.]

    [Want to show your support for the Bears and Lady Bears during their postseason runs? Back the Bears with a gift of $5, $15 or $50 to the Baylor Bear Foundation Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund!]

    Baylor has a limited number of tickets available for the games in New York City; fans can also purchase tickets through Ticketmaster. Fans in NYC can join the Baylor Alumni Network for sendoff parties at the team hotel (the Marriott Marquis) 90 minutes prior to each game; fans at each sendoff party will also receive a free t-shirt (while supplies last).

    NOTES: The Bears’ three NIT wins so far have improved their record to 21-14, marking the fifth time in the last six years that Baylor has won 20-plus games. In the previous 101 years of Baylor basketball, the Bears had just three 20-win seasons. … Baylor has already faced BYU once this season; the Bears beat the Cougars 79-64 in Waco back in December behind double-doubles from Jefferson (13 points, 16 rebounds) and freshman Isaiah Austin (14 points, 10 rebounds).

    Sic โ€™em, Baylor basketball!

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