INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The No. 16-seeded Hartford men’s basketball team hung around early, but No. 1-seed Baylor’s three-pointers were too much for the Hawks, as they fell in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament by a 79-55 final inside Lucas Oil Stadium Friday afternoon. Senior Austin Williams scored 19 points, while grad student Traci Carter added 11 for Hartford, which made program history with its first-ever appearance in the Big Dance.
The Hawks finish their historic season with a 15-9 overall record, while the Bears, who were led by a game-high 22 points from MaCio Teague, improve to 23-2.
#1 BAYLOR 79, #16 HARTFORD 55
Despite suffering a huge blow 16 seconds into the game when junior D.J. Mitchell suffered an injury after getting fouled on a three, the Hawks hung around with the top-seeded Bears. Trailing by one at the first media timeout, Williams poured in five-straight points for Hartford to put the Hawks in front, 10-6.
Baylor would regain a three-point advantage on a three and a pull-up jumper, but the Hawks answered. Four-straight points, including a dunk from junior Hunter Marks and a layup by sophomore Miroslav Stafl, put Hartford in front at 14-13 with 7:51 left. From there, the Bears rallied, taking the lead for good on a 7-0 run before outscoring the Hawks, 17-6, over the final six minutes to take a 37-21 lead at the half.
The Bears built on their lead out of the break with back-to-back threes to stretch the margin to 43-21. Hartford showed some fight with a 9-0 run fueled by five points from Carter that cut the deficit to 13, but Baylor responded with three triples over a two-minute stretch to ice the game.
INSIDE THE BOX & NOTES
- Hartford’s .625 winning percentage marked the program’s best since transitioning to Division I in 1984
- The Hawks rode a season-best five-game winning streak into their first NCAA Tournament appearance
- Hartford captured the program’s first-ever America East Championship
- Carter stuffed the stat sheeting, adding a team-best nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks to his 11 points
- Stafl added eight points for the Hawks
- Baylor made 11 threes on the afternoon and shot 41.3 percent from the field
- The Hawks’ 24 turnovers were costly, as they translated to 22 points for the Bears