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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Baylor ousts UT to reach finals

Baylor's Kevin Rogers, left, and Baylor's Mamadou Diene (15) celebrate their 76-70 win over Texas in  an NCAA college basketball game at the Big 12 Conference men's tournament in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 13, 2009.

Baylor's Kevin Rogers, left, and Baylor's Mamadou Diene (15) celebrate their 76-70 win over Texas in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big 12 Conference men's tournament in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 13, 2009.

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Jayhawks await NCAA tourney status

KU fans received an unexpected performance yesterday afternoon from the Kansas men's basketball team. Baylor defeated Kansas 71-64.

— Scott Drew watched his Baylor team fall apart with a midseason swoon that wiped away some newfound high expectations in his program.

After three upsets in three days, his Bears are on the verge of making all those struggles a distant memory.

LaceDarius Dunn hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:12 remaining, and Baylor ended a 24-game losing streak against Texas, advancing to the Big 12 championship game for the first time with a 76-70 victory on Friday night at Ford Center.

One more win and the Bears will be NCAA Tournament-bound, just as they thought they’d be at the beginning of the season — even if it seemed all but impossible as recently as the start of the week.

Kevin Rogers scored 20 points and Henry Dugat added 17 as the ninth-seeded Bears (20-13) kept their bid alive to become the first team to sweep four games in four days to win the Big 12 championship. The only team to advance to the Big 12 title game with a lower seed was 10th-seeded Missouri, which did it in the tournament’s inaugural year in 1997.

No team seeded lower than third has won the tournament.

“We came into it the underdog, and we took that as a chip on our shoulder,” Dugat said. “We came in, we knew what we had to do and ... it’s not over yet. We’ve still got one more step to do, and we’re ready and willing to do it.”

A.J. Abrams scored 20 points to lead Texas (22-11), which had reached the finals the past three years.

Damion James added 11 points and Gary Johnson 10 for the Longhorns.

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