Baylor forward gets his wish: a matchup against nation’s top scorer

Posted Friday, Mar. 21, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Baylor forward Rico Gathers, who scored 11 points in the Bears’ 74-60 victory over Nebraska, got his postgame wish Friday in AT&T Center: a Sunday matchup against Creighton and forward Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer.

“I would love to play Doug McDermott,” Gathers said. “Just to see how he plays and how he would play against us. I know he’s a hell of a player. I think it would be a good matchup and a good test for him, too.”

Gathers will get that opportunity Sunday because Creighton, the No. 3 seed in the West Regional, knocked off Louisiana-Lafayette, 76-66, in Friday’s second game. McDermott, who entered with a scoring average of 26.9, had 30 points and 12 rebounds against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Creighton (27-7) and Baylor (25-11) will play Sunday, with tipoff time to be determined. Creighton is 3-0 in career meetings between the schools.

McDermott said he also relishes the matchup after spending last summer playing for the USA National Team with Baylor forward Cory Jefferson. He described the two as “good friends” and acknowledged tracking Baylor during the season because of that relationship.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys,” McDermott said. “They’re a great team. They’re very long. I know a couple of guys from Iowa State that emphasize [Baylor’s] length and how frustrating it can be. It’s going to be a fun battle. We’re both fighting for a lot.”

Forgettable debut

Nebraska coach Tim Miles did not last 30 minutes in his NCAA Tournament debut with the Cornhuskers. He was ejected with 11:17 remaining after picking up his second technical foul of the contest.

Miles apologized to his players and Nebraska fans for his first career ejection but said the circumstances surrounding his ouster “were odd at best.” Miles received his second technical, which triggered the automatic ejection, for straying too far from the coaching box to point out a correctable error with the shot clock. When he told the official he sought only to address the shot-clock malfunction, Miles said the official responded: “It’s too late, you’re gone.”

After the game, referee Karl Hess said: “Prior to the second technical foul, there was a shot clock error that both the shot clock operator and officials did not notice. The error should have been noticed and could have been corrected.”

Matters only deteriorated for Miles after leaving the arena floor. Because there was no television in the Cornhuskers’ locker room, he went to the CBS green room to watch the telecast but was ordered to leave by tournament officials. Miles wound up watching the remainder of the contest in an arena office with Creighton coaches.

Briefly

• Nebraska’s loss to Baylor dropped the Cornhuskers’ all-time record to 0-7 in NCAA Tournament play. Nebraska joins Northwestern (zero appearances) as the only schools from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or SEC without a victory in the NCAA Tournament.

• Creighton guard Austin Chatman, a junior from The Colony who is the only Texan on the Bluejays’ roster, had 16 points in the team’s 76-66 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.

• Baylor made 38 free throws in its victory over Nebraska, the most in an NCAA game since Navy set the tournament record (41) against Syracuse on March 16, 1986. The only other school to shoot more free throws in a tournament game is UTEP (39), in a 1985 game against Tulsa.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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