ATLANTA – Baylor dunked its way into the NCAA South Regional final.
Kentucky is waiting with the nation’s most imposing deterrent to the Bears’ hopes for another jamfest today.
Quincy Acy had four of Baylor’s seven dunks in a 75-70 regional semifinal win over Xavier on Friday night. The highlight was his one-handed slam over 7-footer Kenny Frease on an alley-oop pass. The play found an immediate home on YouTube.
The next test is tougher. Kentucky’s 6-foot-10 Anthony Davis leads the nation with 169 blocked shots. The Wildcats’ total of 317 rejections also leads the nation, according to Stats LLC.
Clearly, Baylor’s path to the basket – and the Final Four – won’t be easy.
Acy said he and the Bears can’t back down from the challenge inside posed by Davis and the top-seeded Wildcats.
“We’ve gone against great shot-blockers before,” Acy said Saturday. “Obviously, he’s the best in the NCAA, but we can’t shy away from him. We have to attack.”
Acy, who is 6-7 and 235 pounds, can’t match Davis in height, but he’s also an imposing presence. Burly, bearded and physical, Acy had 20 points and 15 rebounds against Xavier.
After the game, Musketeers coach Chris Mack joked that he wanted to see Acy’s birth certificate.
“I think it might be my hairline,” Acy said. “That might be it. Prematurely bald. I’ve accepted it. I get a lot of rag from my teammates. It’s cool. I’m supposed to be a junior, y’all. I’m not old.”
Acy is making his second trip to the Elite Eight. Baylor also was one win from the Final Four in 2010 when it lost to eventual national champion Duke.
Now the third-seeded Bears may be better equipped for another shot.
Kentucky coach John Calipari and Davis said Baylor is a good match for the Wildcats’ size and athleticism. Perry Jones III (6-11, 235) and Quincy Miller (6-9, 210) join Acy on the front line. Senior Anthony Jones (6-10, 195) is a top reserve and former starter.
“This team is very talented, athletic, very long,” Davis said.