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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Difference makers: Malachi Smith scores 16 points, but Baylor rallies to edge Gonzaga 64-63

Dec. 2, 2022 Updated Fri., Dec. 2, 2022 at 8:25 p.m.

Keyonte George

Baylor’s freshman guard scored 14 points in the first half, helping the Bears lead by as many as 12 points. The potential NBA lottery pick hit three 3-pointers, one from at least 28 feet with the shot clock winding down and another with Malachi Smith in strong defensive position. George cooled off in the second half, but he had an impressive drive and finish in the paint. He finished with 18 points and six boards.

Malachi Smith

The graduate transfer guard from Chattanooga kept Gonzaga within striking distance in the opening half with eight points. He kept on producing in the closing half, finishing with a team-high 16 points. Smith hit two free throws and broke loose for a dunk in transition to put Gonzaga on top 61-56. He finished 5 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 at the free-throw line. He added two rebounds and two steals and played well on defense on Baylor’s talented perimeter players.

Turning point

Baylor answered the Zags’ late 8-0 run with one of its own. Gonzaga moved in front 63-56 with 1:45 left, but the Bears scored the last eight points. Senior guard Adam Flagler had a tough shooting night, but he hit consecutive 3-pointers to trim the deficit to 63-62. Jalen Bridges, a career 79.1% free-throw shooter, was fouled on an offensive rebound and hit both shots to give the Bears a 64-63 lead with 16.2 seconds left. GU’s Rasir Bolton drove inside, but his shot was off target at the buzzer.

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