Buzzer-beating heroics by McCallie nemesis Reggie Upshaw weren't enough Saturday night for the visiting Baylor Red Raiders, as the Blue Tornado survived a collapse in the fourth quarter to claim a 65-63 overtime victory.
The final margin was deceptive because Baylor's Jeff Bowens hit a 60-foot shot as time expired.
The McCallie faithful left their packed arena as relieved as the Baylor fans were disappointed.
That was largely because Upshaw torched their favorite team for 32 points, including a buzzer-beating layup at the end of regulation that tied things at 51.
“He did his part,” said Baylor coach Austin Clark. “He had 31 against them the first time (a Baylor win). But he's only been back for six games and he's still getting parts of his game together.
“We didn't handle the basketball very well at times tonight, but we showed great effort, no question,” Clark added.
McCallie coach Dan Wadley had a little trouble getting past the fact that his team let a six-point lead get away in the final minute of the second half. But McCallie also trailed by six, 25-19, late in the second period, before one of five Jorden Williams 3-pointers sparked a late rally and a one-point lead, 26-25, at the half on Jamal Calvin's own buzzer-beating shot.
But the worm turned in the final minute of regulation play, after Calvin converted both ends for a 51-46 with just 27 seconds left. Matt Clendenen got one back on a free throw with 18 seconds left, then Baylor put Nick Jacobs, then Adrian Thomas on the line for McCallie, and they went a combined 0-for-3. Clay Born hit a layup with 8 seconds left before Thomas' two misses, then Upshaw roared down the lane and the McCallie defense parted like the Blue Sea to allow the tying score.
“Typical Baylor-McCallie,” Wadley said. “But our guys really wanted this tonight. Even after that, we made sure we had the ball in the right people's hands to hit free throws in overtime.”
McCallie hit 11 of 18 foul shots in overtime, including 3 of 4 from Jacobs, to build on a big 3-pointer C.J. Fritz hit to open the period. For the night, McCallie was 18 of 30 from the line to Baylor's 13 of 24.
“Really happy tonight with the overall play of our freshman, Thomas,” Wadley said. “He played a lot of key minutes and finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.”
Williams let a quartet of double-digit scorers for McCallie (11-13, 3-5) with 20 points, followed by Calvin with 15, and both Jacobs and Thomas with 10. The Blue Tornado have a non-region Senior Night game with Stone Memorial Tuesday.
Upshaw's big night was nearly matched by Jeff Bowens' 20. Baylor's final regular season game will be a road trip to Division II region leader Ensworh Tuesday night. Neither Baylor or McCallie will know its first-round playoff game opponent until after that contest.