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No. 13 Baylor fends off Florida to win NIT Tip-Off

Icon Sportswire / Getty

NEW YORK (AP) — RayJ Dennis had 24 points and eight assists to lead No. 13 Baylor to a 95-91 win over Florida on Friday in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchuoa hit a 3-pointer — his only basket of the game — to snap a tie and put Baylor (6-0) ahead for good with 9:56 left as the Bears won their seventh regular-season tournament title under 21-year coach Scott Drew, including its fifth since 2016.

Jalen Bridges scored 23 points while Langston Love had 16 points and Ja’Kobe Walter 11 for the Bears.

Riley Kugel had 25 points and nine rebounds for Florida (4-2), which was trying to win its third regular-season tournament title since 2019. Tyrese Samuel had 18 points, Zyon Pullin scored 17 points and Walter Clayton Jr. added 11 points for the Gators.

The teams were tied 41-41 at halftime. After Florida scored the first seven points, Baylor responded with a 27-10 surge and twice led by as many as 11.

Kugel opened the second half with a dunk for Florida, but the Gators missed 14 of their next 16 shots and fell behind 59-52 when Love sank a pair of free throws with 13:02 left. Kugel converted a 3-point play to begin a 7-0 run that he ended with a fast break layup.

After Tchatchuoa’s 3-pointer, Bridges followed with another 3-pointer on the next possession for Baylor and Florida could not catch up.


Baylor: With Florida utilizing three players 6-foot-10 or taller, the Bears shot 56% (14 of 25) on 3-pointers after collecting 52 points in the paint in Wednesday’s 88-72 win over Oregon State.

Florida: The Gators committed 12 turnovers Friday — including eight in the first 15 minutes Friday, matching their total in Wednesday’s 86-71 win over Pitt.


Baylor: Heads home to host Nicholls State on Tuesday.

Florida: Plays at Wake Forest on Wednesday.


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