KANSAS CITY — With Creighton smothering high-scoring point guard Manu Lecomte, Baylor needed King McClure to step up in a big way.
McClure answered with a career-high 19 points as the No. 22 Bears overcame a 12-point second-half deficit to pull off a 65-59 win over Creighton to win the Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday night at the Sprint Center.
The Bears improved to 5-0 after two wins in the Hall of Fame Classic, including a 70-65 win over Wisconsin in the first round Monday night.
Lecomte came into the game averaging 21.5 points, but Creighton’s Khyri Thomas played tremendous defense as he hit just two of eight field goals and finished with nine points.
But McClure nailed seven of 11 field goals with two of three 3-pointers to key Baylor’s win.
“They definitely did a good job of guarding Manu,” McClure said. “Manu kept telling me to take the game over and be aggressive. It shows what a team guy Manu is. One of the key things Coach (Scott) Drew talked to us about was to have grit and we had it the whole game. They punched us in the mouth but we responded positively.”
Baylor center Jo Lual-Acuil was named the most valuable player of the tournament after collecting his second straight double-double with 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Terry Maston played a key role off the bench as he scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds while hitting several key shots down the stretch.
The Bears played superb defense against Creighton (4-1) which was coming off a 100-89 win over No. 23 UCLA on Monday night. Creighton shot just 34.4 percent and hit five of 30 3-pointers.
“The big thing for us is that we had a size advantage,” Drew said. “In the second half, we went at our pace and we ran when we could but we didn’t run just to match them. To be a good team you’ve got to have balance and we had some other people step up.”
The Bluejays opened up a 40-28 lead early in the second half when Thomas drained a 3-pointer.
But the Bears got back into the game with a 10-0 run that began with 3-pointers by McClure and LeComte. Maston and McClure each hit a pair of free throws.
The Bluejays stretched their lead to 48-42 after Martin Krampelj scored on a spin move and then got inside for a basket, drew a foul and hit the free throw.
But the Bears kept attacking as McClure drained a 3-pointer and Maston scored on a baseline drive. McClure drove for a basket, drew a foul and hit the free throw to pull into a 50-50 tie with 4:07 remaining.
The Bears grabbed a 52-50 lead with McClure’s drive for a basket before Creighton's Ronnie Harrell hit a pair of free throws to tie the game with 3:11 remaining.
Maston gave Baylor a 55-52 lead with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with two minutes remaining and then scored on a bank shot to push Baylor’s lead to 57-54 with 45 seconds remaining.
Lecomte drilled four straight free throws and Nuni Omot hit a pair of free throws to help the Bears seal the win in the final 33.5 seconds.