03/15/2012 10:22 EDT | Updated 05/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Canada's Heslip helps Baylor staves off late rally to beat South Dakota State

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Both the Baylor Bears and South Dakota State Jackrabbits nearly made Seth Davis look like a sage.

The TV analyst proclaimed on the CBS Selection Show that the 14th-seeded Jackrabbits would knock off third-seeded Baylor in their inaugural NCAA tournament appearance — much to the dismay of both teams.

Sure enough, the Jackrabbits jumped out to a 12-point lead early and then fought back from a double-digit deficit themselves in the closing minutes before falling to Baylor 68-60 Thursday night at The Pit.

Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip of Burlington, Ont., both sank two free throws in the final 23 seconds after the Jackrabbits had pulled to 64-60 and Brayden Carlson misfired a 3-pointer that would have made it a one-point game.

Jackson finished with 18 points on the night, while Heslip chipped in with 17.

The Bears, who will face the Colorado-UNLV winner in the third round of the South Regional at The Pit on Saturday, felt snubbed by Davis' bold prediction. The Jackrabbits felt Davis didn't do them any favours by firing up their already heavily favoured opponent.

The Jackrabbits, who got 19 points from Nate Wolters and 15 from Chad White, made the Bears look like they were the NCAA novices by jumping out to a 19-7 lead before their jumpers stopped popping the net and the Bears bounced back in a big way.

Jackrabbits coach Scott Nagy said on the eve of the game that the Bears were "the best team that we've ever played" and predicted that "in order to just stay in the game, we'll have to play the game of our lives."

They got their 15 minutes of fame instead — actually, 14 minutes, 15 seconds.

That's how long it took on the game clock for the Bears to take their first lead, on Jackson's 3-pointer that put Baylor ahead 24-22.

Although this one ended up a nail-biter, the Bears never trailed again.

The Jackrabbits came out like, well, jackrabbits, scoring the game's first eight points and surging ahead 19-7 on Wolters' drive to the basket.

After that, things didn't go as well for the Jackrabbits, who reached the tournament in just their fourth year of eligibility and only five seasons removed from a 6-24 train wreck.

Led by Jackson and Anthony Jones (11 points), the Bears went on a 29-11 tear to take a 36-28 halftime lead into the locker room.

Baylor pushed its lead to double digits but the Jackrabbits fought back, using an 8-1 run to pull to 47-44. After a timeout, however, Quincy Acy's layup sparked an 8-0 run by Baylor to restore its double-digit lead.

The Jackrabbits had one last run in them, pulling to 64-60 with 1:14 left on back-to-back 3-pointers by Griffan Callahan and White.


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