New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Ekpe Udoh put up 20 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and Baylor used a late run to pull away from Sam Houston State for a 68-59 victory in first-round action of the South Region.
LaceDarius Dunn scored six of his 13 points during a game-sealing 8-0 run with under three minutes left, as the third-seeded Bears (26-7) advanced to Saturday's second round of the NCAA Tournament against Old Dominion, a 51-50 winner over Notre Dame in Thursday's opener at New Orleans Arena.
"At the end of the game, we did a better job just executing, and [I was] getting to the right places, being there at the right time and just making the shots," said Dunn, whose late spark led the program to its first tourney win since 1950, the year it went to the Final Four.
Anthony Jones and Quincy Acy each chipped in 10 points for the Bears, whose only loss in the past seven games came against Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
Gilberto Clavell had 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bearkats (25-8), who set a school record for wins this season en route to the Southland Conference title.
Sam Houston State, making its second-ever tourney appearance, gave the Bears all they could handle from the opening tip through to the final three minutes of the contest.
However, Acy quickly stole Brown's outlet pass and dished to a streaking Dunn for a slam.
Another turnover from Brown preceded a pair of free throws from Dunn, who finished the eight-point rally with two more from the line for a 63-55 lead with 1:04 to play, putting the game out of reach.
"We didn't knock down shots," Clavell said of the stretch run. "We had good looks every time...But this time the ball didn't [go] in."
Baylor recovered from a slow start with seven points in a little over a minute, as A.J. Walton's three-pointer tied the game at 10 six minutes in.
The largest lead for either team the rest of the first half was three, held by SHSU at 31-28 after Josten Crow nailed a late three. Two Udoh free throws pulled the Bears within 31-30 at the intermission.
Baylor didn't start slow in the second half, as Udoh hit a jumper, Josh Lomers converted a three-point play and Tweety Carter put in a layup for a 37-31 lead 2 1/2 minutes in.
Mitchell and Corey Allmond answered with makes from behind the arc, and it went back-and-forth until the final minutes.
Sam Houston State's only other appearance in the NCAA's came in 2003 and that also resulted in a first-round exit...Baylor improved to 4-7 all-time in the tourney...This is the highest seed Baylor has ever received in the tourney...Mitchell went 2-for-14 from the floor for the Bearkats, who received 13 points from Brown and 10 from Allmond...The Bears won the battle on the glass, 47-37...SHSU shot 33.8 percent from the floor and 6-of-31 from three- point land...Baylor made 44.1 percent of its shots.