Waco, TX (Sports Network) - Cory Jefferson scored a game-high 26 points as the Baylor Bears defeated the Providence Friars, 79-68, in the quarterfinals of the NIT at the Ferrell Center.
Jefferson shot 10-of-14 from the floor for the second-seeded Bears (21-14), while Pierre Jackson registered a double-double for the hosts with 20 points and a game-high 13 assists, adding seven rebounds as well. Rico Gathers checked in with eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds.
The fourth-seeded Friars (19-15) were paced by Bryce Cotton with 23 points, although he shot just 3-of-11 behind the 3-point line. Vincent Council chipped in 21 points and seven boards, followed by Kadeem Batts with 20 points and eight rebounds of his own.
The Friars moved out to an 8-2 lead in the opening minutes of the contest, but even after shooting 53.3 percent from the floor in the first half the visitors found themselves knotted at 38-38 at the break with Baylor.
In the second half Providence dipped to 40.6 percent from the field and shot only 2-of-11 behind the 3-point line, allowing the Bears to pull away for the double-digit victory.
In a game that featured seven ties and six lead changes, the hosts held a 20-6 scoring advantage at the free-throw line and turned the ball over just five times.
With the victory the Bears will now take on BYU in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden on April 2 after the Cougars defeated Southern Miss on Wednesday night, 79-62.