Baylor Bears Crush Iowa Hawkeyes for First-Ever NIT Championship

Thad NovakCorrespondent IApril 4, 2013

Apr 4, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Baylor Bears center Isaiah Austin (21) puts up a shot over Iowa Hawkeyes center Adam Woodbury (34) during the first half of the championship game of the 2013 NIT basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that they controlled almost from the opening tip, the Baylor Bears pounded the Iowa Hawkeyes, 74-54, to capture the NIT title. The win is the first such championship in program history for Scott Drew's team.

The same players who have dominated all season for Baylor did it again, with 55 of those points coming from the trio of Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and Pierre Jackson. Iowa got a great rebounding effort, but reserve guard Mike Gesell's 13 points made him one of just two Hawkeyes in double digits.

Jackson, one of several seniors capping his Baylor career tonight, also added 10 assists to notch his fourth consecutive double-double. Austin, a freshman who's expected to jump to the NBA, may have put the exclamation point on his own college days with nine rebounds, four assists and five blocks from his center position.

Baylor's defense was the biggest story tonight, as Iowa was held to a disastrous .265 shooting percentage from the field. It's awfully hard to come from behind when your three-point shooters are a combined 5-for-24.

Congratulations to Baylor, which has more than earned the right to call itself the nation's 69th-best team with this championship.