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Acy has 22, Baylor still falls to Kentucky, 82-70

Kentucky head coach John Calipari reacts to play against Baylor during the second half of an NCAA tournament South Regional finals college basketball game Sunday, March 25, 2012, in Atlanta. Kentucky head coach John Calipari reacts to play against Baylor during the second half of an NCAA tournament South Regional finals college basketball game Sunday, March 25, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
By Charles Odum
AP Sports Writer / March 25, 2012
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ATLANTA—Quincy Acy kept his promise and didn't back down as the Bears tried to send the message early that they would not be intimidated by Kentucky.

But the senior's efforts did more to fire up the Wildcats as Baylor's Final Four dream ended with an 82-70 loss to Kentucky in Sunday's South Regional final.

Acy had 22 points but had too little scoring help as Baylor was overwhelmed by Kentucky's talent and depth.

Pierre Jackson had 21 points, including five baskets in the final 2 minutes. Baylor had only one other scorer in double figures and couldn't pull closer than 10 points.

Perry Jones III added 17 points for Baylor (30-8), which was denied its bid for its first Final Four appearance in 62 years. The Bears led 10-5 but Kentucky answered with a 16 unanswered points never lost the lead.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's 19 points led Kentucky (36-2), which will play in-state rival Louisville in the Final Four on Saturday.

Acy said Saturday Baylor couldn't shy away from Anthony Davis and Kentucky's other shot-blockers.

Acy backed up his point less than 2 minutes into the game when his hard foul on Terrence Jones, who was trying to score on a fast break, sent the Kentucky forward sprawling off the court into the Baylor cheerleaders.

After reviewing the play, officials called a flagrant foul on Acy.

The play gave the Bears a temporary boost. A 3-pointer by Quincy Miller capped an 8-0 run that gave Baylor a 10-5 lead.

Kentucky's answer was devastating.

Led by Kidd-Gilchrist, the Wildcats took command by scoring 16 unanswered points. Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer had 3-pointers in the run.

Kentucky kept up the pressure after Acy's jumper ended Baylor's scoring drought that lasted about 5 minutes. Jones and Davis combined for five blocked shots and three steals and the Wildcats led 42-22 at the break.

Brady Heslip missed a 3-pointer to open the second half, setting up a dunk by Jones. It was a telling start to the final 20 minutes as the Wildcats continued to take advantage of Baylor's misses and mistakes.

A 3-pointer by Doron Lamb stretched Kentucky's lead to 23 points at 51-28 early in the second half. Even as guards A.J. Walton and Gary Franklin were called for their fourth fouls, Baylor stretched its defense to a full-court press as it tried to rally.

Heslip's first 3-pointer cut Kentucky's lead to 63-50. Teague and Kidd-Gilchrist answered the challenge with back-to-back baskets before Terrence Jones slammed home his missed free throw to quickly push the lead back to 19 points.

There was a scary collision early in the second half. Davis, flying through the air on a drive to the basket, had his left knee hit Perry Jones' hip. Each player went to the floor and needed assistance to his bench, but each soon returned.

Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III attracted a crowd of autograph-seekers before the game as he sat with other Baylor fans.

Kidd-Gilchrist fouled out with 2:38 remaining. Franklin fouled out for Baylor.

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