Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Even when it couldn't make a bucket down the stretch, Baylor still clamped down defensively.
Brady Heslip knocked down five 3-pointers and netted 18 points as No. 23 Baylor edged South Carolina, 66-64, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bears didn't record a field goal in the final 7:14 of the contest, while the Gamecocks were held without a basket for the last 4:20.
Kenny Chery split a pair from the foul line to give Baylor a 66-64 lead with 21 seconds remaining. Sindarius Thornwell, who poured in a game-high 20 points for South Carolina, wasn't able to convert on a right baseline drive at the other end. He then snatched his own miss following a scrum, but again didn't get his shot to drop.
Michael Carrera then grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled on a shot attempt, but following a review, Carrera did not get the shot off before the final horn.
"(The officials) said that the contact came when the red light was on. Those guys did a great job," South Carolina head coach Frank Martin said of the play.
Neither squad led by more than five points in a tilt that saw 55 fouls.
Isaiah Austin added 14 points for the Bears (2-0), who were just 22-of-41 (53.7 percent) from the foul line and shot 38 percent (19-of-50) from the floor, but outrebounded the Gamecocks 46-35.
"The good thing is free throw shooting is the one area that tends to get better throughout the season and the one thing we've practiced more this year," Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. "Free throws are the most mental thing in the game. It's like someone gets a cold in your house. It spreads."
Brenton Williams had 12 points off the bench for South Carolina (1-1), which defeated Longwood in its season opener on Saturday.
The Gamecocks held a 39-38 advantage at the break and began the second half on a 6-2 spurt, which Thornwell capped with a layup for a 45-40 South Carolina margin.
Heslip concluded a 6-2 flurry with a triple to give Baylor a 49-48 lead minutes later and his three midway through the half staked the Bears a 58-54 cushion.
Thornwell's jumper with 4:20 left, which was the final field goal by either team, knotted the contest at 64-64.