By AARON BEARD
AP Basketball Writer
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Al Freeman scored 15 points and came up with three baskets during a critical second-half sequence to help No. 20 Baylor beat VCU 71-63 on Wednesday in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Jonathan Motley scored a team-high 19 points before fouling out for the Bears (4-0). In addition, Manu Lecomte shook off a rough shooting game to finish with 16 points, including a hanging layup while being knocked to the ground for a three-point play to go with several key free throws in the final minute.
JeQuan Lewis had 21 points for the Rams (3-1), who went without a basket for roughly 6½ minutes during the second half.
VCU used a late-half burst to lead 36-28 at the break and shot 58 percent in the opening half, but it cooled in the second half as the Bears’ defense tightened.