No. 10 Texas and No. 17 Baylor will continue one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball when they square off in a return to Big 12 Conference play on Monday in Austin, Texas.
Both teams participated in Saturday’s Big 12/SEC Challenge, with the Longhorns losing 82-71 at No. 4 Tennessee and Baylor outlasting Arkansas 67-64 at home. It was a brief respite from the conference’s 18-game, round-robin battle that reaches the halfway point for both teams with Monday’s dustup.
The Longhorns (17-4, 6-2) head home after having a two-game winning streak snapped by the Volunteers. Texas trailed by 12 after scoring just 28 points in the first half. The starters scored just seven points before the break, with Marcus Carr and Timmy Allen — their two leading point producers on the season — held scoreless.
The Longhorns saw Tennessee expand its lead to 22 points early in the second half. Texas drew to within 69-58 after Carr’s jumper with 6:06 remaining but never really threatened down the stretch.
Sir’Jabari Rice led Texas with 19 points off the bench, with Carr and Brock Cunningham adding 11 each for the Longhorns. Allen finished with six points.
Interim coach Rodney Terry said Tennessee was the most physical team that Texas had faced all season, which was quite a statement considering how tough games have been in the Big 12.
“We don’t really get out-toughed a whole lot of times, but Tennessee really out out-toughed us and out-physicaled us in this ball game,” Terry said. “They set the tone early and we never adapted or adjusted to the physicality of the game We’re going to learn a lot from this — we’re going to get better from this.”
Carr leads the Longhorns with 17.3 points and 4.2 assists per game this season.
The Bears (16-5, 5-3) came back from a six-point halftime deficit to beat an Arkansas team that has spent most of the season in the Top 25. It was Baylor’s sixth consecutive victory since a three-game skid from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.
Baylor missed 17 of its final 18 shots in the first half but rallied behind Keyonte George’s 24 points.
George scored 14 in the second half, including a three-point play that put the Bears back in front at 45-44. Baylor led by seven points in the final two minutes but had to survive a last-second missed shot by Arkansas to win.
LJ Cryer added 20 points and Jalen Bridges had 10 in a game where the Bears shot just 33.9 percent from the floor but made 21 of 24 free throws, compared to the Razorback’s 6-of-11 effort at the charity stripe.
“We had to gut that one out,” George said. “Shots aren’t going to fall all the time. We preach controlling what you can control. That’s your effort, going to rebound, playing defense. We take care of those things, and ultimately we should come out with the win. We played hard, fought hard and got a good home win.”
George leads the Bears with 17.2 points per game, with Adam Flagler adding 15.5 points and 4.9 assists per game.
–Field Level Media