By Tyler Alley
The game went down to the wire, but in the end No. 6 Baylor men’s basketball came away victorious over the visiting Texas Longhorns, 76-71, on Saturday.
“Every game in the Big 12 is an important game,” sophomore guard Brady Heslip said. “They’re gonna fight to the end. They hit some tough shots, they got fouled on a couple three pointers, so they were getting points when the clock’s not running. We just had to dig in, get the loose balls, start rebounding better and just close out the game.”
Sophomore forward Perry Jones III led the Bears with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Jones III earned his second-straight double-double in the first half with 12 points and 10 rebounds at the halftime buzzer.
“Trying to do it as many times as possible is my mindset,” Jones III said about producing in the low post. “I’ve got to have a double-double to help my team win.”
Heslip, freshman forward Quincy Miller and senior forward Quincy Acy also finished in double-figure scoring.
Longhorn guard J’Covan Brown led all scorers with 32 points, as he kept finding open looks in Baylor’s 1-3-1 zone defensive scheme.
“Yeah he did,” Heslip said. “He’s a great player. We were talking all week [that] we’ve got to know where he is in the zone. But he’s coming off some ball screens, and they’re spacing the floor well. I thought we did a good job in the first half, but in the second half he got it going.”
Baylor went into halftime with a 38-29 lead off the performance of Jones III and the Bears’ ability to score eight second chance points to the Longhorns zero.
Texas took advantage of 18 Baylor turnovers, scoring 20 points off turnovers to Baylor’s four, and would tie the game at 54 with 8:45 remaining.
“I think the game-ending turnovers we can definitely improve in those areas in the future,” head coach Scott Drew said. “As far during the course of the game, the 20 points off turnovers to four, that was a big disappointment for us. We’ve been doing so much better in assists to turnovers and taking care of the ball. That’s what makes coaching so challenging. One game, you look like a million bucks, the next game you’re like, ‘What happened?’”
The free-throw line was the key for the Bears from that point on, as they sunk 16 of 18 free throws.
The majority of the 10,299 attending this game wore neon green shirts that were given out before the game, and Drew said the crowd played a huge role in the victory.
“I liked it,” Drew said. “I liked it. I want to thank the marketing and athletic department for doing that. I thought for national TV, it went great. I was talking to [CBS college basketball analyst] Clark Kellogg after the game and he said, ‘your environment was great today.’’
The Baylor men’s next game is Wednesday at College Station against Texas A&M, which could be Baylor’s final game against the Aggies for a while.