By Cody Soto
Things get heated every time Baylor and Texas face off in a Big 12 contest, but Monday night’s contest took it to a different level.
After seven players were ejected from the game, the No. 14 Bears couldn’t overcome poor shooting and weak offensive play in the second half to fall 61-59 to the Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
Junior forward John Heard, sophomore forward Ish Wainwright and freshman forward Johnathan Motley were ejected with 1:57 left in overtime for leaving the bench during the scuffle. Texas’s Prince Ibeh, Connor Lammert, Cameron Ridley and Kendal Yancy were also dismissed.
Unlike the past few games, the Bears struggled severely from beyond the arc and only hit 7-for-18 3-point shots and finished the game shooting 33 percent in the two-point loss.
Junior forward Taurean Prince led the Bears with 17 points and seven rebounds, followed by junior forward Rico Gathers with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Gathers recorded his 16th double-double of the season, which leads the Big 12.
Turnovers were a problem for the Bears, as Baylor committed 11. Texas, the nation’s leading team in blocked shots, had 11 in the in-state matchup. Those two statistics hurt the Bears on the offensive end and prevented them from pulling away for a win.
The Bears had a 31-24 lead at halftime, but Texas’ defense prevented Baylor from getting interior shots. The Longhorns used their forwards to pressure several guards from driving to the basket.
A 3-point shot by Demarcus Holland tied up the game at 54-54 with 55.4 seconds left in regulation, and a block by Texas’ Prince Ibeh denied senior guard Kenny Chery’s layup to send both teams into overtime.
Javan Felix gave the Longhorns a 57-54 lead with a three-pointer early in overtime, but senior forward Royce O’Neale made one of his own to tie up the game at 59-59 with 1:20 to go. A jumper by freshman Isaiah Taylor ultimately decided the game with 4.8 seconds left and a dismal offensive drive ended the game 61-59.
The Bears play their final Big 12 matchup in the regular season against Texas Tech at 8 p.m. on Friday night at the Ferrell Center. The game will air on ESPN2.